Head to the slopes for a winning result
Bringing together the nearelderly with the very young on an outdoor action-packed holiday might not, at first glance, seem the best idea. But skiing with three generations can work brilliantly – as long as you pick a suitable resort and take everyone’s interests, expectations and budgets into account.
Some grandparents relish pottering around the village, collecting the children from ski school, or looking after a toddler while Mum and Dad disappear into the après-ski hut. Some are better skiers than their children and grandchildren, and lead the tribe around the mountain. Most are somewhere in between.
My parents, for instance, ski only in the morning because they like quiet slopes and freshly groomed pistes. We meet for several runs and lunch, then they retire for a rest or a walk. My parents-in-law, who no longer ski, go swimming, explore the town and ride the mountain railways.
The grandchildren adore having grandparents joining in and admiring their snowploughs, parallel turns or jumps. We stay in separate lodgings in the same resort, as our budgets vary and we like time to ourselves.
The simplest way to involve grandparents is by meeting for lunch; some resorts are handier for this than others.
Chamonix is too spread out, with the slopes and lunch spots a drive away. But Wengen is fantastic: non-skiers can ride trains over the mountains to meet up with skiers. The hotels at Obergurgl are perfect for three generations, as they tend to have other non-skiing guests, so the grandparents can make friends – plus there’s a pool, spa, childcare and early dinner.
Ultimately, three-generation ski trips are a winner because grandparents can help out – perhaps by picking the children up from ski school, allowing parents to have an extra hour to ski – without feeling put upon.
When is the best time to go? It’s appealing to get away en famille for Christmas, but I rate the Easter holidays higher, as the days are longer, the terraces sunnier and – based on form – the snow more reliable.
There is something for everyone, even non-skiers, if you take a trip to the mountains, says Yolanda Carslaw ‘We stay in separate lodgings in the same resort’
Five of the best resorts for a three-generation ski trip
Best for: scenery and food Well-heeled Corvara (1,570m) is relatively cheap, the food is outstanding and the pistes are quiet on weekdays. Surrounded by easy slopes with awesome views of limestone cliffs, There are extensive walking trails, and many mountain restaurants accessible to non-skiers. Lodgings range from apartments to spa hotels.
Best for: chalet-dwellers A charming village plus gentle local terrain and access to a larger, more challenging area nearby make this sunny resort an ideal spot – though, as it is relatively low (1,170m), Les Gets is best for February half-term. It has two sectors of local slopes offering enough pistes (120km, plus some wooded offpiste) to keep intermediates occupied. Les Gets has a cinema, ice rink and