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The most effective snow holidays for non skiers

The sound of impatient barking fills the air, the huskies flinging themselves bodily ahead of their eagerness to be off. Then silence, solely the comfortable sound of paws crunching on snow because the brakes are launched and we velocity by Lapland’s winter panorama.

Huskies running in a team over a snowy landscape under blue sky - one of the activities to try on the best snow holidays for non skiers
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I’ll always remember the canines’ sheer pleasure at having the ability to run and run by the snowy paths among the many timber, the infectious enthusiasm which introduced a smile to my very own face and set my coronary heart racing. Years on, it’s nonetheless one in all my favorite journey reminiscences.

For somebody usually defaults to seaside over mountains, it’s typically winter actions like this which tempt me greater than making it off the nursery slope – so should you’re much less tempted by the pistes, right here’s why snow holidays for non skiers are nonetheless a terrific thought.

As a result of who doesn’t just like the sound of having fun with powdery snow below clear blue skies, then having a luxuriously cosy place to twist up within the night or among the well-known après-ski (or instead-of-ski in my case).

For those who’re in search of the most effective winter snow holidays for non-skiers with children, you’ll be able to’t beat a Santa break in Lapland – try my important packing listing for Lapland in addition to my suggestions for visiting Lapland with children

A number of the large ski vacation corporations have woken as much as the concept folks need options to snowboarding, particularly households the place not everybody would possibly take pleasure in or be capable of take to the slopes, so household snow holidays with out snowboarding are ever simpler to search out.

Pale blue mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, cream, chocolate beans and dusted with chocolate, another mug seen behind, spoons, beans and cinammon sticks on a wooden table

And with self-catering flats (and catered chalets) in addition to lodges, there’s numerous flexibility if you wish to curl up with a scorching chocolate and a e book for a number of hours.

However nevertheless you select to e book, you’ll discover increasingly locations to check out some enjoyable snowy actions for non-skiers, together with among the hottest French mountain resorts.

I’ve centered on winter actions which may be discovered throughout Europe, together with Scandinavia in addition to the Alps and different ski locations, for this publish – should you’re heading to Scandinavia, there’s the prospect to see the Northern Lights too although.

Canine sledding

Husky sledding is big enjoyable, particularly with children – the canines’ pleasure is infectious as they bark to be allowed to run and run and run.

And whooshing easily over the snow, stretching white to the timber and the horizon is unforgettable – particularly because it’s normally virtually silent as soon as the huskies do get going.

Team of huskies pulling a sled in the snow in Alpe d'Huez with the sun shining in a clear blue sky - one of the other fun winter activities to try on a first time family ski trip

We tried this in Alpe d’Huez – you’ll be able to take the lifts over from neighbouring areas should you’re not staying in Alpe d’Huez itself, or choose up your sled experience from the underside of the pistes.

In Avoriaz you’ll be able to even be taught to drive your individual staff of canines – mushing is tougher work so there are additionally extra conventional canine sledding choices too.

For those who’re visiting Switzerland or Austria, you’ll discover husky sledding in the principle winter resorts, and unsurprisingly, you’ll discover loads of alternatives to do that in Lapland as effectively – we additionally took a brief husky sled experience in Levi and you may typically.

These are sometimes mixed with a go to to a Sami or Inuit camp, the place you’ll be able to be taught extra in regards to the tradition, generally even discover an igloo earlier than ending up with a glass of one thing warming. Mulled wine is one a part of the ski expertise that I do have observe at.

Reindeer sleigh rides & horse-drawn sleighs

One other unmissable a part of a Santa vacation with children, you’ll be spoiled for selection of reindeer sleigh rides in Lapland.

View of a reindeer pulling our sleigh with the pinky gold clouds of sunset beyond the snowy trees on one of our Lapland tours - another fun activity on a snowy holiday for non-skiers

And whereas reindeer aren’t as widespread within the Alps, there are many horse-drawn options that are nonetheless simply as magical.

Peisey Vallandry in Savoie typically has each, in case your children have their coronary heart set on a visit with Rudolph, whereas Les 2 Alpes and Meribel in France each have the horse-drawn possibility, in addition to a string of comparable sleigh rides in Austria.


Going snowmobiling in Lapland is one other of my favorite reminiscences from journeys to Finland – having the ability to cruise by this white panorama is at all times enjoyable, nevertheless it additionally allows you to enterprise additional afield than should you have been on foot or skis.

An excited boy on an electric snowmobile in a snowy mountain landscape - trying this, or snowmoto, like a small powdered snowmobile crossed with a sledge, is one of many fun activities to try on the best snow holidays for non skiers

Understandably, youthful children can’t get behind the wheel of a typical snowmobile – though for our snowmobile tour in Levi, our information pulled the children behind their snowmobile in a separate little pod.

