Pre-kids, skiing holidays were a fun last minute arrangement, finding the cheapest deal and jetting off for a week in the snow. However once small children are involved, there’s a lot more to consider. Here’s my experiences and recommendations from this winter’s ski trip.
After a lot of research, we decided to head to Les Gets, near Morzine in the French Alps.
To get there, it’s a short 1.5 hour flight from Birmingham to Geneva, then a transfer on to Les Gets which takes approximately 1-1.5 hours.
Both Birmingham and Geneva Airports are very child-friendly. Both have small children’s play areas. The Birmingham one has two Sky Zones: one by Gate 3 and one by Gate 54. These have interactive games, musical floors, things which light up, and soft blocks to build towers. Franglaisbaby and friends had a great time. There are also courtesy pushchairs at Birmingham Airport.
The Geneva Airport play area is in the transit zone between gates A5 and A8. We didn’t actually use this one in the end but it has educational games like letter boards and bead mazes.
To transfer to the resort from Geneva, I would recommend booking a transfer company in advance. We were allocated a bus within 15 minutes, and driven to the door of our accommodation – essential with small children and their luggage.
One of the reasons we chose Les Gets was the Garderie Les Fripouilles, which provides childcare for pre-school age children. The staff are very welcoming and speak both French and English. They were happy to speak French to Franglaisbaby who settled in well, enjoying the outdoor activities especially.
To use the nursery, it’s worth noting that you need to bring your child’s Red Book as proof of vaccinations, and provide them with a nappy per half day session, and any comforters or dummies. They label everything – even the children!
Getting around town is easy as there is a free bus (on a circular route) and a Petit Train which stops at the bus station and the main ski station. Kids love the train!
Les Gets has an ice rink but unfortunately they only have skates starting at EU size 27 (UK 8) and are very strict, they will not let you try on skates even if your child wears a size 26, as I found out! Nevermind, there’s a carousel next door to bribe the kids with. Both are open 9-12am and 3-7pm, weather dependent.
We found a fantastic café called Les Notes Gourmandes just opposite the ice rink. Unusually for French cafés, it has a selection of toys upstairs under the eaves (though food is only served downstairs) and as long as you aren’t too noisy it’s the perfect place to spend a wet day. It serves fantastic crêpes and vin chaud. I even spent a morning there catching up on French magazines, as you know I love them!
What about the snow though?
Les Gets itself has a small sledging piste but I would recommend heading up to Chavannes instead. You can take the Gondola there if you have a lift pass. In Chavannes, there is a much steeper sledging piste and a nursery slopes area – perfect if you want to give the toddler their first taste of skiing.
One other thing Chavannes has, which I have never seen on a ski slope before, is a petting farm! Head right towards La Piste des Indiens, hike up the slope a little way (dragging the toddler in a sledge) and you will find a little barn with three friendly dogs and a herd of sheep and goats. Go in the afternoon when they let them out onto the snow. There are also some metal pipes to bash out a tune with your ski poles on, and “Indian” (Native American) face painting.
We all really enjoyed Les Gets and would go back again. I wish their sledging pistes had been a little better (I enjoyed some fantastic ones at Les Sybelles a few years ago) but the provision for children is excellent.
Where else would you recommend?
Fly to Geneva from Birmingham with Easyjet from approx £205 each.