Children overview


Skiing is the perfect family holiday.


What else is there that the whole family can do together, mothers as well as fathers, girls and boys equally? Or where parents can hand their children over to trained professionals, knowing they’ll be even happier and safer than with them? Skiing is both exciting and healthy – a rare combination – yet one need not be particularly fit or sporty to enjoy it.


YSE is sometimes considered less than child-friendly because we don’t have nannies or crèches, or give massive discounts for children.


But YSE holidays are actually extremely well-suited to families. Some of our chalets are large, some of them are small. Some are very smart, some give very good value. And some have extra beds for children at half the normal price (though please note that flights are not guaranteed for extra beds).


Chalets are more relaxing for families than hotels, where parents are constantly worried that their brood will upset fellow guests, or self-catering apartments, where most of someone’s holiday will be spent shopping, cooking and clearing up.


And, perhaps surprisingly, Val d’Isère is the ideal family ski resort. It has good snow, short queues, wide nursery slopes with free lifts, a flat village, free and frequent buses, very good ski schools, English-speaking instructors, and lots of British youngsters. Where to Ski and Snowboard describes the nursery slopes as ‘95% perfect’.


And although we are keen skiers ourselves, our best moments are skiing with our children.


However, although a successful family ski holiday is the best thing in the world, a lot can go wrong, and it can be a catastrophe. A ski holiday with children needs to be planned like an assault on Everest.


Fiona Easdale in our office can advise on most aspects of ski school and childcare, having brought her own offspring to Val d’Isère as babies, toddlers and schoolchildren. She now has teenagers and beyond, and is an authority on skiing while communicating in grunts.


Her first tip will be to leave small children behind! Her second will be to throw money at childcare or kids’ lessons rather than on unnecessarily smart accommodation. We see children with their own en-suite marble bathroom dumped in group lessons where they understand little and learn less. They are miserable, yet a week’s private instruction wouldn’t have cost much more than the bathroom.


Not that we want you to send us less money, of course, but happy children mean happy parents, and that’s good business!


Ski schools get booked out, so if you require lessons for your children, we strongly recommend that you read the individual ski school pages in the Ski Schools section on the left-hand menu of this website, to see which of the ski schools best suits your child(ren), then telephone or email them direct the day you book your holiday to be sure of a place in a class or to reserve a private instructor. We see family holidays ruined because classes are full and no instructors free.

Private lessons are not very expensive if you can get a small group of children together, and they make life much easier. The instructor may meet the children at the chalet, for example, although this will eat into the time actually spent on the slopes.


Getting children ready for skiing always takes longer than one imagines. It helps to be in a chalet whence getting them to the slopes does not require Sherpas. Several of ours are on the slopes, near the lifts, while none is too inconvenient. La Grande Sassière, La Maison du Rocher, Le Vieux Crêt and La Croix are our furthest from the slopes, but have their own Land Rover.


Young children who need an early supper tend not to eat it if they’ve just had afternoon tea. Our staff return to work at around 6pm, and can serve a child-friendly high tea from 6.30. Some parents ask us to prepare a meal and leave it for them to pop in the oven earlier than that, which we are happy to do. We regret that we do not allow guests to actually cook meals in our chalets.


If your children have particular likes or dislikes (don’t they all?), please fax or email them to us so our staff can buy the right food.