Crystal Awards 2013 – Best for families

Categories Families

Every year at Crystal we ask our customers what they thought about their holiday, from accommodation and the resort itself to ski school and the food they ate. We’ve collected these results and will be posting them here on Ski-buzz, as our Crystal Awards for the Winter 12/13 season.

We have absolutely no influence on any of these scores. The results are entirely based on feedback from what you, our customers, tell us.

We made sure we had a good number of responses for any one resort before putting it forward (to ensure the stats are representative) but apart from that, it’s your voting that counts. Think of it as our version of X-factor.

We’ve asked Kev, Vanessa, Mike and Matt from our Product team to give their reasons for why they love each of these resorts.

We’re starting off with the best ski resorts for families and which resorts, ski school and childcare our Crystal customers rated the highest…

Best Overall Family Resort

Kids enjoying themselves in Claviere

Vanessa: With Claviere making the top 5 for each category of best ski resort for families, it’s no surprise that this resort has come first for best overall family resort. Not only is it a fantastic area for kids and adults to learn how to ski, but children love the natural ice skating rink in the village and the amusement arcade.

Kev: The word hidden gem gets used all too often in travel writing (we are sometimes guilty of it). However, Chamrousse certainly has a fair reason to use it. The resort offers a free lift pass for everyone  and has slopes ideally suited for beginners and intermediates – making it a great choice for families. The Chamrousse apartments offer good quality and excellent value accommodation making this resort a great all rounder for families on their first ski holidays.

Mike: It’s moved up one place from the 11/12 awards and good to see it still in the top 5 – it’s very well deserved. Finland is a ski holiday where the most important element isn’t necessarily the skiing. The amazing range of winter activities will keep you entertained off the slopes – you can do something different every day and most of the activities are designed with kids in mind, like the little snowmobiles for children. On top of this you do have an exceptionally good ski school and it’s where Santa lives. Watch out, you won’t get away with not visiting him if you’re travelling with young ‘uns!

Matt: Not content with completing the family hat trick last year, Kranjska Gora has gone and done it once again. Obviously the ski school and Crystal childcare options make this a pretty tasty family offering (more on those later), but we had to really think about what else sets this apart from the rest. It might be the top notch hotels, with great locations for the slopes. Possibly it’s to do with the relaxed village and the friendly locals. And there’s a very good chance that the wide range of activities on offer help tick boxes too. But combine all those together, chuck in some incredible value and quality skiing and we see why KG is a family winner.

Kev: This small resort located right on the Italian border offers a more traditional village feel than a number of its French counterparts. The ski area is also epic – it’s part of the Milkyway area, so you’ have access to nearly 400km of piste with a great variety of runs to test you whatever your ability.


Best for Kids Ski School

Zipping up the magic carpet in Kranjska Gora

Matt: It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation when it comes to families and ski school in Kranjska Gora. Did the ski school get so good for kids because lots of families come to Kranjska Gora, or did the families come to Kranjska Gora because the ski school is so good? Whatever the answer is, the Kranjska Gora ski school have excelled yet again. There’s a dedicated team of instructors for children, who are confident with kids and make the lessons fun. Lessons are two hours long – which is enough time to really learn some new techniques in the morning and then time to spend in the afternoons, out with mum and dad, perfecting their skills or resting tired little legs. Private lessons are really good value too, so the kids (or you) could get a bit of one to one attention to help build on their confidence and progress even faster.

Kev: This is a real favourite with families and so the ski school is extremely experienced in looking after – and more importantly – teaching children. They provide the best learning environment but also ensure that the lessons are fun and enjoyable, always leaving the kids looking forward to the next day. There are also great packages here to suit your needs making it an ideal location to learn to ski for the first time.

Matt: Last year’s number one resort for child ski school again makes it into the top five, showing just how competitive this category is. What this really shows is how consistently good they really are in Kirchdorf. This small resort is perfectly designed for little skiers with special nursery slope areas with handy magic carpets – and not those pesky drag lifts. The instructors have years of experience at getting kids from zero to hero in under a week and with first time ski packages available from just £199, learning is both fun and affordable. Just don’t get jealous when your kids are better than you.

Vanessa: Claviere is a perfect place for kids to learn or improve their skiing. In 2006 the resort benefited from the Winter Olympics, making it a superb destination for fun skiing with extensive and quiet slopes throughout, giving it great conditions for kids to ski and learn. With Claviere making the number one spot for both childcare and best overall family resort it is no wonder that the kid’s ski school is in the top rankings.

Matt: Holding onto fifth place is Rauris, another small ski resort focused on helping first timers get to grips with the slopes. What the Karl Maier ski school instructors do really well is make learning fun. There’s loads of activities to make the kids forget this is “school”, like arriving on the ski train before spending their days out searching for treasure, having races and winning medals. Rauris is ideal for improving after that first week away too. There’s plenty of long blue cruisers and for when confidence and skills are high enough – more challenging red runs. And with tuition, lift pass and ski hire packages starting from £184 you won’t break the bank.

Best for Childcare

Claviere is a great ski resort for all the family

Vanessa: First place for the second year in a row for childcare and now first place for best overall family resort –  this really is a perfect place to spend a family holiday. Our Crystal Childcare service is offered in the Hotel Grande Claviere. The hotel is just a 5 minute walk to the nearest slopes and also the beginner’s area where Whizzclusive kids will spend some of their time. The Hotel Grand Claviere and our childcare teams year after year have an excellent reputation for providing a really fun and safe atmosphere for your children.

Matt: New parents, you don’t have to miss out on your ski holiday just because you’ve got a rugrat. In Kranjska Gora, there’s a Pepi Penguin and Whizz Kids club for skiing and non-skiing kids aged 6 months to 11 years old at the Hotel Alpina. The qualified team of carers have loads of activities planned both indoors and outside to make sure your little’un has a great time while you get some well deserved mountain time. Climbing one place from last year, the Crystal childcare team in Kranjska Gora are clearly doing something right.

Kev: La Plagne is a great resort for families spread across 6 main resorts. We have childcare clubs in 2 different locations in La Plagne allowing families loads of choice with hotels. In Plagne 1800 we have childcare in the Chalet Rose available to our chalet guests and self catering apartments. Also, In Plagne Centre we have a larger childcare service in the Hotel Terra Nova providing exceptional value for money with unbeatable ski to door access for the parents, and friendly, fun childcare staff for the kids.

Kev:  The popular Hotel Hermitage in Alpe d’Huez offered great family facilities, such as good sized family rooms and Crystal childcare. Unfortunately we no longer offer this hotel, but vistors to Alpe d’Huez can visit the Petit Prince, which has great childcare recommended by Crystal. If you’re looking specifically for Crystal Childcare in a similar area, then we’d recommend either the Hotel Diva in Tignes or the Hotel Terra Nova in La Plagne.

Vanessa: Val Di Fassa is enjoying its second year in the top five, mainly due to the childcare based in the Chalet Violetta. With both Pepi and Whizz clubs, the chalet will take kids from 6 months to 11 years. The chalet has been a family favourite for a while, getting loads of customers coming back year after year. The food is great, the chalet staff are super friendly and you will even be provided with the essentials needed for babies and toddlers, keeping customers packing to a minimum. After a day on the slopes, the large lounge is perfect for the kids to watch a DVD or play board games.

To sum up…

So that’s our first installment of the Crystal awards for Winter 12/13. We’ll be back in the next few weeks with a whole host of other awards. We really appreciate all the feedback we receive so why not leave us a comment or talk to us on Facebook or Twitter. 

These posts have been written by one (or several) of the Ski-buzz team.

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