Hit the slopes with your small ski bunnies at one of these cool-as-ice ski resorts!
It may be lovely and warm here in Singapore, but ski season is approaching in destinations around Asia and beyond. And with Christmas break just around the corner, we’re turning our minds to new destinations for a family holiday where we can ski our socks off! No matter if you’re a snow-shy beginner, an off-piste whizz or something in between, we’ve found the near(ish) and (very) far ski resorts that make for the perfect wintry getaway. Fancy going off-piste and organising your vacay yourself? Or would you rather enlist the invaluable services of a ski-holiday expert? Either way, we’ve tracked down plenty of snowy options that will make a great family-friendly skiing holiday. Powderhounds: ready, steady… ski!
With more than 500 ski resorts dotted around Japan, it’s easy to find decent snow in this top-notch ski-holiday destination. The best resorts and snow conditions are found in northern Japan and along the mountains bordering the Western Japan coast.
Niseko, Northern Hokkaido
Niseko has not one, not two and not even three ski resorts: there are a whopping four snow resorts in Japan’s official number-one skiing region! Averaging over 15 metres of top-quality snowfall each season, there’s a resort for all levels of expertise (and fabulous onsens for those who fancy a gentler pace of holiday). Head to the easier slopes of Annupuri if you’re feeling less brave. Ready for the big guns? Advance onto the off-piste and more challenging courses at Grand Hirafu, Hanazono and Niseko Village once you’ve found your feet.
How to get there: It’s one of the easiest ski resorts to get to from Singapore – there are plenty of direct flight options to New Chitose Airport. Most hotels will arrange onward travel for the 150-kilometre journey to Niseko. There are also plenty of bus companies that will take you to the slopes in around three hours.
Where to stay: Hotel Niseko Alpen is a three-star ski-in/ski-out hotel ideal for families with its onsite swimming pool, onsen and childcare options. Plus, the beginner’s slopes are right on the doorstep!
If it’s an off-the-beaten-track kind of ski adventure you’re looking for, then head to one of the oldest ski resorts Japan has to offer in Tohoku. Plus, its super family-friendly! With its six prefectures – Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima – this is a favourite for locals. This powdery paradise is the perfect pick for an authentic experience – some of the ski lifts even date back to the 1920s. Kids will love finding the famous ‘Ice Monsters’ created from frost and snow on the evergreens around the mountain.
How to get there: Fly direct into Narita International Airport from Singapore, then jump on the Tohoku Shinkansen or Joetsu Shinkansen lines from JR Tokyo Station for a bullet train journey of between 1.5-3.5 hours.
Where to stay: We like Zao Kokusai Hotel in the Yamagata area, where you’ll find good sized rooms, hot spring baths, a spa and a great location for skiing opportunity.
Home of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba has enough going on for even the most prolific of powderhounds – there are nine resorts and over 200 runs in the area! Perfect for kids of all ages, there’s plenty to keep the whole family busy with many slopes, lessons and challenges to choose from. Check out the Evergreen Outdoor Centre, where more advanced skiers in the family can put their footwork to the test on its backcountry trails and off-piste challenges. The centre also provides lessons on the nursery slopes for those less experienced in your crew.
How to get there: Fly to Tokyo, then head to Tokyo Central Shinkansen Station and hop on a bullet train to Nagano in around two hours. Once there, you can take a bus or train to the ski areas.
Where to stay: Large ski-in apartments with two and three bedrooms are what you’ll find at Hakuba Gondola Apartments near the picturesque Happo Village. Ideally located next to the area’s main gondola (ADAM Gondola), this self-catering option is perfect for families with skiing on the top of their holiday wish list.
A lesser-known ski destination in Asia, the slopes in South Korea make for a great skiing holiday too (and while you’re there, enjoy a few days in the capital – check out this mum’s best picks for Seoul with kids).
We want to try skiing at Yongpyong Resort in Korea’s Baekdudaegan Mountain Range, just so we can say we’ve been on the Rainbow Slopes. With buckets of snow every season, the largest of South Korea’s ski resorts have the perfect terrain for all kinds of skiers. Not only is there plenty of space for novice skiers (and soft landings for bottoms!), advanced lovers of the sport can try out the 2018 Winter Olympics slaloms for a step up on the challenge front.
