What activities can I do in the mountains with my children in winter?
Ski-joëring, special toboggan run, electric snowmobile, Indian village, pony-drawn sleigh... Here are 8 ideas for a successful parent-child holiday in the Alps this winter.
#1 - Pretending to be an Indian in Courchevel
If you listen carefully in Courchevel Moriond, the resort at an altitude of 1650 metres, you may hear Sioux war cries. Don't worry, it's not altitude sickness that's playing tricks on you, but little Indians in the making who are having great adventures in the snow! Tipis, war paintings, costumes, dancing and singing around the fire: in the Indian camp of Perle de Lune, big chiefs and brave squaws make Native American headdresses and look out for wild animal tracks. Next door, at the Western Ski Park, they ski in a totally secure area, in a resolutely Sioux atmosphere!
#2 - Going down the longest toboggan run in France in Val Thorens
It is called Cosmojet. With its 6 km length, in the magical scenery of Val Thorens, the largest toboggan run in France offers 45 minutes of descent! An activity accessible to children from 5 years old, which starts with a meeting at the Péclet funicular for an 8 minute climb, before reaching the foot of the Péclet glacier from where the start is given. Children from 5 to 10 years old can ride for free on an adult's sled, and those over 10 years old can drive their own mountain sled. And for even more excitement, the track is open at night! The price is 16,50€ for a daytime run, and 24,50€ for an evening run.
#3 - Living like a trapper in Meribel
In Méribel, children from 7 to 12 years old are invited to put themselves in the shoes of a trapper for an evening. A nocturnal activity in the form of a mountain adventure, with a torch in hand and snowshoes on your feet, through the forest. You look for the tracks left in the snow by animals, discover the secrets of nature, and even learn the techniques for building an igloo. At the end of the quest, a stop is made in an igloo, to enjoy a good Savoyard fondue and regional products.
#4 - Pony sledging in Samoens
If skijoring is reserved for those who are already comfortable on their skis, here is the perfect alternative for the little ones: a sledge ride pulled by a pony! Wrapped up warmly, children as young as 1 year old can take part in the game. In the middle of nature, the child meets the pony who will accompany him/her before being surprised by his/her first sliding sensations. An unforgettable experience that lasts less than half an hour, to avoid getting too cold. Count on 15€ for a 20-minute ride.
#5 - Become a draisienne champion in Le Corbier
The resort of Le Corbier, in the Sybelles ski area, located in the south of Savoie, is hosting a new activity this winter that should delight children aged 3 to 5: snow draisienne races! If the children are familiar with these small mountain bikes without pedals which teach them balance, they will discover in Corbier the snow version, equipped with specific skates. For each of the little champions, a medal and a snack mark the end of the race. Everyone wins in the Alps!
#6 - Make your electric snowmobile roar in Val d'Isère
It's 4pm, but the kids don't want to go home. From now on, they can imagine themselves as racing drivers at the wheel of electric mini-snowmobiles! Right in the centre of the resort, next to the swimming pool, children can race their zero-emission cars on a closed and secure circuit. An original activity accessible to children from 5 to 12 years old, between 4pm and 7pm, which completes the offer of an already very kid-friendly resort: on the slopes, the Val Kids area includes a toboggan run, a playground, a fun ski run and a border cross. Fun.
#7 - Pony riding on skis in Les Contamines-Montjoie
Have you heard of skijoring in the mountains? It involves being pulled by a carriage while you are on skis, by a horse or dogs. In Contamines-Montjoie, in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, children can discover this discipline by getting behind a pony during a 10-minute initiation. At a walk or at a gallop for the most daring, the experience promises to be magical! However, it is reserved for those who already have their First Star (around 7-8 years old). The price is 10€ for a 10 minute initiation, and 50€ for a one hour initiation.
#8 - Take the whole family on a sledge in Valloire
Children love sledging, that's a fact. But what about the parents? In Valloire, the whole family goes on a "snake gliss": hooked up to each other on triangular sleds, they all go down a 4 km long track with 500 metres of positive difference in altitude. The first sled is led by an instructor, and the big snake of mountain sleds follows. The further away you are from the head, the more thrilling the turns. The kids will have a good laugh when mum starts screaming in the turns! This activity is accessible provided you are over 1m20 tall on the big course, but children from 3 years old can try out a small 800 metre course, always with their parents.