Family (and budget) friendly skiing in Tirol
19 September 2009
When times are hard the decision making process when choosing a family holiday comes down to one thing - cost.
The Tirol region of Austria is home to a variety of family friendly resorts for 2009-10, geared up to help those feeling the pinch this season without needing to compromise on those other all-important factors.
Certain resorts are best enjoyed at different stages of their childhood and the following suggestions will keep everyone happy from snow babies to daring teens.
Top 5 tips for choosing a family ski holiday:
1. Choose a ski resort with a short airport transfer time.
2. Opt for a resort with plenty of family friendly après-ski activities such as tobogganing, bowling, swimming or ice-skating.
3. Choose accommodation which suits the family needs and budget. Opt for a self-catering apartment if you want to keep costs down by dining in or if you do choose to stay in a hotel look for a hotel with a family sized room and benefit from child discounts.
4. Choose a resort with a good range of affordable childcare options e.g. resort kindergartens, baby-sitting service via local tourist offices, hotel kindergartens.
5. Opt for a resort offering free child ski packs.
For more information on the Tirol region, see visittirol.co.uk.
SNOW BABIES IN SERFAUS
Quiet, convenient and just over one hour from Innsbruck airport lies the beautiful village of Serfaus in the Austrian Tirol. The resort prides itself on their child-friendly credentials with Murmli the marmot taking care of all babies and children. At the bottom of the cable car station, Murmli has his own crèche, looking after babies from as young as 3 months up to 5 years old. He is there every day from 8.30am-5pm with prices starting from 9.50€ hour, 35€ half day, 63€ full day.
For toddlers and children there is the Murmlipark with its own cable car, mini-skidoo’s, bouncy castle, children's toboggan run, an igloo and all sorts of play figures, whilst the secret Murmli Trail adventure slope leads children through his winter kingdom. Meanwhile Mum and Dad can slope off and explore the extensive snow-sure skiing on 185 km of beautifully groomed pistes, safe in the knowledge that the little one is being cared for.
The 4* Familienhotel Furgler in Serfaus is wonderful for families with young babies and children. There is a dedicated hotel childcare for babies from 6 months and on request they will provide you with baby monitor, baby bath, change mat, thermometer, potty, bottle warmer, night light, steriliser so you can keep more room in the suitcase for your clothes! Prices start from €1620 for a family of four, based on two under 6, for 7 nights on half board and includes two 5 day adult lift passes.
For more information visit furgler.at. Innsbruck is served by Easyjet (easyjet.com) from Gatwick, Liverpool and Bristol and by British Airways (ba.com) from Gatwick.
TODDLERS ON THE RUN IN SCHEFFAU
With bags of energy giving their parents the run-around toddlers need a ski resort where they can do just that. Scheffau is a great choice for toddlers with the dedicated Pepi Penguin Club, taking babies from 6 months to 4 years, available exclusively for Crystal guests staying at the Hotel Alpin. If you are eager to get your little one to make their first tracks then Scheffau is the place to do it. The ‘KinderKaiserland’ ski school offers tuition for children from 2-3 years, the classes run at lunchtime and last for 40 minutes – just enough time for the little ones to get their first taste.
Stay 7 nights at the Hotel Land Alpin on half board, with prices starting from £1626 for a family of four, based on 2 adults and 2 children aged between 2-11 years. Price includes flights from Gatwick and resort transfers, free unlimited beer, wine or soft drinks from 6-9pm, afternoon tea and cake, optional daily evening meal at hotel’s pizzeria.
Scheffau Bebo ski tuition: Lunchtime 40 minute ski lesson for children 2-4 years incl. approx. £19 per day (incl. skis & sticks), bookable locally.
Crystal Pepi Penguin Club in Scheffau for children aged from 6 months to 4 years. Qualified nannies looking after babies and infants for 6 half or full-day supervision, with or without lunch. Prices from £110 for 6 mornings or afternoons.
For more information, visit crystalski.co.uk
SEEFELD FOR CHILDREN
The ski resort of Seefeld, in the heart of the Austrian region of Tirol, is a good all-rounder and a long time favourite with families. It is the combination of the short airport transfer from Innsbruck, teamed with the gentle slopes, good humoured ski instructors and other attractions on offer that make it so great for kids. Off the slopes the kids can enjoy a sleigh ride, bowling, curling or ice-skating as well as splashing around in the indoor and outdoor pools at the Olympia Sports Centre. The resort’s ski kindergarten takes youngsters from 3-6 years providing a mix of skiing and snow play and the ski school provides group ski lessons for children aged 4-10 years.
Neilson has introduced the resort of Seefeld for 2009-10. Stay 7 nights at the 4* Alpenpark Resort & Spa on half board, with prices starting from £2822 for a family of four, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing a family room with balcony. Price includes flights from Gatwick and resort transfers. Further discounts are available for children between 2-5 years. Pre-book 2 adult ski school classes and receive 1 free child ski school.
For more information, visit neilson.co.uk/seefeld
PRE-TEEN CHILDPOWDER IN ELLMAU….
Children grow up quicker than ever and from age 10 they are well into their tween phase, they want it and they want it now. The cost of family holidays can increase around this age as they are no longer deemed children. To help keep costs down look for a hotel with its own apartment building as usually you can still have access to all the hotel’s facilities including half board at a slightly reduced rate plus more space. Also opt for a resort where the child prices go up to age 16 or even 18.
Located in the heart of the Tirol, the resort of Ellmau is the perfect choice, with access to the ‘Ski Welt’, Austria’s largest interconnected ski area on the doorstep. Encourage a bit of healthy competition by registering on the Skiwelt.at website and at the end of the day access you personal ‘skiline’ detailing the lifts you used, total metres you climbed and how many kilometres covered on your descent. Child prices for the Ski Welt go up to age 16 and cost €94,50, with adult prices costing €189.
Stay for 7 nights in a family apartment at the Haus Garden, directly opposite the main 4* Hotel Hochfilzer, where prices start from €2212 for a family based on 2 adults and 2 children (10-12 years) on half board. Guests can also make full use of the hotel facilities such as the leisure area with indoor pool, children’s playroom, free child supervision up to the age of 14 (Sun-Fri, 6-8pm with buffet and activities).
For more information visit hotel-hochfilzer.com. Innsbruck is served by Easyjet (easyjet.com) from Gatwick, Liverpool and Bristol and by British Airways (ba.com) from Gatwick.
TEEN’S OUT OF TROUBLE IN ST ANTON
Keeping teenagers happy on holiday can seem like ‘mission impossible’, so keep all members of the family in good spirits while they’re away by choosing a teen savvy destination. St Anton in the Austrian Tirol is considered as one of the best high alpine ski resorts in the world. By this stage teens have often left their parents behind on the slopes so they will love the challenging skiing, exhilarating descents and world-class off-piste terrain. Keep them safe by enrolling them in a Piste to Powder course (pistetopowder.com), with highly experience mountain guides who will teach them to be safe in the mountains. Prices start from €90/day, including guide and safety equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe).
Stay 7 nights at the 3* Hotel Pepi Gabl on B&B, with prices starting from £613 per person, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers. Discounts are available of up to 25% for teens up to the age of 17 sharing with their parents. Child lift passes up to the age of 16 start from £102 and Youth lift passes for ages 17-20 are available with prices from £162.
For more information, visit inghams.co.uk