I’ve always just been a summer holiday type of person. Before having children there is nothing Jon and I loved more than jetting off somewhere hot, lying on a beach reading umpteen books, and working on getting that golden glow. Now three children later, we still love summer holidays. We absolutely love being somewhere warm and enjoy everything that comes with it. But rather than stifling our adventurous side, having them has made us want to explore and try new things, have new adventures, and teach them new skills. So with that being said, when the opportunity came about to go skiing with Ski Famille, we just have to give it a try.
I should start by saying we have never skied as a family before. I have been skiing once, when I was nine on a school trip and I don’t really remember a single thing about it, bar dancing in the snow on New Years Eve, so it really was a completely new thing for us. As such it was pretty daunting trying to pack for it, so much so that I am going to do a video soon all about all the questions I had about skiing before we went. But anyway I digress. Soon we were prepared, armed with new ski gear, and counting down the days until we left for Les Gets in the French Alps on the 30th December.
Ski Famille are an independent tour operator who are entirely focused on the family ski market. In fact the first thing I noticed when chatting to the guys, both in the office and in the resort, were just how knowledgeable they all were. All their staff live and breathe skiing and snowboarding, and that most definitely shows. Established in 1990 Ski Famille now has 13 catered chalets spread between the French resorts of Les Gets, Les Menuires, and La Plagne. All chalet holidays offer optional in-chalet child care. This is provided in individual chalets rather than a centralised crèche, as is more common for this type of holiday. I will talk a lot about the childcare as we go along, as it was something that truly made our holiday.
Rather than write too much at the start, I thought I would show you our holiday diary in photos. I took so many that I am going to have to split it over two posts…
We arrived at Geneva airport around lunchtime on Saturday, where we got a private transfer across the border to the beautiful resort of Les Gets, approximately just over an hour away. We arrived at our chalet, Chalet Marjorie and were greeted by Daisy and Jake, our chalet hosts.
Chalet Marjorie is a gorgeous homely chalet in the centre of town, just a few minutes walks from the lifts. It sleeps 22 and has a fantastic playroom (Ski Famille over in chalet childcare) and a lovely cosy fire too. We were there with four other families, with children ranging from our baby boy at 8 months up to 9 years old. The chalet lifestyle is really different to anything I have experienced before. You essentially live with people you don’t know for a week, eating meals at a long table together and sharing the same lounge etc. We got on so well with the other families, staying up till gone 1am many a time playing drinking games and having fun. The girls also made lots of friends and were constantly running in and out of each other’s rooms. We never locked our doors and it was a really relaxed atmosphere. Our bedroom suite was cosy and rustic, with a separate room for the girls.
On the first afternoon we settled in and walked to get our ski boots and skis, where we had our first little wander round Les Gets. To put it simply, Les Gets is a beautiful and breathtaking resort. It’s small, which is perfect for young families, with a quaint centre and surrounded by the mountains. Indeed it has access to nearly 650km of snowy pistes served by 200 lifts. There is loads to do for young children, including ice skating, bowling, playgrounds and a mini train. There are also so many places to eat and of course lots of apres ski too!
After getting the girls ready for ski school on our first morning they headed off with the nannies while we ventured up the gondola for the first time to meet our ski instructor. Both the girls and us were doing our ski lessons with 360 International, a fantastic company who cater for all abilities and levels. Our instructor Alexis was great and really friendly. We look the part here, but the reality was we were incredibly nervous!
Look who we found up the mountain! Mads was already up there at her lesson and was already on skis by the time we had ventured up.
From the second I went up the mountain for the first time I knew I was going to love it, even if I didn’t take to the skiing. The light was beautiful, the air unbelievable and it was just stunning. The first time I went up there I got tears in my eyes, it was just breathtaking.
However I was more proud of this girl. The first day she just didn’t have the technique at all and she went flying into someone which I think knocked her confidence, so she got a little upset and the next morning she got upset again and didn’t want to go to her lesson. However the nannies were firm but kind with her and said she had to go (they said they dealt with at least one child not wanting to go almost every week of the season). By the middle of her second lesson she absolutely loved it, she got the technique and just grew in confidence every day. I was so proud of her and she was whizzing past us by the end of the week, moving up levels in her lessons and just generally loving every minute.
After going back to the chalet to feed our boy, Jon and I headed off for some time on our own, something which we rarely get at home. That was the beauty of the childcare, that we could come and go as to what suited our family. We decided to go up Mont Chery for a walk, which was breathtaking beautiful. The light up on the mountains were a photographers dream!
I love this photo of Jon. We took the bubble lift up first and then the chair lift to the very top. You will notice a distinct lack of snow- when we first arrived we originally were disappointed to see that there was a distinct lack of snow, the season in the whole of the French Alps got off to a bad start. However by the end of the week the snow was falling and apparently now it’s nice and heavy. At first I was disappointed it wasn’t a snowy wonderland but looking back we got the best of both worlds as we also got nice warm weather and beautiful blue skies in the first half of the week.
Look at my snow bunnies! And that beautiful mountain light. This was after their lesson on the second day. Practically all of the girls ski clothes came from Muddy Puddles- including their salopettes, jackets, goggles, base layers and boots. I love these photos, that light is just stunning and I could have taken photos all day long.
While Mads after a first day bout of nerves, took to skiing like a pro, LL just wasn’t sure. We tried her at lessons on three mornings and she just didn’t seem to ‘get’ it. Whereas Mads was willing to learn, LL just wasn’t listening to the instructor, while Ski Famille do lessons for three year olds and indeed there were some fab little skiers in her group, I think LL is quite a young three at times. We didn’t want to put her off for life, so in the end we decided to stop her lessons and let her hang out at the chalet with the nannies while we were at lessons. She much preferred this and it means that when (not if!) we go again we can try her again. This photo of her makes me laugh though- look at that grumpy face!
Although my girl isn’t a skier, she absolutely loved sledging. We went one afternoon with the nannies and it was such a fun afternoon. We spent a lot of time with the nannies, mainly because the girls wanted to be with them and the friends they had made, but we also wanted to spend time with the girls! We all had a great time sledging together.
On New Years Eve we headed down into the centre where there was a fireworks display on early so that families could attend. We sat and watched a display of about 50 skiers ski down the dark mountain holding flames before watching the fireworks pop and bang over the top of the snowy Alps. It was beautiful and again made me get a tear in my eye- I will never ever take for granted that we get to do these things. We then went home, put the children to bed and was treated to a delicious steak meal by Ben the chef, before staying up until 1.30am playing games. It was a great way to see in 2017.
The next day, partly to nurse our slightly sore heads, we went for a mountain walk to walk up to the Les Gets sign. It was so lovely spending time with Jon, even if it was just the odd hour or two here and there. Look at that sunshine in the background.
And there you have it, there is my first post all about our amazing holiday with Ski Famille. Stay tuned for part two but in the meantime, here is the video of our first ever ski holiday…
NB: Thanks to Ski Famille for inviting us on this amazing trip. All words, opinions, photos and video content are entirely my own. Head over to their website to find out more about booking a ski holiday through them.