Like many Americans, New York business owner Amir Landsman has little time for vacationing. When he wants to escape with his wife and two small children, he chooses wintry destinations that can be packed with family-friendly adventure. These spectacular European ski resorts can please even the pickiest of travelers.
The charming Alpbach village is compact enough to help kids feel at ease while being large enough to avoid the panic of claustrophobia or boredom. Families can take advantage of excellent ski schools and solid slopes for beginners and intermediates.
After a day of ice skating, tobogganing and skiing, Mom and Dad can relax by a crackling fire while the children play in the pool. Fresh air and classic Tyrolean views abound in “Austria’s most beautiful village.”
Situated beneath the stunning peaks of the Alps and Mont Blanc, Chamonix attracts skiers at all skill levels. Experienced professionals can take advantage of backcountry technical lines like the Couloir des Cosmiques, whereas less adventuresome folk can glide through the powder in the Vallée Blanche.
The 10-mile-long Chamonix Valley includes four main villages: Servoz at the foot of the Fiz Mountains; Vallorcine with its rich connection to nature; Chamonix with its international acclaim; and Les Houches surrounded by alpine meadows.
Taking a ski holiday in this part of France means being only minutes away from Switzerland and Italy. Amir Landsman’s family has already visited this resort and highly recommends it.
The Aosta Valley in northwest Italy has been a mountaineering destination for more than 200 years.
While the landscape of infinite snow has changed little, the Breuil-Cervinia resort has kept pace with the modern world. Visitors can download their favorite winter tunes over the high-speed Internet service and then check out the ski report boards situated throughout the region.
The bunny slopes are situated near the village center, the blue runs are at Plan Maison and the red runs are at Valtournenche. Expert skiers can find even more adventure at nearby Zermatt.
Switzerland’s Saas-Fee offers winter activities for small children, young adults and parents of all ages.
While skiing and snowboarding attracts visitors from around the world, vacationers should not neglect the other winter activities. Families can bond by going on a hike, strapping on some snowshoes or learning the basics of curling. The day would not be complete without having lunch at the world’s highest revolving restaurant, Metro Alpin.
La Plagne, France
Eleven villages and 39 square miles of ski trails make for an exciting family vacation in southeastern France.
Children as young as 3 years old can learn the basics of balancing, making wedge turns and stopping. Infants, small children and preteens who do not want to participate can go sledding, play indoors at the day nursery or hang out in the kids’ club.
La Plagne and nearby Les Arcs together form the Paradiski ski area. The location offers plenty of intermediate slopes. Adults who want to practice their backcountry off-trail skiing can do so nearby.