I’ll start this review at the end of the week! We have a “New Generation” of skiers in the family! The last run on the last day, we all went down a red run together and it was a very lumpy bumpy red run after a week of glorious sunshine making snow conditions less than perfect! This happy final family descent is all thanks to New Generation Ski School in Morzine.
This was our first skiing holiday as a family. Hannah is 10 years old and Sofia is 6 and we pondered for many years when the “ideal” time was to start them off learning to ski. Turns out for us it’s when our half term doesn’t coincide with the rest of the country and flights and hotels are half price!
That said, Ski holidays aren’t cheap, even out of the school holidays. On top of the flights and accommodation there is the kit, ski hire, ski lift passes (all times 4) plus lessons on top. That’s a lot of money to throw away if your kids decide on day one that skiing isn’t for them. No one wants a holiday where you are battling to get the kids to do an activity they don’t like. Especially when that’s all you have planned for the next 7 days!
The first experience for the girls, and the make or break for the holiday, would be on day one, on top of the mountain with an instructor they had never met, in a place they had never been. We would be asking them to ski off with this stranger and a group of children like the pied piper whilst we cheerily waved them goodbye! The choice of ski school was therefore a very big deal for us.
We discussed with friends whether we could email various ski schools and ask if they had a young pretty adventurous ski instructor, someone the girls would admire and be happy to follow up a mountain! From a more serious parent’s perspective… the reality is you are entrusting the instructor to look after your children who they have just met, in what could be all elements, up a mountain on skis and ,oh can you make sure they have a fun time please as we would like to do it again.
I learnt to ski when I was in my mid-twenties. I went with the French and Italian traditional ski schools, as there wasn’t really a choice at the time. Language barriers came into play at times and whilst the instructors taught me to ski, I wanted something different for the girls. When I was learning I remember mention of a “new generation” of ski schools being established- A British ski school whose approach to teaching was more modern than the traditional French or Italian based ski school.
The choice for our first family holiday in Morzine was therefore do we go with the traditional French ski school or opt for New Generation Ski School in Morzine. After a phone call with New Generation and discussions with friends and experienced skiers we booked with New Generation Ski School in Morzine.
For us New Generation Ski School in Morzine was the right decision for these reasons:-
Whilst the kids are always keen to try and speak and learn the language when we go on holiday, it’s the basics. Hello, goodbye, please and thank you. The instructors all have brilliant English of course, but part of the enjoyment is the other kids they are skiing with. To be able to laugh and talk and have the general ski banter of a small group where you all speak the same common language. I felt the girls would be a lot more reserved and find the language barrier more of an issue if they were in the traditional school, with a lot of children whose native tongue was French.
The New Generation lessons all started from the same place and all the lessons I saw tended to be smaller groups with British children. I think this helped settle the kid’s nerves a little on the first day. They knew two of the other children in the class and this helped enormously. The fifth little girl fitted in really well and it was a lovely little happy group of children every morning. First hurdle over. The kids got on and liked the others in the group.
This was my first ski trip in over 10 years so I wanted to find my ski legs again and enjoy some time on the slopes. I didn’t want to put the girls into ski school all day, which is an option with some schools. I was hoping to enjoy some afternoon ski time with them too. The French school offered ski lessons for 2 hours with child care for an hour or so before and after. New Generation offered lessons for 4.5 hours. The New Generation timings worked for us, it allowed us time to get the girls up and out on the slopes and to have a good few hours exploring before we had to meet them again at 1.30pm when the lesson finished.
New Generation offered the best of both worlds for us, the girls got almost twice the time in lessons and we had our time as well. I spoke to the New Generation team before we booked. I didn’t want to overtire the kids with long lessons, but they re-assured me that this length of lesson was ideal for children. (They did say adults lessons were shorter as they couldn’t cope or concentrate for the same length of time as kids !!)
The fourth reason why I would recommend New Generation Ski School in Morizine to anyone thinking of ski lessons for their kids is down to the people they use, their team and instructors. In my time I have had a few gnarly ski instructors, who tended to sign rather than talk and barely communicated as we descended mountains. Not saying this is always the case with the traditional schools but it is a definite memory of mine!
Getting two kids to the top of a mountain in a French cable car during their rush hour, with poles and skis coming out of ears, can be stressful. We were a little late twice. I never felt like I was being tut tutted, or watch tapped. Fabio our New Generation ski instructor was lovely, relaxed and chilled. He set us at ease straight away as we scrabbled about double checking boots were tight enough etc. He also re-assured us that he checked their kit and shoes before they started so we didn’t need to worry. It was little things like that, which make the difference to a stressed parent on top of a mountain!
Not only did Fabio make the parents feel at ease he made the lessons fun for the kids. We didn’t have a single gripe or moan about the lessons. Not one. Kids can find any reason to moan..they moaned about who carried the poles, who held the swimming pool key card, who went in the shower first. But not a single cross word or whine all holiday about the lessons or skiing. Massive hurdle over.
Our “grown up” friends who were also having lessons with New Generation Ski School said of their instructor that he had the patient of a saint with some very nervous forty year old skiers . He would happily run up and down the slopes helping them, holding their hands and generally really looking after each and every one of them.
