Here’s a novel idea: a ski vacation that actually feels like a vacation.


Here’s what we love about family ski vacations: spending the day surround by the beauty of snow-covered mountains, the thrills and spills of the slopes, breathing in the crisp mountain air.  What we don’t love? (Or even like?) Awkwardly schlepping poles, skis and snowboards (x4) across harried, slushy parking lots and up steep, snowy embankments. We can’t say we really love having to cook and clean at the end of a long day, either.

Here’s a novel idea: a ski vacation that actually feels like a vacation.

In the US, the catered ski holiday are still a novelty, but in Europe they are a well-known and established vacation option.

One of the oldest and most established is the Family Ski Company.  Now in it’s 21st year, the Family Ski Company is based on re-creating the traditional English country house party, just relocating it to the snowy mountainsides.

The gist of the catered ski vacation is pretty straightforward: You rent a chalet, either with just your family, with friends, or you agree to share the chalet with strangers. Breakfast and dinners are prepared for you and served right in your home. No prep work, no clean up, no trying to wrangle the kids for a dinner out. Your only job is to enjoy the snow and each other’s company.

Each company provides their own variation on this theme—either delivering food in or preparing it in the chalet, etc. Here’s where FSC’s experience and attention to detail really shines. Everything is thought through, from location to stocking the chalets with family-friendly movies and bottle warmers.

Each of FSC’s three French resorts—The Three Valleys, Portes du Soleil and Paradiski—are each adjacent to a small ski village with shopping and restaurants, but far enough out of the hustle and bustle to give families a bit of space. Chalets are in small mini-villages, all within walking distance of the lifts, or a comfortable shuttle is provided. Family Ski also runs daily ski clubs for three different ages: daycare for infants and toddlers, Powder Hounds and Adventurers for older kids. They even have ski school helpers to assist the 4-6 year olds in and out of the ski school, and confer with the instructors on what kind of day the little ones had on the snow.

FSC ski school helpers offer little ones a friendly face and an extra set of hands

FSC ski school helpers offer little ones a friendly face and an extra set of hands

But it’s the evenings that really have us infatuated with FSC. Families come home to an afternoon tea of light snacks and mulled wine. Kid’s meals are served from 5:30-6pm. Then, after the kids are tucked in, parents are served cava and appetizers, followed by a full meal. FSC can also arrange to have all your ski equipment delivered and fit right at your chalet, and arrange for babysitting. The chalets are cozy, and range from single-family residences to larger, multiple family options. Most feature en-suite bathrooms, Jacuzzis and all have fires.

A quote from FSC’s website describing the end of a typical day at the chalets sums up the catered ski experience nicely: “Now, time for the Jacuzzi and glass of fizz—safety glass of course,” —healthy indulgence designed for the entire family.

Weekly rates for the 2014/13 season start at $550/adult; $415/child (lift tickets and equipment not included).


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