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We've snooped around for the perfect way to have a family ski holiday with pre-teens, teens and other big kids!

Here at Muddy Towers it’s our job to sniff out all the cool stuff to do and all the mega deals out there, and so, just for you, we’ve spent the Christmas hols snooping out how to have a really fab winter holiday with big kids.

The snow has been dumping down which bodes well for a long and late skiing season (alpine tradition says that an infestation of mice and honey bees in summer leads to heavy snowfall in winter, which is what has happened this year. ‘Tis true. Honest.) There are loads of ski companies serving creche-tastic holidays for families with tiny ones – think wrap-around childcare, night nannies, baby-listening, in-house ski schools and trips in horse-drawn carriages to the village carousel – but what about those of us with older kids? We want to ski with them (within reason, we don’t really want them sobbing about the cold and dribbling over our new ski outfits) and we might even want to spend time with them apres-ski (although the toffee vodka is strictly for moi, n’est-ce pas?) Muddy has done the hard work of digging deep and snooping out the best way to ski with big kids in tow.

Ski companies who LOVE big kids

Yep, there are some out there! These guys don’t necessarily have to saddle themselves with all-guns-blazing creches, smiley nannies and myriads of toddler-friendly pleasures so they can put their money where it matters – into cool stuff for big kids. Think TVs larger than my house, games rooms, table tennis, pool tables, hot tubs and Nintendo Wiis galore, all to keep them out of trouble. Our fave recommendation for where to stay with big kids are two in Morzine and Les Gets – the perfect resorts for tweens and teens where you can let them loose to explore, eat crepes, swim or ice skate in safety.

Chalet Fourmiliere is new in town and is the perfect party venue for grown ups – think 3500 square feet of luxury, with stunning double height dining room, mezzanine library, cosy sitting room with open fire, outdoor hot tub – but also makes the perfect base for families with teens. It has a games room, pool table and plenty of games, books and DVD’s. They will also organise the best ski instructors for your big kids. They are pretty hot on any and all concierge services too – your lift passes will be waiting at the chalet, ski and boot hire takes place in the chalet (enjoy drinks and canapés while you’re at it), they will take you to the lifts in their mini bus or Land Rover and pick you up when you are ready, even book tables for lunch at the best mountain restaurants.

Chalet Fourmiliere

Reach4TheAlps are fab with big kids. A traditional chalet company who provide the fully catered experience of the upmarket variety, they have enormous games rooms with TVs and table tennis, plus hot tubs that kids feel welcome to use (which doesn’t often happen in catered chalets, trust me). They put as much care put into kids’ tea as they do the main affair, and older kids are welcome to eat with the adults. Again, that doesn’t often happen – I’ve stayed at plenty of chalets where kids are banished to their bedrooms in the evening and big kids are often at a loose end.

If you have any inset days coming up, bring the big kids with you for a short stay for 3-4 days. Reach4thealps offer short stays departing on Sunday, Wednesday or Thursday and include the fully catered experience, a 3-day Morzine and Les Gets lift pass and return transfers from Geneva. Chalet Fourmiliere‘s short stays are hugely popular, and tend to run Wednesday-Saturday. Actually, inset day or no inset day, just get yourself out there.

View of the Pleney, Morzine

Best resorts for big kids

Smaller resorts might restrict your off-piste madness but it means big kids can go off skiing solo and still find their way back (hopefully). This is where Morzine and Lets Gets really hold their own (although once you add in Avoriaz there is plenty of opportunity for off-piste chaos) You can put your feet up with a hot chocolate (insert vin chaud, cold beer or shot of Genepy if you’d rather) while your kids negotiate the lifts on their own. Uh, yes please… With Morzine and the greater Portes du Soleil area the top resort in Europe for keeping the slopes open by conserving snow as well as making their own, there is no need to seek out those huge higher resorts. We skied on superb snow (and empty slopes) during the first week of the season and with lifts open until nearly the end of April, you can bag a late ski holiday without paying the prices of mid Feb. A bumper bonus is that Morzine and Lets Gets are a mere 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport, so no long coach journeys with whining teenagers.

Go for a resort that offers ski schools specifically suited for big kids and teenagers. Many resorts (including Morzine and Avoriaz) offer snowboarding camps, ski racing weeks and free-style skiing extravaganzas.

Other perfect resorts for big kids are Alpbach in Austria, Beavercreek in Colorado (unashamedly exclusive but, you know, let’s aim high) and Pila in Italy, which has a small area of well-groomed, snow-sure slopes. None of these are high resorts so you won’t get the coach loads of University students descending to wipe you out on the slopes (yes, I’m talking to you. You know who you are.)

Another option is to go for a car free resort so the big kids can explore on their own. Your kids are probably waaaay more mature than mine but I still struggle with a 12-year old who doesn’t realise roads are where you might find moving cars. Fab-tastic options include Avoriaz just above Morzine, the charming village of Wengen in Switzerland, Oberlech in Austria or, if you’ve got dosh to splosh, Sun Peaks in British Columbia.