Our kids would happily go off and ski with Fabio their instructor in the morning. They would have a break mid-morning ( we packed their pockets with snacks and money for a drink) .At the end of their lesson they would happily ski with us for a little while showing off their newly acquired skills . Wednesday, mid-week, they skied hard, and this was the only time the little one said she wanted to go down in the cable car. They was no crying whining or arguments though. Every morning the girls were up and ready for their 9am lesson at the top of the mountain. Without complaint. By contrast friends who had the children in the traditional French ski lessons in another resort said their kids didn’t really enjoy their lessons. The groups were much bigger and with the majority of children in their group French they didn’t feel as included in the lesson.
The best part for me was seeing the kids smile at the got in the cable car to go the lessons. It made life so much easier knowing they were happy with Fabio and the group. I never really found out what they did in the lessons. After day one they could all definitely stop and had been on a chair lift successfully. Day two I am told they went looking for bumps and did part of a red run. Day three was all about the poles! I remember using the poles as safety crutches when I was learning, for kids the poles are status symbols; alien horns, used to spell out the words YMCA as they sang the song down the slopes at top voice.
I get the impression the lessons were an amazing journey of a fun follow my leader for the kids, copying singing, jumping and bumping along. I asked my eldest, a tough critic, trust me, how the lessons were after a few days.
“Really good, Fabio is really nice. He’s a very good teacher and lets us do what we want”.
Not sure this is entirely true but I do think this is a sign of a good teacher when the kids “think” they are in charge. They certainly seemed to have choices: do you want to do jumps or bumps today, and according to the girls they also got to choose some of the runs they did. At the end of the week Hannah told me they were going “off piste” and going through the trees. Again whether this was a confidence building tactic or actual reality I don’t know.
How did they do at New Generation Ski School in Morzine
At the end of the week they were all awarded their passports and badge pins. The girls were in the Wallabie group , the beginner level for their age group. There are a number of fundamentals, super skills and challenges to be achieved. For the Wallabies this was getting used to equipment , lifts and snowploughing. Super skills were to sidestep up a hill, control speed and stop safely in a group, use button lifts and ski in control down a blue. The challenges were to change the size of the turns, ski around cones and markers, ski some bumps and rollers and ski six turns without following the instructor.
They all passed with big smiles and ended this years ski season by coming down a very lumpy bumpy red as their last run. They did the red without any wobbles, confidence crisis or issue at all. Happy girls, confidently turning and weaving, going a lot lot lot faster than their mum. The little one fell . “Don’t worry I am coming” I called. Before I had even set off she had her ski back on, was up and off.
I am a big believer in letting your children fall down in life so they learn to pick themselves up. I love that my children learnt to do this whilst skiing with New Generation and had so much fun doing it. Thank you New Generation Ski School, every dealing with you was easy from the booking before, the first meeting on top of the slope, to the final goodbye.
For anyone thinking about taking their children skiing for the first time, this would be my advice, save money elsewhere but don’t skimp on the lessons. New Generation Ski School in Morzine and Fabio really did make the holiday for our kids.
As for the rest of the holiday…We stayed at Hotel Les Cotes in Morzine. A fabulously family friendly, family run hotel about 10 mins away from the Super Morzine cable car and about a 25 min walk to the centre of town ( the hotel does offer a free shuttle bus in morning). The hotel itself was a great place to stay with children. It has a nice indoor swimming pool, games room, including a single bowling lane and pool table. The family room was spacious with good sized bunk beds which could be closed off from the main family area and bedroom. We went half board and if I am honest it was a waste of money with our kids. Whilst they would try one garlic snail, we were paying for a traditional 4 course French cuisine every evening. They really didn’t need this. The room we stayed in was a family room which had self catering facilities. If we went to Morzine again I will go to the local Spar and buy pasta pesto for tea and use the money saved for more New Generation ski school lessons. The New Generation ski school lessons were roughly twice the price of the traditional French ski school, but they had twice the time in lessons! It was like getting two weeks of ski lessons in one week.
The kids loved the hotel and really enjoyed jumping into the pool after a day on the slopes. The timings of the meal were a little out of sync , with breakfast starting at 8am, which didn’t give us enough time to get them ready, down to the ski hire shop where we left our kit overnight ,up the cable car and ready for a 9am lesson start. We always went down early and the continental breakfast was always ready around 7.30-8am -no one batted an eye that we were going in early. The staff couldn’t be more accommodating for us or the kids. We arrived later than expected on day one, after dinner had finished. As we were being transferred to the resort, the hotel rang us to see what time we would get there then arranged for some cold plates of food to be in our room once we finally made it to the hotel. We were so grateful and again it’s the little touches that made the difference to this holiday.
In Morzine you could also look to stay with Chilly Powder – a catered chalet in Morzine, France
or a really luxury catered chalet with TG Ski.
In terms of other arrangements we flew into Geneva from Manchester with Jet2. Transferred from Geneva to Morzine and back with Alpybus and hired skis and boots from Ski Set at Caribou Ski shop. All arranged on line ahead of the holiday and all provided first class service .For a ski holiday with lots of different elements, every step was easy and straight forward with these companies.
In summary, Morzine is a great place for a family ski holiday, offers slopes suitable for the beginner, experienced skier and boarder. If you are a beginners or with learners the Les Gets ski pass is more than sufficient. The sun shone all week as an added bonus and the smiles and helpful people we met at both the hotel, the ski hire shop and the fabulous New Generation ski school in Morzine made our first family ski holiday a massive success. Why not check them out.
Thank you all!! Au revoir- see you next year!