Family friendly ski holidays – visiting the French Alps with Snowbizz

Well.

Skiing hey? Me, the woman who sometimes loses her balance standing at the stove stirring a pan of beans. You might think that I’d be a bit hopeless at skiing.

You’d be right.

When we set off to the French Alps with Snowbizz on March 9th is was with high hopes that by the end of the week I would be the next Eddie the Eagle, but unfortunately my natural cackhandedness won through and it was not to be. When I stepped out on to the snow that first day in my ski boots and immediately fell flat on my back it was a sign of things to come. You’ll notice that there aren’t any pictures in this post with actual skis in – this is because I didn’t trust myself to carry a camera or phone of any kind whilst my skis were within a 100 yard radius.

Snowbizz family ski holiday

Fortunately, my lack of natural skiing ability definitely didn’t stop Belle and I enjoying the stunning scenery, beautiful weather and copious amounts of meat and cheese. Seriously, it was gorgeous – 17 degrees every day by 10.30am and stunning deep blue skies as far as you could see. I came home with an entire suitcase full of clothes I didn’t wear at all because it was so hot.

Snowbizz family ski holiday

Snowbizz family ski holiday

We were met at the airports by two ‘Pink Ladies’ – the name given to the girls working with Snowbizz, running the crèche, and supervising our activities. They were all absolutely adorable – so sweet and enthusiastic that you felt you could ask them anything at all. When I dropped Belle off at ski school on the first morning and was too scared to walk down the slopes in my boots I barely felt stupid at all asking Lucy for help.

“Don’t be silly,” she said sweetly, “it feels weird for everyone to start with. Even I have bad days still, it’s nothing to worry about!”

We stayed in a two bedroom apartment right in the centre of the resort, with brilliant views out over all the action from our balcony. In the morning we were woken by the crunching of snow under dozens of pairs of ski boots and by night we were treated to an array of fairy lit, snow covered buildings. Our balcony was also a great sun trap, making it the perfect spot for relaxing with a cup of tea and a magazine.

Our apartment was simple, but had absolutely everything we needed and lovely touches like bottled water and a litre of milk in the fridge waiting for us. (Top tip: check the facilities before you pop to the resort supermarket – we bought four ‘bake in the oven’ baguettes and then got back to discover we only had a hob and a microwave! There was a dishwasher though – an essential for any relaxing holiday.)

Snowbizz family ski holiday Puy St Vincent

Snowbizz family ski holiday

The instructors were all excellent too, and extremely patient, especially with me. Our instructor spent most of his time skiing backwards, holding both my hands, while I made squealing noises, but not once did he tell me to grow up and stop being such a baby. They were really brilliant with the kids too, especially the younger ones in the snow garden.

Belle and I had a private lesson one afternoon to try and boost our confidence and our instructor was very swift to untangle us and stand us upright when I accidentally skied at speed into Belle, knocking her to the ground. Belle was very brave and only bought it up about 27 times during the rest of the week. I did apologise, (I yelled ‘SORRY SORRY SORRY!!! as I ploughed into her), and she was very forgiving.

Snowbizz family ski holiday

As we seemed to spend most of our time on our bottoms, sledging felt like a much more natural option for us. The Snowbizz team had a big stack of sledges for visitors to borrow (as well as DVDs for when you needed to put your feet up afterwards) and Belle really enjoyed digging out tracks for herself and getting good and snowy. I enjoyed the sledging too, although was a little put out at the heartiness of Belle’s laughter as I rolled like a screeching heffalump whizzed gracefully down the slopes.

Snowbizz family ski holiday

Snowbizz family ski holiday

Another thing I hadn’t expected were the relationships you could quickly build up with the other skiers on the trip. I don’t know if it’s because Snowbizz is a family run business, and this rubs off on the group, or because of the fantastic personal service, but it’s very easy to get to know other people in your group. The other families staying at the same time with us were all very friendly and supportive, giving a lovely extra dimension to the holiday.