However they’ll strive snowmoto or electrical snomobiling that’s appropriate for youngsters aged 5-10 – you’ll discover it in French ski resorts like Tignes in addition to Val d’Isere, generally known as Skidoo or Moonbiking as effectively.

Try some extra family-friendly snowmobile excursions right here

Tobogganing (sledging)

It’s one other traditional winter exercise – all you want is a slope, some snow and even a reasonably fundamental sledge or toboggan to have enjoyable.

Girl smiles as she lies on a toboggan sliding down a snowy slope - sledging is one of the activities to try on the best snow holidays for non skiers

Once we have been in Lapland, you may choose them up comparatively cheaply (they usually come in useful to tow youthful children alongside if their legs get bored with strolling by the snow).

It goes with out saying to decide on one you’ll be able to management and to select a slope the place you gained’t be zooming throughout the piste – some ski resorts have their very own toboggan areas, similar to those in Les Arcs, whereas Cosmojet in Val Thorens is the most important toboggan run in France and take 45 minutes to descend the 6km route (appropriate for youths aged 5+ accompanied by an grownup).

Or as soon as my daughter turns six, Les Arcs ought to be on our radar for an additional purpose, with new era Airboard sledges to whizz alongside the slopes – slightly like bodyboarding on an air mattress on the snow!

And in Valloire, the entire household can sledge down collectively on a “snake gliss” – the triangular toboggans hook up to one another, to kind the snake sledge.

Fats biking (and e-fat biking)

Biking within the snow doesn’t sound a lot enjoyable – till you discover out about fatbikes. With their specifically designed fats tires, you’ll be able to bike over the powder for a enjoyable journey past the ski resort.

Person cycling on a fat bike over the icy snow with a blue sky behind them - fatbiking is a great way to explore on a snowy holiday for non-skiers

Not an possibility for toddlers, however you could find little one fatbikes for youthful ones to affix in within the Alps in addition to e-fatbiking (electrical snowbikes, successfully) for adults and older teenagers.

It takes a short time to get the grasp of it, so it’s not one thing for youths to strive if they’ll’t experience an extraordinary bike. Though should you can, it’s undoubtedly not as laborious as studying to cycle over again – plus snowy mountain holidays additionally imply loads of padding due to thermal ski gear should you do fall off!

Throw snowballs

Are you ever too previous for a snowball struggle? All the time the spotlight of a household vacation within the mountains for my daughter, some areas even have particular snowball struggle arenas.

A woman turns as a snowball is thrown towards her - one of the fun activities to try on the best snow holidays for non skiers

Right here, fairly than simply grabbing a handful of snow, you’re divided into groups and have obstacles to keep away from as you pelt one another.

I’ve been on the receiving finish of my daughter’s snowballs so I’m undoubtedly staying on her staff – her purpose won’t at all times be correct, however she doesn’t maintain again!

Alternatively, you’ll be able to typically discover snowball makers to pack the powdery snow into good spheres earlier than pelting your loved ones.

Extra snow actions for non-skiers

It’s value maintaining a watch out for extra quirky actions to strive, with completely different areas and ski resorts including extra new and weird issues to do on winter holidays.

In Meribel, children aged 7-12 can head off on an night journey on snowshoes, in search of tracks left within the snow by animals and even the way to construct an igloo.

Girl in bright pink coat and goggles in a snowy landscape in Lapland, Finland, on snowshoes - one of the many fun activities to try on a winter family snow holiday for non skiers

You’ll be able to all pull on snowshoes and set off to discover too – Switzerland has a string of trails to deal with together with these household pleasant choices round Zermatt, or Les Menuires in France has guided hikes for age 6+.

Or you’ll be able to strive your hand at laser rifle capturing as a part of biathlon (sure, the one you see within the winter Olympics) in resorts like La Rosiere for age 7+ in addition to extra choices for youths in Alpe d’Huez – even toddlers can have a go.

For one thing extra enjoyable, archery tag makes use of foam tipped arrows – designed for teams, the purpose is to not get hit by the arrows however to see what number of targets you’ll be able to hit. La Plagne, Megeve and Savoie Mont-Blanc are only a few of the locations within the French Alps providing this.

Personally, after that, my sights are firmly set on discovering a sauna.

For those who do wish to ski as effectively, or at the least slot in a few classes on your loved ones winter snow holidays, try my suggestions for a primary household ski journey in addition to concepts for household ski holidays with childcare

*First revealed 2018, final up to date 2023*


The best snow holidays for non skiers - from husky sledding to fatbiking in the French Alps, as well as airboarding sledges, snowmobiling, biathlon and snowball fights on family snow holidays

Disclosure: This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee. All opinions about the most effective issues to do on snow holidays for non skiers are my very own

Huskies in Alpe d’Huez/Reindeer picture copyright MummyTravels, all different pictures courtesy of Depositphotos/Shutterstock


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