There are many reasons to choose Les 2 Alpes for your family ski holiday, thanks to the great value it offers for such a large ski area, events and entertainments organised exclusively for children during the season, and a host of non-ski activities to enjoy.
Les 2 Alpes ski area has a good variety of nursery slopes (both by resort and high in the mountain), excellent children's ski schools, a wide choice of accommodation and plenty of winter activities for all ages. It's about an hour and a half from Grenoble airport, so transfer times aren't too long for the little ones. Much of the resort is pedestrianised, with only one access road coming into the town. It's also pretty flat in town, making it easier to travel between your accommodation and ski school, restaurants and other activities.
It's useful to ensure that your accommodation, ski hire and ski school meet-up points are all in the same locality so that getting to your ski school or the ski lifts is not too arduous - important when you're carrying more than one set of skis! Have a look at a map of Les 2 Alpes. There are regular free shuttle buses that run up and down the resort, connecting the main resort to Les 2 Alpes 1800, and the lower-lying village of Mont de Lans.
Accommodation for families
Taking the family on a ski holiday can be hard work, so finding good family-friendly accommodation is essential to making life that little bit easier. Les 2 Alpes has a wide selection of hotels, chalets and apartments, many of which are family friendly. Chalets are available either catered or self-catered, whereas most of the apartment rentals are self-catered.
If your children are small or first-time skiers, then staying close to the nursery slopes is a good idea, try accommodation by the Alpette lift area in the centre of town, where you'll be close to a children's learn-to-ski zone. The indoor swimming pool is close by too. Other nursery slopes at resort level are at the Bosquet lift and the Viking lifts.
Les 2 Alpes 1800 is mainly self-catering apartment accommodation and has fewer facilities than the main resort. There are a couple of well priced family friendly hotels here with kids clubs. Overall, it offers a quieter skiing holiday.
Lift passes for families
Reduced price (about 10% discount) family ski passes are available - for two adults (parents or grand-parents) and a minimum of two children (5-12 years). With the family ski pass, you can also get one entry to the swimming pool and ice rink per day, night skiing, and one free day in a neighbouring resort. Children under five ski for free and there are special beginner and pedestrian passes available. Please see our Ski Lift Pass Prices page or Lift Pass Offers for further information.
Ski schools for families
If you have designs on raising the next Shaun White or Chemmy Alcott, then getting your kids into ski school as soon as possible is going to be a priority! Ski schools will take children from three years old. If you want to teach your kids yourself, you can find out more about the nursery and beginner ski areas in Les 2 Alpes in our guide. All ski equipment (and sometimes ski clothing) can be rented at the ski hire shops in Les 2 Alpes, either when you arrive or you can book everything online in advance. They will need a helmet, mittens and goggles in addition to skis (poles are not initially needed for kids), and make sure the children have enough layers on to stay warm. Remember to apply sun cream to their faces before they start and place a snack in their pocket, just in case.
For three and four year olds, the focus is on having fun in the snow, and games are used as part of the teaching process. The two main ski schools that cater for children aged three in Les 2 Alpes are ESF and Evolution2. ESF will take three year olds for half day sessions, and Evolution2 offer private lessons for three years olds.
Most other ski schools will take children aged four to five, and their first experience on skis will be in a 'snow garden' where your children can build their confidence whilst interacting with fun inflatables and characters, and by playing games. A 'magic carpet' travelator makes it easy for them to be taken up the slope. The ski pass is free for under fives, just go to the lift pass desk with some ID to obtain the ticket. Three and four year olds are likely to be satisfied with half day sessions, and all kids receive a medal at the end of their course.
For older children, you can enrol them in courses according to their level, from beginners to good skiers who are nearing competition level. Ski schools in the area that offer ski lessons for children include ESF, Evolution2, Firstrax and European Ski & Snowboard School. All provide full and half day sessions with English speaking instructors who will teach your kids how to snow plough, stop, turn and glide.
Ski schools cater mainly for weekly courses, so if you are here for only a few days then you will need to enquire at reception when you arrive to see if there is any space for your kids on the days you are in resort. The alternative is to hire a private instructor for your dates.
Ski areas for families
There are beginner slopes along the centre of the resort at village level, with the main children's learning area by the Alpette lift, and a dedicated beginner zone at the Bosquet lifts. Five of these lower lifts are free to use, no ski lift pass required. Once you have got the hang of these lower slopes, you can head up into the high mountain to explore longer green pistes off the Crêtes chair lift. Beyond here, there are plenty of blue runs to enjoy - in fact you can ski from the very top of Les 2 Alpes at 3,200m, all the way down to the village using blue and green runs. You can find out more about the easy slopes in Les 2 Alpes in out Beginner Ski Areas article.
