Skiing and snowboarding holidays with children require a whole new mindset, but this small traffic-free resort in the shadow of Alpe d’Huez makes things easy
• Best small ski resorts you’ve never heard of
Before I had kids, my dream winter break was all about mixing great snowboarding with a good après scene involving live music and big jugs of beer, while a powder-tastic snow movie played in the background. Post-children, I still want the snowboarding to be amazing – I actually crave that more than ever – but the need for a good ski school with friendly staff has replaced any desire for late-night après. And for everything to be nearby, as lugging kids and kit around together is the least fun thing you can do on a snow holiday.
Oz-en-Oisans in the French Alps scores highly on both counts. It’s a small, pretty, traffic-free resort with a fir tree backdrop wherever you look. It was purpose-built in 1989 but doesn’t look it, as most of the buildings are made of wood and stone. The ESF ski school in the village is excellent and the staff kind and caring. You’d think that would be a given, but you’d be surprised at how many parents have bad ESF experiences, especially in the bigger resorts, myself included. Here, the instructors remembered my two children’s names, greeted them nicely every day and genuinely seemed to take pleasure in their progression. In turn, the kids were keen to go to ski school, rather than having to be dragged there, as I’ve sometimes found to be the case.