Because I’ve never been skiing before it’s difficult for me to compare Snowbizz to other ski companies I have known. I did meet one woman in the pool though, who told me a bit about her experiences.* This woman had skied the world. She was a properly hardcore skier, who had learnt as a child and skied through blizzards in Canada. She told me that it was once so cold on a trip to Canada that if you lifted your head up out of the hot tub, your hair immediately froze solid. That’s serious commitment.

This was her third trip with Snowbizz and she had nothing but positive things to say about the resort, the staff and the skiing. If this woman has come back three times, I figured it must stack up pretty well against the competition.

Snowbizz family ski holiday

*It was a tricky conversation as I was trying to get that difficult balance between being low enough in the water to stay warm, but not so low that my boobs bobbed awkwardly out of my inappropriately low cut swimming costume. I don’t think she noticed though.

A huge thank you to Snowbizz for having us as their guests for the week!

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16 Comments

  1. 21 March, 2014 / 9:36 am

    Brilliant post. Great to hear about a skiing holiday from somebody who’s not a natural skiier if that makes sense. I have always just ignored skiing holidays feeling that sort of thing is not for me, but may reconsider it…

    xxx

    • Jo Middleton
      Author
      21 March, 2014 / 9:46 am

      Don’t write it off Claire! I’m going to do another post next week – things to do on a ski holiday apart from ski – that should give you some ideas :-)

  2. 21 March, 2014 / 11:40 am

    Yeah, it’s a great post with full of snow. I like all the pictures that you shared here because it really helps to understand the joy of you and your family. I think you are right taking pictures during skies is not good at all. If I got the chance I’ll go there to do ski.

  3. 21 March, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    I would love to do that this season. I cannot wait to go on another snowboading adventure with my family…love the snow holidays!

  4. 21 March, 2014 / 1:51 pm

    Those Pink Ladies sound fabulous! I’m hoping there’s still snow left and that we get the same weather when we go. Whilst I have had the frozen hair in the hot tub experience I’m still a fair weather skier at heart. It’s my husband who skis in blizzards at -25C, but these days I’m less desperate to impress him, and he catches up with me downing gluwein in the ski bar ;)

    My kids are going for the first time, I can’t wait to see what they make of it all!

  5. 21 March, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    This looks amazing!! You lucky ladies, although as I’ve never skied before I think I would be probably be on my backside if I did dare to take to the slopes. would love to try it though. x

  6. 21 March, 2014 / 7:30 pm

    I’m so jealous! I used to go on skiing holidays a lot when I was younger but haven’t been since I was 15. When the kids are older it’s on my list of things to do as nothing beats being in the mountains. And I love it when you go at this time of year and can ski in a t-shirt with sunglasses on, best thing ever! x

  7. 21 March, 2014 / 10:03 pm

    Cor, what a fab time you had! I really want to go skiing again; it’s been about 23 years since I went last!

  8. 22 March, 2014 / 2:23 am

    Oh wow this looks blissful – I love skiing and snowboarding but haven’t been since having the little man – hopefully will be going this december, fingers crossed – these photos totally inspire me to make proper plans for it and I love that even though you didn’t naturally connect with the slopes you both had an amazing time – and the scenery is stunning :)

    Laura x

  9. 22 March, 2014 / 10:15 am

    i would absolutely love to try skiing, but feel it’d be the same. sometimes i trip over my own feet, but i can’t imagine what i’d be like with ski’s on. dangerous probably!

  10. 22 March, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    wow looks like you had an amazing time! LOVE the shot of Belle jumping! x

  11. 23 March, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    I’ve never been skiing, but we tried snowboarding recently, and I think I probably had as many ‘eeeek’ moments as you – these winter sports are all so much harder than they look!

  12. Nicky
    23 March, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    Looks gorgeous, am well jel!!

  13. 24 March, 2014 / 2:09 pm

    So glad you had a great time, looks fantastic. I will pop this place down on my list and who knows we might be going skiing there next year ;)

  14. 4 April, 2014 / 12:58 pm

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