Taking the family skiing in the Alps requires planning, and picking the right ski resort in Switzerland, Italy, France, or Austria… you want convenient quality slopeside lodging, enough ski trails for everyone in your family, but not too vast a complex that it is hard to re-group, a good ski school, and things to do après ski. Here are a few of our favorite European ski resorts for family skiing in the Swiss Alps and Austria. We’ll keep skiing and exploring to provide more.
Obergurgl Hochgurgl in Austria, just up the valley from the larger more expansive busier Solden, offers skiing on two interconnected mountains, very family friendly terrain, ski lessons, and lovely ski in ski out lodging at Hotel Crystal. While smaller than other Alps ski resorts, Obergurgl offers high elevation skiing with good snow, and less skiers, making it ideal for families – popular with the Brits.
Serfaus Fiss Ladis is a vast ski region in the western Tyrol of Austria, and a wonderful ski destination for families. 214-kilomteres of sprawling prepared trails and 68 modern lifts connect the three alpine villages. It’s beautiful, and relatively high elevation (1400-2800 meters, summit 9,278’) makes for quality snow in The Alps. The skiing up on sunny high plateaus offers fantastic views. What’s fun about skiing around Serfaus Fiss Ladis is how animated the ski resort is. In addition to vast big mountain skiing, the resort offers a plethora of beautiful on-mountain chalet restaurants, kid snow parks, fun zones, animated trails, and non-ski activities like a hang glider ride, rodeling (sledding) day and night, zip lines, snow bikes, a mountain coaster and more. Serfaus is like the Disney world of skiing with so many alpine amusements and attractions. With a motto of “we are family” Serfaus Fiss Ladis really emphasizes the family ski experience.
Kühtai is a great little ski resort just 45 minutes from Innsbruck. This high alpine resort has spectacular Alps views and multiple aspects from Austria’s highest alpine base village at 2020 meters (6,627′). Kühtai offers families modern lifts, ego pleasing low angle terrain, a vibrant kids ski school, and some of the best snow quality in the region with its high base elevation. Kuhtai has its own compact alpine village (hotels, ski shops and dining on both sides of the access road) very manageable for families. Hochoetz is another small ski area down the road, or a short shuttle bus, also part of your ski ticket.
Ski Juwel is a hidden gem for families. Two ski areas, Alpbachtal and Wildschőnau, combined to create a four ski mountain region with 113 kilometers of prepared ski trails served by 45 mostly modern lifts. In the heart of the resort, the 2 biggest areas connect across two valleys to form a vast trail network. There’s enough ski terrain to keep everyone in the family entertained for a week, and night skiing and tobogganing certain evenings. Alpbach is a charming Austrian village just a short bus ride from the lifts for lodging, shopping and dining. Two other smaller ski mountains Niederau to the east and Reith to west are part of the large resort. Alpbachtal is a charming Austrian village just a short bus ride from the lifts for lodging, shopping and dining.
Sillian-Hochpustertal in Austria’s East Tirol offers skiers a special and unique combination, Italian views and energy, with Austrian ski tradition. Seven modern lifts access a sizeable 4,300′ vertical drop for all abilities. The place to stay, and what really puts Sillian on this list, is the Dolomiten Residenz Sporthotel Sillian, a four-star resort hotel perfectly situated just across the road from the gondola. This large, lovely property has beautiful modern alpine rooms, a wonderful spa, a beautiful setting with views, and everything families need on ski holiday – a Kindergarden, teen room, ski and boot room, a bar and lounge, half board meals, multiple saunas in the grotto, kids pool, water slide, indoor/outdoor pool and outdoor jacuzzi.
Aletsch Arena is three interconnected car-free Swiss ski villages, Riederalp, Bettmeralp, and Fiescheralp, all interconnected with great ski lifts and trails – making it ideal for a family ski vacation. You won’t run out of terrain. The ski school at Riederalp is excellent, and the car-free mountain villages make your après ski restful, special and more scenic. Arriving by gondola for your ski holiday is special too! The views of Aletsch Glacier, the largest in Europe, from the Eggishorn summit, are breathtaking. ￼
Bivio is an ideal smaller ski resort for families, located 30 minutes before St Moritz and just prior to Julier Pass (to Italy). Brigels means literally “little town” and it is a tiny Swiss village, with a decent sized ski area accessed from the compact cluster of chalets, hotels and farms in this high alpine valley. Warning: skiing here is essentially 3 long T-Bars and one learn to ski T-Bar. If your family are looking for modern gondolas and lifts, Bivio is not for you.
Brigels offers big mountain skiing on south-facing sunny exposure with a small town at the base. Eleven lifts serve 28 big wide gently pitched trails with boundless free riding (off-piste) between the prepared trails. Brigels’ elevations is 1,102 – 2,418 m (7,933’) with a very respectable 4,318′ vertical drop of primarily above-tree-line skiing. The south facing slopes earn it the slogan “where the sun likes to shine”. Brigels is very family-oriented, perfect for kids with great terrain, ski schools, and all the lodging and dining is kid-friendly.
Anzere has big mountain skiing (but not overwhelmingly large) with a compact pedestrian village and fabulous learn to ski area right in the center of the village. The views from this ski resort of the Wallis valley are superb, and there is plenty of skiing for all levels, including a summit plateau learning area served by a gondola and magic carpets. It’s nice for beginners to ski the mountaintop for the view and download end of the day.
Savognin is moderate size for a Swiss ski resort with a massive 5,068 vertical feet of skiing, 12 lifts and 25 runs. Its big mountain skiing with a relaxed vibe, without the sprawl and crowds of nearby Surselva region of the Swiss Alps, than nearby Arosa Lenzerheide, Davos and St Moritz.
Leukerbad is one of Switzerland’s most dramatic mountain valleys, surrounded by steep rocky cliffs and frozen waterfalls in winter, akin to Lauterbrunnen in the Jungfrau. From Leukerbad’s family-friendly ski slopes, you have views of 20 unique 4000-meter peaks (13,000′). Leukerbad is a great family ski holiday with scenic slopes, a pretty chalet village, activities and spas. This incredibly historic mountain hamlet is charming and car-free in the old center. The Romans first discovered Leukerbad which is loaded with thermal hot springs (hence the name bad = bath) which are great fun for ran after skiing soak for the entire family at their family waterparks.
Honorable Mention – The Pyrenees:
Baqueira Beret is Spain’s largest ski resort – with acreage comparable to Vail, very family-friendly, with spectacular scenery, and Spanish cuisine and culture. A Spanish family ski holiday is fun, easy to get to, and often sunny in these Pyrenees mountains. The Spaniards are relaxed, friendly and speak English widely. Rent an entire English ski lodge for the week, with a Chef, shared with your own group of families or friends. The peak of your Spain ski trip may well be the delicious food and wine, tapas y vino, or perhaps the magnificent views.
See more European Ski Reviews:
Top Austrian Family Ski Resorts
Top French Family Ski Resorts
Top Swiss Ski Resorts for Families
Top Family Ski Resorts in the World
Top Late Season Ski Resorts in The Alps