The best family skiing holiday (with grown-up kids)

By Mark Hodson

If you hear the words “family skiing” you will likely think of small children dressed in too many layers, looking vaguely bemused while their stressed-out parents carry armfuls of equipment, scramble around for missing gloves and say things like “HOW much for a spag bol? You are joking!”

But families come in all shapes and sizes and just because your kids have left home and started their journey to adulthood doesn’t mean they won’t come sprinting back to your door at the mere mention of the words “free ski holiday”.

My son Callum is 22, gainfully employed, happy and living 150 miles away in Manchester. I like to think we are close but we can often go a week or two without texting. The last time we went skiing – just the two of us – he was 11.

The best solution for us would be a chalet-hotel in the Alps, so we’d have breakfast and dinner provided, there would be people around if we felt sociable, but no enforced jollity. So we booked a week in January with market leaders Mark Warner at their Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percée in Tignes.

Other than turning up at Gatwick on time, there’s not much you need to do on this type of holiday. A coach takes you from airport to resort and there’s a hot buffet dinner waiting on arrival. Our room was spacious enough and we quickly negotiated a few ground rules (TV off, lights out when dad says so and no nudity outside the bathroom, thank you).

There was so much fresh snow on the first morning that most of the lifts were closed, but we were on the slopes by lunchtime to find astonishing conditions: deep powder, brilliant sunshine and cold temperatures. The only snag was the discovery that Callum – who worked a winter season in Austria before university – is now a faster skier than me. How is a middle-aged man supposed to process that information? Pride? Frustration? A bit of both?

Callum would have doubtless slept on the floor of a mountain hut if he could ski for free all day, but I need some creature comforts. Fortunately, the Aiguille Percée has a sleek spa in the basement with sauna, plunge pool and steam room. And the food was excellent: homemade cakes and soup in the afternoon and delicious three-course dinners.

Best of all, we really enjoyed spending time together. Over cups of coffee and glasses of wine, we had the kind of proper chats that aren’t possible on the phone. At the end of the week we had just about skied every inch of Tignes and neighbouring Val d’Isere, and avoided any injuries. But, more importantly, we felt a little closer to each other. You can’t put a price on that.

How to do it

Mark Warner has seven nights at the Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percée in Tignes from £797 per person based on two sharing, including breakfast, afternoon tea, six dinners, flights and resort transfers. As with most ski holidays, you have one night a week to source your own dinner. In Tignes, I can recommend Le Kaya, a very stylish contemporary restaurant overlooking the lake, owned and run by a young local couple. Find out more about Tignes and details of lift passes.