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Skiing with young children in Zermatt

A guest has sent us this blog, telling us about their experience skiing with young children in Zermatt.

Zermatt seduced us ten years ago, with its unbeatable restaurants; fabulous pistes (including that long, long run into Cervinia), and the views from every angle of that big, beautiful, pointy mountain. We skied there most years with a bunch of friends, stopping early afternoon for long lunches, followed by a little session at the Hennu Stall for one or two raspberry vodkas, or the Papperla for a beer, then home to a Scott Dunn dinner. And sometimes, we’d find the energy to go out after to Elsie’s.

Then we had children.

Skiing was missed for a couple of years, and as soon as we thought it was the right time, we tried “child friendly” resorts, with “child friendly” companies. But Zermatt kept calling. Our biggest concern was obviously the suitability of the resort for young children. Not many beginners start at the resort, since there are no nursery slopes in the village itself. All the slopes are accessed by either gondola, cable, funicular or the spectacular but gently paced Gornegrat train, so many people prefer to try ski in / ski out resorts. However, once up the mountain, there are some perfect slopes – wide and not too steep and next to good chair lifts.

We booked Chamois – a good family chalet right next to the Klein Matterhorn lift, and even better, exactly where Stoked Ski School meet every morning. We were two families, with children from 18 months to seven years old. Charmaine, our very helpful Scott Dunn nanny, looked after the youngest, whilst the four others had their lessons. The four year old was picked up by Charmaine at Schwarzee, where Stoked have a crèche, at noon each day, and the others had lunch at different spots around the resort and then skied further until 3.30. What was fantastic was that many parents picked their children up at lunch time, so the afternoons were more like private lessons for all ours. And being Easter, with longer days, we could pick them up at an agreed point and spend the rest of the afternoon skiing with them.

Stoked were incredibly efficient, and by far the best ski school we have encountered so far. The instructors were kind and patient, explaining things properly to children and giving parents good feedback at the end of the day. Our six year old gained the confidence she needed – there were tears on the last day when she didn’t want to take off her skis. And our seven year old just wanted to spend every moment jumping off piste, seeking out couloirs.

On the last day we took the girls to Chez Vrony for lunch. Now they know what skiing’s all about and will never be able to ski all day with just a bottle of water and a Mars Bar. So that will be Zermatt next year then – what have we done!

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