More advanced skiers can enjoy the whole 225km of pistes in the area. For the adventurous, a day skiing the neighbouring La Grave off-piste mountain is a must. It is connected to Les 2 Alpes by cat-track and caterpillar-drag, and you should only ever ski here with a guide.
There is a great snow park called Freestyle Land which has beginner, intermediate and advanced areas for skiers and snowboarders. Choose from Easy Park, Slopestyle and Big Air, Half Pipe, Park de l'Envers, Boarder cross and the Cool Zone. Regular events are held here throughout the year.
You can buy reduced price ski passes for the nursery areas, please see the Beginners Ski Pass section on our Lift Pass Prices page.
Activities for families
During the winter, if the kids are only skiing for half a day, there are plenty of other activities available in Les 2 Alpes to keep them happy.
On the snow
For children aged 12 months (who are able to stand up) to four years you can hire a 'babysnow' from ESF - this is like a scooter on a sledge that you strap your child into and you can then push either around resort or on some of the easy green runs.
Sledging is not allowed on the piste, but if you head to the main town you will find dedicated sledging zones at most of the lower nursery slopes. Try behind the Bonhomme de Neige nursery for an area dedicated to children aged between two and six, or by the Alpette lift for kids over six. There is a 'fun snow area' by La Cote lift, and another play area and sledge zone behind the Diable chair lift. Most ski shops in town sell sledges (or your accommodation provider may have some you can borrow).
There is a large outdoor ice rink, open in the afternoons and evenings, it's free entry with your lift pass, and skate hire is available at additional cost. On Thursdays the rink becomes an ice bumper car arena. Each car fits two people (for children above 120cm). Other activities you may like to consider for your children include snowman building, snowball fun, and if you want a real treat, try husky dog sledding where the little ones can ride in a passenger sledge with you - there is usually only one passenger sled per trip, so booking in advance is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Horse drawn sleighs are another way to enjoy the area, as are snow mobiles that have a dedicated 15km track you can explore in the evenings.
For indoor fun, there is an indoor bowling alley with children's lanes at the far end of Les 2 Alpes - it also has a games room and a pool table. Just along from the tourist office is the Robocoaster Dome where you can experience an avalanche simulator - suitable for kids over 120cm. And the swimming pool at La Croisette centre is open in the afternoons, except on Saturdays. There is another swimming pool complex, Espace 1800 in Les 2 Alpes 1800, which has both indoor and outdoor pools, along with fitness room, squash courts, and sauna and steam rooms. The main sports centre, the Palais des Sports, has an indoor climbing wall and a multipurpose sports hall. You will find it by the Belle Etoile lift. The cinema is at the far end of town, pick up a programme when you arrive and look out for VOST films for English language showings.
For adults that aren't quite so sure of the skiing, there are a number of spas you can visit for some indulgence, as well as fitness classes, or perhaps some snow shoeing. Pedestrian ski passes are available at a reduced rate so you can join the rest of your group up in the high mountains for lunch and spectacular views. You can also explore some ice caves at 3,200m at the top of the Jandri Express lift.
During the school holidays there will be plenty of child friendly events to explore. At Christmas, there are magical forests to explore, workshops, parades, shows and Santa. The Palais des Sports holds events and shows during the winter season, such as dance spectacles, magic shows and musicals. Plenty more child friendly events are added to our events calendar as the ski season approaches, so please do check it when you arrive.
Summer holidays in Les 2 Alpes are all about being active and there are a wealth of activities on offer here for all ages and members of the family. Our dedicated Guide to Summer Activities in Les 2 Alpes includes a section specifically on kids' activities with information on horse riding, short family hikes, high ropes courses, where to go swimming, nature parks, and numerous other fun things that will help make your family holiday as unique and memorable as possible!
There are plenty of specialist tour operators who cater for families and have in-house nannies to help with the childcare. Children under three may be too little to try skiing so some help with childcare is essential if you plan on skiing yourself. Independent nanny agencies are also available, and should be booked well in advance of your holiday. Have a look at our childcare listings page for more information or you can contact the local tourist office for a list of available babysitters. There is a resort run crèche called Bonhomme de Neige who take children from six months, but please note that they do not speak English.
The main winter establishments to help with childcare include the ski schools who cater for children aged three years and older. You can book your child in for full or half day programmes, and lunch can also be provided for an extra charge.
You may find that the main sports centre of each town host a kids club during the summer holidays, normally from 1st July to 30th August, with activities such as swimming, climbing, tennis, basketball, ice-skating, etc. and organised hikes and picnics.
School holiday dates
France divides its school holidays into a regional timetable to ensure that the entire country doesn't go on holiday at once - however, this staggered system can mean that some months (particularly February) can be busy from beginning to end as one region after another arrives in resort! Chamonix is in Zone A.
- Zone A - Ain (01), Isère (38), Savoie (73), Haute-Savoie (74) Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse
- Zone B - Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen and Strasbourg
- Zone C - Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris and Versailles
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