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Club Med

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am considering a ski trip to the Alps in March for my family of five, including three children aged 11, 9, 7. While we have skiied all over the US, we have never been to Europe. We vacationed at the (former) Club Med at Crested Butte several years ago and I liked the all-included experience, especially the ski guides for advanced skiers, which would be great for the Alps since I am entirely unfamiliar with the mountains. Also, we are not a "food" family and the Club Med restaurants are fine for us.

Does anybody have any experience with Club Med in the Alps? My main criteria are (1) a memorable ski experience, (2) affordable, (3) proximity to slopes, and (4) English speaking. At least with respect to the first 3 criteria, it looks like the Club Med at Les Menuires might be an option.

Alternatively, are their hotels or tour operators that offer something analogous to the all-included Club Med experience that I should consider? There is nothing in the US that really compares.


post #2 of 7
My family and I have done a few Club Med vacations, and have always been satisfied. As you already know, you need to understand what you're getting into. But with kids, the formula works really well. We've been tempted to do Chamonix or Serre Chevalier with them, but haven't yet. From what I know, I'd particularly recommend Serre as a good family mountain. There's a lot of below treeline there in case the weather is gray (this is huge in the Alps). Probably a nicer town than Les Menuires, too. Club Med also has Cervinia (Italy) and St Moritz (CH), or at least they did at one time. You might want to consider one of those clubs if your family doesn't speak French. Staff generally speak English, but many guests don't. I'd guess the clientele would be more mixed outside France itself, so there would be more English speakers. Just a guess, though.
post #3 of 7
Never used Club Med in the mountains.
There's a Club in Val d'Isère too, recently overhauled and well situated and a brand new one in Peisey Valandry (part of the Les Arcs great domain) which looks fine.
Les Ménuires is an ugly resort, but the domain is $$.
People I know who went Club Med for skiing were generaly quite happy with the experience.
You'll find english speakers everywhere, but they got their own powerful tour operators in the UK. You may consider to check them out. They got usualy great all-included chalet packages. But I don't know how that would work from the US.
Ask at SnowHeads ? Or try here to get an idea of their offers.
post #4 of 7
I'm American and enjoyed the Chamonix Club Med March '04 and the now closed Copper Mnt, CO before that. I think CM has had some corporate changes since I went, so my information and experience may be dated although my guess is that this may affect price (and possibly food quality, which is not so much a concern for you) more than the good family experience that they can offer.

Most of the Clubs are very good for Families although we went to Copper before our daughter was born and I went solo to Chamonix. About half the guests were French with the other half speaking decent english as a second language. There were two advanced ski groups taught mostly in english, but I think I was the only native speaker in my class with the one other American possibly the only native speaker in his class.

Chamonix is slopeside BUT actually consists of a handful on non-lift connected areas, so it is likely that you will take a bus with your group to one of the other areas at least a couple of days...for March, Grande Motet (sp?) is best because of higher elevation, but is about a 20 minute ride away. Fun group with my only issue being that we only went over to Grande Motet 1 day.

There are two Club Meds here in Les Arcs, but I think that PhilippeR has it right that the Peisey Valandry one is probably the one for families. I Not sure of the price on offer for March, but this should meet your other criteria as Les Arcs is a great ski area even with the Vanoise Express over to La Plagne closed for the season (and the fact that this Club may not attact as many non-French as the one in Chamonix).

I would recommend going to the Club Med website if you haven't already as some Clubs are more geared towards Families and others towards younger adults. Not sure if you have your dates fixed yet, but I would not come to France before the end of the Paris school holidays (March 10, I think) as you will likely find better prices, less crowded conditions and a higher % english speakers than during the French School holidays. The March 10 week is probably your best bet in terms of snow conditions.

I know that some of the catered Chalets do offer some guide services, so this might be an option as well, but I doubt that they do as good a job with the kids as Club Med mainly because the CMs larger size allows them to offer more services and more easily divide people up into similar groups (age, ability, etc.). However, if a more intimate option appeals to you, I would second philippeR again and see what the guys over at snowheads think.

Good luck,
post #5 of 7
I've never used them (I don't have children) but I've heard that Ski Esprit are very good for families. http://www.esprit-holidays.co.uk/Ski/index.html
post #6 of 7
The Club Med at Tignes France has 3) excellent proximity to slopes, and 4)English-speaking, since it's very popular with the British. You also get Val d'Isere in the deal too, through the Espace Killy area pass. It's a huge area, and seems affordable (I paid 200 euros for 6 day pass last year).
post #7 of 7

Club Med in Aime La Plagne, France

Hi David,
It might be too late to add some info now but it might not .
We went twice to Club Med in La Plagne, France, with kids and we will be there this winter (Jan. 31st) too. No kids this time. We spent the time at the lower club, Aime La Plagne which is also less expensive. The Club is excellent for kids and therefore, for us too…
It is located on the slopes so you get ski in – ski out.
The rooms are small but we didn’t spend much time there.
You get 5 hours a day as a guided skiing (2.5 X 2), all the food and drinks you want including snacks and drinks all day long.
The slops are wide and very comfortable, especially for beginners and intermediates (70% ) and 30% for the more advanced skiers.
You can see some pictures in my online album at http://sports.webshots.com/album/365236617naWAGg?start=12
Should you have more questions, just ask.
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