How to get there: Fly direct to Seoul with airlines including Korean Air and Singapore Airlines, and then take a 250-kilometre shuttle bus transfer to Yongpyong.
Where to stay: Alpine sports are big on the menu at the modern hotel, Holiday Inn and Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang. Suites include a kitchenette, which always makes life so much easier when travelling with fussy kids!
We love that this ski resort is close enough to Seoul (just a 45-minute drive) so we can mix up our ski days with adventures in the city looking for Santa. You might be surprised, but the South Korean Santa is decked out in blue! These slopes are not one for skiers who love drama, but perfect for families looking for gentle slopes, snow sledding and just a good old fashioned snowball fight.
How to get there: Once you’re in Seoul, it’s an easy drive of just 45-minutes to the ski resort.
Where to stay: Rooms are spacious and good value at the Hotel Thesoom Forest, located in Yongin-si.
Amazing food (all that glorious cheese!), fantastic wine and friendly people make this a great pick for a long-haul skiing holiday. Plus there’s Paris and EuroDisney to consider.
Les Deux Alpes
This high glacial resort has over 200 kilometres of groomed slopes ranging from a lofty 3,570-metre run to a gentler 1,650-metre affair. The resort has tons going on both on and off-piste. And, there are ski runs for all levels of expertise, from total novices through to daredevil ski wizards. Kids will love checking out the medieval village of Venosc where you’ll also find some great restaurants and plenty of delicious French vino.
How to get there: Yes, we know the resort is in France, but it’s actually quicker to get to Les Deux Alpes from Geneva Airport. Transfer from Geneva to the resort can be arranged by private car, taxi or bus for the 200-kilometre onward journey.
Where to stay: Head to the heart of the Oisans to Le Souleil’Or, a cosy chalet perched at 1650-metres offering stunning views of the mountains and slopes.
It’s not all cheese, chocolates and watches in Switzerland (although that doesn’t sound so bad). Some of the most famous ski resorts are nestled amongst the jaw-dropping Alpine terrain, and great for families too. Plus it’s a direct flight: bonus!
As one of Switzerland’s most famed ski resorts, Verbier offers plenty of sporting activities in winter (and in summer). There’s abundant nightlife (plus babysitting options!), stunning scenery, charming villages and chalets a-plenty. Families are well catered for, and a beginner’s area on La Chaux is especially good for kids (and adults!) finding their ski feet, while Le Tzoumaz and Nendaz have nursery slopes and children’s play areas. If the little ones are getting weary on their skis, take a break and go dog-sledding or ice karting instead. Oodles of fun guaranteed!
How to get there: Fly direct to Zurich with Swiss Air or Singapore Airlines and then use a 2.5-hour transfer to the resort, or alternatively fly to Geneva (with one stop) and transfer in just over an hour.
Where to stay: Chalet d’Adrien gets rave reviews and we can see why! Its spa and swimming pool overlooks the mountains, and it has gorgeous Alpine-style rooms to boot: including a two-bed apartment for families, and just 30-metres from the Savoleyres Ski Lift. Perfect!
Mamma mia! Italy is just so beautiful that it would be a travesty not to visit, no matter what time of year. Skiing is especially family-friendly, and with almost 300 ski resorts around the country to choose from, they’re super easy to find!
The long journey from Singapore to Northern Italy is well and truly worth it. Once you get to the Dolomite Mountains, you’ll be blown away by the breathtaking scenery and the impressive array of ski resorts – 12 of them – all at once. This is an all-round winner no matter your skiing prowess. Plus, the whole family will soon be perfecting techniques on everything from the beginner’s slopes to its off-piste terrain. Snowfall is superb and with over 1200-kilometre of pistes to play on, you’re all going to need a lot of pasta and pizza to keep your energy up!
How to get there: Singapore Airlines will fly you directly to Milan Malpensa and then you’ll need to take a 360-kilometre journey to the resort (not one for antsy kids) or fly to Venice with one-stop for a shorter 166-kilometre transfer to your powdery destination.
Where to stay: A two-star Michelin restaurant, an award-winning spa, indoor pool and a kids club you say? Take us to Hotel and Spa Rosa Alpina immediately!
