Skiing with kids as we discovered at Christmas time is a whole different experience than skiing with your parents or with a group of friends. Finding a resort that will meet the needs of a family with young kids is extra important especially when you ski early in the season or late in the season. Les Menuires one of the resorts in Les 3 Vallees is geared towards families everything from the pistes, restaurants, and off the piste activities have been adapted to making sure that families have the best experience they can.
Les Menuires is set out in small little areas of accommodation and facilities ranging from the lowest at around 1600 up to 2000 which means that the snowline is well within the village and some of the accommodation is ski to the door. The main area of the resort La Croisette is easily reached from wherever you are in the resort either by a cable car which we took daily or by the FREE shuttle bus service between the different districts.
The resort seems huge at first because of the different areas but as we found out quickly each area has everything you need – a ski rental shop, supermarket, and restaurants as well as different accommodation types. The off-piste entertainment for families is spread throughout the resort as well but easy to get to with the free bus service.
La Croisette is the hub of the resort or was for us – we made our way there every morning to start our skiing and ended up back there for lunch or to find things to do with the kids in the afternoon. Behind the road and buildings is the ski school meeting place, the tourist office and lifts taking you up the mountain or a piste to take you down into the valley letting you access the other side of with a variety of pistes and a fun slope for kids.
Intersport have a huge range of skis to hire from the award-winning Rossignol Savory and Soul 7s and Black Crows Freeride skis to the Firefly Rocket twin-tipped park skis, and the Head, Volkl and Salomon piste carvers. Customers are free to swap and change the skis as many times as they like during your hire period so as to take advantage of any changing snow conditions during your holiday. Prices vary but average at around €8 per day, with further promos and bi-weekly IINTERSPORT discount codes being released via Facebook“
When I was a teenager I used to come to Les 3 Vallees every other year to ski with my family, I’d been skiing a while and we frequently made it down into Les Menuires following some of the long runs down. But, with young kids on their first and second trip, we knew that our experiences of those pistes wouldn’t be happening this time, what we didn’t realise until we opened the piste map and made our way for our first morning of skiing is how ideal for young families the resort is. With predominately green and blue runs surrounding the resort we were able to ski with the kids for an hour or two every day and even spent a whole morning with them.
While the kids were in ski school it gave my husband and I an opportunity to explore further. One morning we had a ski guide from ESF take us around the area – an experience I would highly recommend not only did he advise us on the best pistes to go with the kids he also gave my husband some fantastic tips on improving his snowboarding.
Off Piste Family Fun
Young kids have little legs and despite us wanting to ski all day we know that it’s just not possible. So having a variety of off the piste activities for families is important and Les Menuires has it all. The aquafun centre, speed mountain, rocking bobs, fun park and then just the normal swimming pools in the resort. The resort motto of “Children are King’s” isn’t wrong – this is a family centred resort whether you have babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers or school aged kids there is something for them to do.
My kids are water babies and swimming and playing in the water every afternoon was their idea of heaven, both in the apartment’s swimming pool and at the aquafun centre playing in the snow caves. The speed mountain was an experience – part sledge, part roller coaster and sorry no pics from me I was too busy holding on for dear life.
Unlike Les Arcs 1950 which had only two options for accommodation, Les Menuires has a variety of different types and styles to suit your family from chalets to hotels. We stayed in Les Clarines in the Preyerand district of the resort, a self-catered apartment complex with fantastic family features and large spacious comfortable rooms.
Whilst away T was ill this meant being stuck in the apartment for the day – but with friendly reception staff, we borrowed a DVD player, some DVD’s from their extensive collection and had a sofa day.
The apartment was fully equipped for a family to cook their own food and as an added extra the reception had a bakery service where fresh bread was delivered to your door every morning – a few times my favourite pain aux chocolat may have been delivered as well!
Well after all of that what did we really think and would we go back? – When’s the next flight and YES we would. It was ideal for families, even more so with our young kids there was something to keep them entertained on the piste and off the piste. They were happy, not wanting to leave at all, and neither did I especially when the day before we left there was a fresh fall of snow and the resort was covered, the pistes would have been amazing.
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