Family Ski Holidays in Europe: Where Can Kids Ski Free (Part 1)?

I put together our now-annual list of family ski resorts where kids can ski free in the US and Canada a few weeks ago. Now, it’s time for Europe! The good news is a surprising number of resorts offer some kind of ‘kids ski free’ program. The list is so big that I’m breaking it up into two posts. France and Switzerland are the subject today and then I’ll cover Austria, Germany, Andorra, and Italy tomorrow.

Observations and ski planning tips:

While every ski area has a comprehensive website with information in English, family-specific pricing was not easy to find. I ended up calling each tourist office to confirm the policy for the respective resorts and discovered in the process, that these phone lines are a great source of quick and accurate answers (including local conditions).

In France, only Chamonix has a truly compelling program for older kids where the first child is 1/2 off when skiing with parents and any subsequent kids up to 16 ski free. I didn’t list any packages that do not have a free component — that said, many resorts have family ski offers with reduced pricing. Be sure to ask specifically about family packages at the ticket window noting you may need IDs to prove you are a family to access these specials.

In resorts that are part of the same system like Les Trois Vallées and Portes du Soleil, the family-ski pricing and packages apply to all of the linked properties. Those resorts with no free ski options at all – even for young kids – are the exception not the rule. I was surprised to find that Val d’Isère (France) and Villars-Gryon (Switzerland) don’t have offers in place given that all of their competitors do.

Switzerland has the best options for families with older kids including a number of options where kids under 9 (!) ski free.

France Ski Resorts

Chamonix

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 4 and under/Kids 16 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. There is a family package available where the first child ages 4-16 skis for 1/2 price when 2 adult ski passes are purchased and then any additional children ski free. Tourism website.

Courchevel/Meribel/Val Thorens/Les Menuires (Les Trois Vallées)

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 5 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Les 2 Alpes

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 5 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Megève

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 5 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Abondance/Avoriaz/La Chapelle D’Abondance/Les Gets/Montriond/Morzine-Avoriaz/St Jean-D’Aulps/Champery/Morgins/Torgon/Val-D’Illiez-Les Crosets/Champoussin (Portes du Soleil Switzerland and France)

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 5 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Switzerland Ski Resorts

Château-d’Oex

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 9 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Crans Montana

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 6 and under

What: Kids ski free all season

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Davos/Klosters

What: Kids 6 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Grindelwald

What: Kids ski free on Saturdays

Who: Kids 6-15

Rules: Must accompany an adult with a full day pass. Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Gstaad

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 9 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Leysin

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 9 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Saas Fee

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 9 and under

Rules: Must buy accommodation and ski passes through the tourism office.

St. Moritz

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 6 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Verbier

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 6 and under

Rules: Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Zermatt

What: Kids ski free all season

Who: Kids 9 and under

Rules: Must have ID available showing date of birth. Available at ticket window. Tourism website.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended family ski hotels and resorts

European family ski holidays, catered chalets

Top family-friendly ski areas in Europe

Family ski holidays Zermatt

Kids ski free deals (USA and Canada)

Family ski vacation planning, ski school and childcare round up (USA)

3 Comments

  1. Hello! Thank you for your work on compiling this list! I live in Geneva, Switzerland, with my kids now slowly reaching the “not free anymore” age, so it’s great to know where are options lay to make ski trips more affordable. That being said, however, please note that a few of your listings are incorrect, particularly Megeve, Chamonix, and the Portes du Soleil. I can’t find a date for when this was written, so perhaps things have changed since. Most of the resorts that I know of in France kids UNDER 5 ski free, not 5 yrs and under. La Plagne is an exception, where it is under 6, and of course the Chamonix valley, where unfortunately, it is UNDER 4. Just something to note, as saying “5 and under” or “under 5” can make a several hundred dollar difference when planning an extended vacation.

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