The hills are alive not only with the sound of music, but with plenty of fun skiing opportunities, too. This patch of the world is stunning and well worth the, admittedly, epic journey from Singapore.
Once considered the party town of the skiing resorts found in Austria, Söll has been working hard to change that vibe to a more family-friendly one, and it’s done a stellar job. Kids are taken care of at the awesome Snow Pirate kids club, while the grown-ups can ski on the bigger slopes without worrying about little ones keeping up. Söll also makes a great resort for date night with a difference: the slopes are floodlit during the evening. Aww! Dog sledding is another popular activity in the area, and you can’t miss the hot chocolate guzzling.
How to get there: Airlines including Lufthansa and British Airways offer flights from Singapore with one stop along the way to Innsbruck, the nearest airport to Söll. The onward transfer from Innsbruck to Söll is 78-kilometre and takes around an hour in a private car or taxi.
Where to stay: Family rooms sleeping up to six are what’s on offer at the pretty four-star Hotel Postwirt, and beds are hypoallergenic! This is a family-run hotel so it totally gets us.
Norway has become popular in recent years as a ski destination in recent years. And, with a good chance of also ticking the Northern Lights off your bucket list, it’s a stunning option that generally offers less eye-watering ticket prices than some of its other European counterparts.
Kids are not only welcome but actively encouraged in the Norwegian ski resort, Hemsedal. There’s a huge dedicated area for small skiers where kids will have a (snow) blast in the mini-park and teepee tents. Plus, there are great childcare options available for when you want to blaze down the slopes without the kids in tow. There’s even a ski kindergarten for the super small family members! The area also provides plenty of snowy challenges for skiers of all abilities. Head up trails that lead to the rugged Skogshorn Mountain, and be sure to check out the stunning scenery in the area too! Psst, the waterfalls are out of this world!
How to get there: Jet off to Oslo (no direct routes but try KLM or Swiss Air for one-stop options) and then make the 200-kilometre transfer by private car, taxi or express bus.
Where to stay: The ski-in/ski-out Rådyrlia Cabins are nestled smack bang at the base of the slopes. Plus, it’s a short distance of ski school, the lifts, shops and restaurants. A whirlpool bath, sauna and games console seals the deal.
‘Go big or go home’ is a motto we’re on board with, so if you’re after one of the ultimate skiing experiences then be prepared to fly to the other side of the globe to visit Canada! Not for the fainthearted, the journey is immense (don’t forget to check out our survival guide for flying with kids!). But, the end gain will be the stuff that powdery dreams are made of. Also: maple syrup and bacon.
Whistler is comprised of two mountains: Whistler and Backcomb. Connected by a record-breaking peak-to-peak gondola, Whistler is the crème de la crème of the ski resort world and takes winter adventures to a whole new level. With over 50 kilometres of alpine trails, a Family Adventure Zone (bungee jumping or zip lining, anyone?) and slopes for all levels of expertise, this is one winter holiday that will fill the memory banks for years to come.
How to get there: It’s a long slog but totally worth it! Fly to Vancouver (usually one stop on the way in Hong Kong or Japan) and be prepared to spend around 20-hours in the air, and then complete the journey with a two-hour transfer to the resorts.
Where to stay: If you’re going all that way for your dream ski holiday, it’s only fair to spend it in one of the best resorts in Whistler: Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Fun fact: it’s also been voted one of the best hotels in Canada (quite the accolade), so this ski-in/ski-out pick is guaranteed five-star luxe all the way.
NEED SOME HELP?
Skiing holidays from Singapore definitely require some long ol’ journeys and skilled planning, which is why we’re kinda tempted to outsource. Consider using one of these great ski specialists to tick the ‘skilled planning’ box for you…
We’ve used this top-notch ski specialist ourselves. No matter where in the world you want to go, nothing is too much trouble when it comes to tailor-making the perfect ski holiday for families! Staff all have first-hand knowledge of the ski locations and resorts they suggest. And, the outstanding service really will make your plans feel less of a snowstorm and more fluffy white stuff when it comes to organising an awesome snowy holiday.
Luxury holidays are made easy by Lightfoot Travel, and that includes ski holidays to wintery destinations. Check out its advice on Skiing 101 for kids to help get packed and prepped for your vacay.
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