A family ski holiday might sound stressful but it needn’t be. We speak to ski nanny Emma, a resident in Châtel in the French Alps, who shares her expert tips on how to enjoy the perfect family skiing holiday.
“I qualified as a primary school teacher in the UK. Châtel in the Portes du Soleil is a lovely part of France so I decided to re-located there. With over 15 years’ experience as a babysitter and nanny, my experience ranges from babies to 15-year-olds.
Chatel Childcare offers flexible childcare which comes to you. I take all the stress out of your family ski holiday. My calm, fun and positive nature means children quickly feel at ease with me. They barely notice that their parents have left – although they are of course always delighted to see them when they get back.”
CHILDCARE IN CHÂTEL
“Using a nanny for your childcare during a family ski holiday offers the ultimate flexibility. Babies and non-skiers can be cared for and entertained in your chalet or apartment. This helps them to feel secure. Indoor and outdoor activities can be tailored to the children’s wishes and tiredness levels. No need to clock watch to get back for the end of ski school.
“You can be confident that your nanny will be there for the collection. Having a nanny visit your chalet to babysit gives the adults the chance to dine in the excellent local restaurants and bars on ‘chalet night off’. Ultimately you get to indulge in your skiing, guilt free. Safe in the knowledge your children are having as much fun (if not more) than you.”
WINTER ACTIVITIES IN CHÂTEL
“The latest addition is a fantastic indoor soft play centre. This is a great way to burn off energy on a snowy afternoon. There are also play areas by the lake at the top of the village. There is outdoor soft play, a huge hit with older children. In the village centre is a beautiful traditional carrousel. The swimming pool has a great children’s section with lots of toys including an underwater trampoline. I try to take the children in my care on a different activity for every day. Sometimes it is hard to tear them away from soft play.”
HOW TO PLAN A STRESS FREE FAMILY SKI HOLIDAY?
“Where to begin! Bizarrely I think clothes are one of the most important things to consider on a family ski holiday. Invest in good quality well fitting ski kit, pack spare gloves and make sure everyone’s ski boots fit well. If children wear the correct kit, they stay warm, dry and happy.
“Be realistic with your expectations. You’ll find that two or three hours a day is enough ski time for younger children. Anymore than this and you risk a slope side meltdown. Try to build flexibility into your holiday. Don’t force too much ski time. For many children, half an hour with mum and dad in the hot tub or crepes for tea can be the highlight of their holiday.
CHÂTEL IS THE BEST PLACE FOR FAMILIES
“Châtel has been given the Famille+ award. This means it is a fantastic family ski holiday destination and it is committed to providing the very best facilities. To earn and maintain this award the village must provide family friendly activities both on and off the ski slopes. It must also provide high quality childcare and have a local child-friendly medical service. Châtel puts on a huge range of activities for children of all ages and events for families to enjoy together.”
CHÂTEL HAS A SHORT TRANSFER FROM GENEVA AIRPORT
“Aeroplane travel with young children can be draining. The last thing you want at the end of your flight is a slow coach drive half way across the country. Châtel is only 90 minutes from Geneva airport. Chalet Transfers and Professional Transfers are small companies based in Châtel who will whisk you away to your holiday destination. Child seats are provided.”
SKI SCHOOL FOR BEGINNERS
“For beginners and children, it’s good to master the snowplough and gain confidence down gentle green slopes. Shorter beginner pistes can be found at the foot of the mountain. The Super Châtel area is also good for beginners. Marmattons is an area dedicated to teaching children to ski.”
There is also the ESF snow garden which is full of obstacles and fun. Many blue and red slopes can be found in the ski area. For people who are after a challenge, Châtel offers several black runs, with Rhododendrons is a personal favourite.
Châtel is extremely popular with off piste skiers. There are a plethora of tree runs and wide slopes easily accessible. This is always dependant on weather conditions and avalanche risk levels – be careful out there! As part of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area you need never ski the same slope twice.
PACK THE ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR SKI TRIP
“Most essentials can be bought in the resort. Brands may differ from the UK so if you prefer a particular formula or nappy brand then bring them with you. Sunglasses are so important in the mountains and glare from the snow can make the sun’s damage worse.
“Proper snow boots are essential (wellies and socks won’t cut it.) I am always happy to give advice about snow and ski kit for children to my clients, be that before or during their holiday. Age-appropriate toys and craft activities are provided. Car seats, buggies, a travel cot and a huge selection of children’s equipment can be borrowed too.
BEST ADVICE FOR YOUR FIRST SKI TRIP
“Do it! A family ski holiday is a wonderful way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors together. Seeing children beam with confidence as they show their parents their new skills is one of my favourite parts of my job. Pack sensibly and don’t be afraid to ask your hosts or childcare provider for advice on what to bring.”
Make your stay stress-free when you book Chalet la Fontaine in Châtel, just 90 minutes from Geneva.