The hidden gem for family skiing
Whether you are experienced skiers or are trying it for the first time, there can be few places in the world better set up for skiing families with young children than Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria.
Family skiing at Serfaus
Less than an hour and a half’s drive from Innsbruck airport (short transfer time, tick!), the snow-sure resort is a winter paradise for children and adults of all ages. Youngsters can start finding their ski legs on the resorts, nursery slopes, the size of six football pitches. Nestling on a sunny plateau at 2,000 metres, its a safe wonderland for children aged three and up to
explore while they learn to ski.
Lessons that kids will love
The Serfaus ski school (skischule-serfaus.com/en/) has English-speaking instructors, specially trained to take the best care of little ones as they glide down easy pistes on adventure trails, through the mouth of a bear and over bumps and easy jumps that help build confidence and skill.
Once your children are more confident on snow, they can take an 8-seater chair lift that’s been specially designed to be safe for children.
Usually, children need to be lifted onto the chairlifts and must sit with adults. But in Serfaus the Familien chairlift on the improvers slope can be ridden by seven children with just one adult. How? A laser detects the height of any children and raises the travellator floor so the smallest can sit down themselves. The security bar lowers automatically, ensuring a safe ride.
From amateur to kamikaze!
Adult improvers will find cruisey blues and progressive reds on the slopes which are mostly above 2,000 metres, with a total of 214km to explore in the linked area of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. Advanced skiers will find challenges off piste from the top of many of the lifts, and on 28 black pistes such as the Kamikaze, which has a gradient of 70%!
The season always runs from the beginning of December until the end of April, with the valley runs usually open from the first until the last day of the season.
Back in the 1990s, the resort management took steps to put the needs of children and their families first and foremost – and it’s been a firm favourite with Austrian and Germany families ever since.
Nursery slopes are right by the main lift station and its children’s restaurants, where the menu was chosen and tested by kids. There are no scary button or drag lifts here – instead there are 28 ‘magic carpet’ travellators. In fact, this type of lift was developed by the resort management and is now in use all over the world.
The ski area can be reached from the resort via the new and super-efficient Komperdell lift. Got a pushchair? No problem! There’s a priority lane for pushchairs and extra support for families with young children.
A hotel for families
At a family-friendly resort you’d expect the very best family accommodation. And it’s the 4-star Löwe & Bär Hotel (loewebaer.com), part of the Austrian Kinder Hotels group, that punches above its weight.
A 5-minute underground train ride from the valley station, the hotel is right opposite the Murmil Park, a nursery and sledging area that’s ideal for the under-3s.
All the rooms in the hotel are spacious suites that can sleep families of up to six. And only families with children can stay. All the rooms have at least one twin or bunk rooms, a lounge area, dining area and a super-king bed. The bathrooms have a shower and bath, nappy bins and stools to reach one of two basins.
Indoor pool and play areas
There’s a massive kids’ indoor playroom along with a 5-level soft play facility. A fab pool area boasts indoor and outdoor heated pools, a spectacular water slide and a family sauna (kit on!). For older children, there’s a climbing wall and games room. Childcare is available free of charge from 8:30am to 9:00 pm (8:00 pm for babies).
Adults can work out in the well-equipped gym or relax in a divine thermal suite with a huge sauna, steam rooms, an ice room and an outdoor plunge pool with massage jets.
Breakfast is an extensive buffet with something for everyone. If your kids can be unruly at mealtimes, don’t worry – there are no child-free people at this families-only hotel! At dinner, kids have their own self-service buffet to choose from, while adults enjoy fine dining via table service.
In the lobby there’s a selection of baby food from HIPP Organics, milk formula and hot water. You can also borrow bottle warmers, potties, baby mattresses, baby monitors. And there’s no need to schlep buggies to the Alps – the hotel has a fleet of buggies with chunky snow tyres, as well as baby carriers, all free to use. (Tip: let the hotel know in advance to make sure there’s one ready for you.)
Stress-free holidays with children
The ethos of Serfaus and the Hotel Löwe & Bär is ‘children first’. There seems to be no limit to the lengths that they will go to make sure children are happy and cared for! That means that families can enjoy a stress-free holiday – and have happy memories for a long time.
- Fly to Innsbruck – day-time flights
- Short transfer times
- Family accommodation
- Buggy hire
- Kids clubs
- English widely spoken
HOW TO GET THERE
Serfaus is 92km from Innsbruck and 30km from the closest train station, Landeck-Zams.
There are scheduled winter flights to Innsbruck from most UK destinations.
Jet2 (Birmingham, Stansted, Manchester)
EasyJet (Bristol, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester),
British Airways (London Heathrow).
Main image Copyright Andreas Kirschner