We’ve skied a number of times since having the children (once in Val Thorens and the other time at Grindelwald in Switzerland). I’ve also written a blog entry with my top tips for family skiing.
In recent years we’ve taken to skiing in Courchevel 1850.
We’ve chosen to stay down the valley in a small (but gorgeous) mountain village called Bozel. This decision was driven largely by the cost and value for money. You simply get so much more for your money out of resort. The added bonus is that the cafes etc are also better value (wouldn’t go as far as saying good value!) and there are also more amenities – butcher, bakeries and you’re generally closer to a large supermarket. We’ve stayed in two different apartments (one very central and the other down by the lake). There are a number of rental properties in the village so well worth checking out the various rental pages. Generally there is plenty of on street parking in Bozel which is also a handy addition if you apart doesn’t come with a reserved space.
Getting to the ski resort
The obvious downside to staying down the mountain is that you’ll need to make your own way to whichever resort you plan to ski in (but it does also give you a little more flexibility in terms of where you ski which can be handy if some resorts have more/less snow than others). Bozel is on the free ski bus up to Courchevel 1850. This runs throughout the day (and night!). Alternatively, you can drive to Le Praz and park in the newly built multi-storey car park – the Alpinium (there are also lockers and a lift pass stand etc). From here it’s an 8 min gondola ride up to Courchevel 1850 (competent skiers can ski back down at the end of the day but that’s not me!). It’s also worth noting that children get one free lift up in the Gondola before ski school so no need for a ticket or lift pass for them). From Bozel, you could also drive to Brides les Bains and ski in Meribel. There are also lesser known resorts nearby (pop me an email if you’d like to know more!).
Both children are typically booked into the Ecole Ski Francais ski school in Courchevel 1850. We book online before we leave (definitely need to do this if you’re travelling at peak time!). The ski school itself is at the bottom of the Forum building. It’s a magical place to learn to ski – it has pistes through a wooden castle, a number of completely private slopes and their own bucket lift. On both occasions, the children have had a fab week and made loads of progress. Ours only went in the morning (9.30am until 12midday) but plenty were staying in the afternoon and were given lunch.
Apres ski activities
Choosing to pick the children up at lunch time means finding fun filled ways to spend the afternoons. There is no shortage of things to do in the area.
- A firm favourite for us is pancakes (there is a wonderful take away place up by the Christmas tree in Courchevel 1850).
- Sledging. You can hire sledges from all the ski shops and Courchevel 1850 has two dedicated sledge areas – one free and ideal for little ones and the other a sledge park. You can also buy the bum board sledges in the supermarkets (or pack them in your bags) and Le Praz has plenty of free areas to sledge (the area by the magic carpet is particularly nice when the sun is out!).
- Swimming at Aquamotion. You used to get one free visit here with your area lift pass but this wasn’t the case last year – worth checking though! The pool has an outdoor heated pool, various indoor pools and some slides. There is also a fitness area and spa.
- Watching films (either in your apartment or at the cinema in Courchevel 1850)
- There is also a whole host of other options like husky rides etc (we did this last year with Nordic Adventures – highly recommend!). You can find out more about excursions in the main building in Courchevel.
- Bowling and Ice Skating/Soft Play – Courchevel has all of these!