Winter Activities The Whole Family Can Enjoy

The Curious Skier

02 March 2021

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Winter Activities The Whole Family Can Enjoy

Not everyone grows up in a ski family, or even loves snow. We get that, but a ski holiday can be tiresome if you don’t participate in some kind of outdoor activity. While the ski world can feel daunting for newbies—requiring lots of time, gear, mountain travel, lessons, and logistical planning to get the whole family involved, outdoor adventures don’t have to revolve around skis and can help a family to better endure cold, snowy winter days. Spending time in nature provides positive mental health benefits and outdoor winter sports are a fun way to exercise and maintain fitness habits year-round. Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together is rare, but with snow-sports you’re bound to find something with no age limits. That’s why we’ve put together this list of winter family activities that allow Mum, Dad, and even Granny and Grandpa, to participate. Read on to be inspired!

Team of young people cross country skiing training on a winding mountain road in colorful ski clothes1. Cross-Country Skiing


Cost-efficient and easy to learn, cross-country or Nordic skiing is a great winter activity for families just getting into winter sports. Gentler on the body than alpine skiing, one “lesson” from a friend or professional is really all it takes to learn classic cross-country ski skills. A parent can ski with an infant secured in a front-chest carrier and older babies and toddlers can be carried in a sturdy, internal-frame backpack-carrier. If children can walk, they can learn to cross-country ski. Children younger than 5 years old can also be towed in a sled like the Thule Chariot.

Group of children on skis look out on the view of the mountain2. Downhill Skiing


Want summit views and thrilling speeds? More adventurous than Nordic Skiing, its downhill counterpart, otherwise known as Alpine Skiing, might take a bit more practice but once you’ve got the hang of it you won’t get enough! Kids can learn to ski from the moment they can walk, and if you already ski then they’ll want to be able to keep up with Mum and Dad.


However, if you feel intimidated to learn as an adult you’re not alone. Local resort ski schools offer adult group and private lessons—there’s no shame in grown-ups snowploughing down the bunny hill. What matters is that you’re out there. You can even schedule a private group lesson for your family and receive personalised coaching, making this the perfect winter family activity for you to try together!

Man snowboarding down snowy mountainside3. Snowboarding


You may have heard a variation on the adage, “Skiing is easier to learn but harder to master, while snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master.” Don’t worry. Many snowboarders say learning how to downhill ski first provides a good skill base, but it’s not until about age 7 that a child is physically ready to learn fundamental snowboarding skills, as the sport demands stamina and core-body strength for proper balance and turning.


You may find that your kids will be attracted to snowboarding for the adrenaline rush and though you yourself may be a longtime skier, you have to be open to whatever your child is passionate about and find ways to support them. One advantage of a mixed ski/boarding family is that most resorts allow boarders to share runs with skiers, meaning that you can all to be together on the slope and do what you love best.

Man in orange trousers snow shoeing through winter landscape4. Show-shoeing


When everything is blanketed in thick snow you’d usually rule out hiking, but grab a pair of snowshoes and you can step into a world of wintry possibilities. Once a crucial form of transportation, snowshoeing is now an increasingly popular way to traverse snowy landscapes. The best part is: you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment as snowshoeing gear is usually fairly affordable, making this is great winter family activity everyone can participate in.


There are plenty of snowshoe packages that let you explore landscapes in guided groups before bunking down in a cosy lodge for the night. For us, however, the best place for a snowshoeing adventure is right on our doorstep as there are plenty of dedicated snowshoe trails throughout the Three Valleys, some which take you right up to Col de la Loze, from where you can enjoy stunning views over La Grande Coze, the Savoie’s highest summit.Bring your binoculars and you might spot an ibex (or golden eagle if you’re lucky) and if not you can leave enormous footprints in the snow and pretend you’re Bigfoot!

Man in orange jump suit kneels and hits curling stone5. Curling


You’ve probably seen this strange Winter Olympic Sport on television. One of the world’s oldest team sports, Curling originated in 16th-century Scotland and involves sliding large stones towards a target, while your team sweeps the path in front of it with large brooms. There is, however, a surprising amount of tactical nuance going on with friction, angles and arcs – giving Curling its nickname: Chess on Ice.

Pack of dogs haul sled through wintery forest6. Dog sledding


Dog sledding is an ancient practice that relies on energetic packs of huskies to pull sleds through wintry landscapes, and is thought to have originated in Alaska, where American-Indian cultures pulled great loads with the help of their dogs. Today, dog-sled racing is a popular sport in mountainous regions of North America and Europe, in which teams of sled dogs compete in pulling their ‘musher’ (dog driver) the fastest.


If you’re not keen on racing dogs and would prefer to enjoy the crisp mountain air and beautiful scenery, most ski resorts will offer the chance to take a sled ride. For a unique winter family activity during your stay at Chalet Floralie, reservations for dog sledding can be booked via Saint martin de Belleville’s Tourist Office and outings operate every week starting approximately 1.5km from the village, running down through the Belleville Valley alongside a mountain stream. If dog sledding is on your list, be sure to book in advance.

Father and two daughters go ice skating together7. Ice Skating


Ice skating was invented by the Finnish more than 4,000 years ago and remains one of the most effortlessly festive winter sports you can do. When the holiday season arrives, so does a flurry of public ice-skating rinks, where people of all ages can get together to do their best Bambi impressions, surrounded by snowy parks or historic buildings. Though there is not an ice rink in Saint Martin itself, those who want to try ice-skating can do so in Méribel, Val Thorens and a host of other towns and villages throughout the Three Valleys.

Young girl in an inflatable snow tube slides down snowy hillside8. Snow-tubing


Snow-tubing, a relatively new winter activity that has become increasingly popular in the last decade, involves sliding down a snowtube incline or “monitor” in a massive rubber tyre and special snow-tube paths can now be seen in several ski resorts. Dedicated ‘tubing pistes’ are usually located near a ski lift which gives you the chance to go back up the mountain following your ride instantly, however you can snow tube on any sledding slope too. Typically, snow-tubing is practised in the afternoons and evenings, making it a perfect and enjoyable end to your day of skiing, and another brilliantly fun winter family activity.