Not yet legal adults, but far from the squealing toddlers that once careened through your home, teenagers can present a challenging set of needs to parents planning a family holiday.
Especially if there is a wide age range among the children in your home.
Consider a few key questions during the planning phase and you’ll highly increase the chances of your kids – and you – having an excellent holiday on and off the slopes.
Daredevils or Daydreamers?
The first thing to ask yourself is ‘what kind of skiers are your kids?’.
They may be experienced on the slopes, or complete novices.
If you have a child who charges into challenges like a mad bull, fearless and ready for anything, then choose a resort with a range of slopes above their current skill level.
Other activities can feed their need for challenge too, such as fun parks.
On the other hand, if you have a child who has to be torn from a good book, who reminds you to slow down when driving, and appreciates lingering over a good scenic view, then make sure the resort has some cruising pistes for easy, chilled-out runs.
In either case, a few lessons are a good idea, too keep the daredevil realistic and the dreamer focused on mastering the basics.
The ‘Cool’ Factor
Some resorts cater to certain clientele. This usually means a target market of either partying singles, the über-wealthy or groups of young families.
As a family with one or more teenagers, this might mean you have trouble finding something that is intentionally branded to interest your teen.
Which resorts will have them truly excited to go – and which might not – can be a tricky thing to determine.
Going through images of a proposed resort is a great way to foster excitement, and the cooler the pictures, the more likely your kid is to get into the spirit of the trip.
And let’s face it, a ski trip is pretty cool, so you likely won’t have to work too hard to get your child interested.
Clues to which resorts meet the ‘cool factor’ criteria are that they are popular with boarders, have a good snow par, and that there are a lot of great activities, on and off the slopes, for them to enjoy.
Après Ski for the Almost-Adult
First of all, we all know there is a world of difference between a young teenager of thirteen or fourteen, and an older one of eighteen or nineteen – who will probably function much as another adult on the trip.
There are also ‘old soul’ thirteen-year-olds and more child-like nineteen-year-olds… you’ll be the best judge of where yours fit into the spectrum of development.
Consider which activities suit the family doing them together, and which are suited to the teens heading out on their own.
Younger teens may not want to ski all day, and switching it up from cold mountain to humid waterpark is a great way to reset energy and attitude.
This works for older teens too, especially if they are keen swimmers or if there are others of their age group around.
This is a great activity to do together as a family.
Snowparks are a great place to meet new friends in a safe environment.
They are still on-piste, so you will have easy access to them and can meet for meals or catch a quick glance at them to know all is going well.
Best of all, they’ll have a great time and hone their skills on skis.
If you’re a daring skier, or you and your children are happy for you to take on the role of spectator, then this can be done as a family. If not, it’s still a good choice for teens to enjoy on their own.
For the adult-age teen, going out to a club or party might be a desired activity. Whether you are okay with that is a personal decision.
Resorts that are known for a vibrant après-ski nightlife scene are not the best ones if you are hoping to keep your older teen participating in family time, and up early to hit the slopes.
If you want to take an older teen to a lounge for an adult drink, you can give it a try, but for most teens, as you know, having a mum or dad around in a bar is not an ideal situation.
Chalet vs Hotel
Every teen is transitioning into adulthood, and private space is a big part of that.
Consider whether you want to share a chalet with separate bedrooms and a common area, or have separate hotel rooms and come together for meals and other activities. A pair of adjoining hotel rooms is a nice middle-ground.
Resorts to Consider
is a snowboarding hub with a great waterpark nearby and babysitting services for younger children.
is a quieter resort with many restaurants and excellent slopes for beginners.
has more advanced skiing, with powder and bowls, and the Concept Loisirs amusement park.
is great for intermediate skiers and has a large Aquafun park nearby.
There are more, of course, but any of these will fit the bill to get your teen excited about the trip, and to have fun while there.
The key to a great family ski holiday for you and your teenage children, is to choose a destination that has something for each member of the family, and something for you all to do together.
There is a wealth of choice out there; your ideal family ski holiday awaits.