The fun stuff for big kids

Skiing can be fun for big kids – oh yes it can, you whiney lot – but as much as mine demand to ski with us, I always book them into ski school and they have a waaaay better time, especially if they’ve got mates doing it too. In Morzine/Avoriaz the ESF offers race-training for experienced skiers as well as competition levels for those preferring to bomb around off-piste with some crazy-arsed young instructor who (hopefully) knows what they are doing.
We recommend Villages des Enfants in Avoriaz whose competition group had my lot blazing around the back hills of Portes du Soleil as well as doing slalom, freeride, freestyle, off-trail and boarder cross. Give ’em a GoPro and you’re laughing.
For less experienced big kids the British Alpine Ski School in Morzine (who have schools across the French Alps) are excellent for building confidence while having a whole bundle of fun. They have a tip-top reputation and take the time to listen to the kids during the lesson – they are all about developing the individual rather than just teaching a group lesson. They have a huge range of courses, all instructors are Brits and maximum group sizes are only 6.

For boarders look no further than Real Snowboarding in Morzine/Avoriaz – fun, cool and serious about their boarding, these guys are the real deal. The main men, Barry and Dave, teach all levels of snowboarding but thrive on coaching freestyle boarding (they both coach the British Military freestyle snowboard teams and Barry coaches the British junior snowboard team, so they know their biscuits). They run lessons for all abilities but their snowboard camps are a must for all keen boarders (my son loves them). Book now for their snowboarding camp this Feb half term and in the Easter holidays from Monday 7th April…details are on their website.


In other resorts, we love Alpbach Visitors Ski Club in Austria who offer a junior race programme in Feb half term and the first week of the Easter hols for gung-ho kids who fancy super-fast skiing and a dabble into race training. Snowbizz in the small French resort of Puys St Vincent runs race-training for teenagers, and Progression Ski in Val d’Isère has a good programme for big kids and teenagers. The Ski Club of Great Britain even offer holidays in its “Fresh Tracks” programme for children aged 16 and over.
It is apres ski when the fun stuff really starts for big kids. has loads of cool things to do from biathlon (no, I’m not joking) to paragliding, heli-skiing, nordic walking, ice skating, snowmobiling, ice diving (!!) and night-sledging, which is truly awesome. Heard of ski Joëring? Nope, me neither but it looks like it involves a horse and skis and might be a lot of fun. Aquariaz in Avoriaz is the place to go for some serious water fun (think rapids, splash pools and the most terrifying slide) and Fantasticable in Chatel is a seriously daunting-looking zip wire that will make you faint at the sight of it but which big kids LOVE.
Big kids who are vaguely responsible with motorised vehicles (erm, not mine then. They’ll stick to being passengers, thank you very much) can take an evening skidoo ride through the trees, or snow bikes are great for a bit of extra adventure on a guided experience.
Teenagers will go nuts for Rock the Pistes – a free music festival that rocks (sorry!) up in Portes du Soleil on 17th-23rd March this year – and big kids will love the Les Gets Colour Run in March where they get to ski down the face of Mont Chery in Les Gets in white boiler suits whilst being pelted with paint. I’ll sit that one out, thanks.
In other resorts, the new funpark in Pila is over 100m long with tubing tracks, sledging and bob-sleighing, Alpbach has some of the best sledging slopes for big kids I’ve ever come across (as well as Wednesday night ski acrobatic displays by the local instructors) and night skiing in Le Grand Bornand runs every Tuesday night in the school holidays with live music at the bottom of the slope.

Ready to book? 

Need any more convincing? Get going and book now for the best luxury deals out there, and check out for yourself what Morzine has to offer.

Fancy a last minute offer? Check out Reach 4 The Alps for their fab-tastic short stay offers: 20-23 January NOW €495 pp for 4 nights, includes transfers and a 3 day Morzine/Les Gets ski pass at Chalet Martinet. Also 20-24 January NOW €545 pp for 4 nights, includes transfers and a 3 day Morzine/Les Gets ski pass at Chalet Aux Joux and at Cairn Lodge.

Also, HOT OFF THE PRESS! Chalet Fourmiliere is offering free transfers to Geneva for all last minute January bookings and flexible dates in January. Breaks start at from €480 pp for 3 days, based on two sharing a room. Or fancy pushing the boat out? Get 10% off half term week for exclusive use of the entire chalet, 16 to 23 February. It’s pricey but worth it!

Chalet Fourmiliere, 29 Chemin des Granges, 74110 Morzine,,, tel: 0044 (0) 7710 328 586

Reach4thealps,, tel: UK 0044 (0) 845 680 1947, France 0033 (0) 967 06 93 80

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