We’ve rounded up the best family ski holidays around the world — all reached within a single flight from Singapore
Now that everyone’s back to school following summer, we’re naturally thinking ahead to winter holidays in December and January! Won’t you join us in a daydream escape from the Singapore heat as we round up the best family ski holiday destinations around the globe?
We’ve included key info like travel time from Singapore (everything listed can be reached with a single non-stop flight…and maybe a little driving) and also share some of our top picks for family-friendly ski (and snowboard!) resorts. For a deeper dive into the particulars of resorts and snow conditions, we recommend checking out the ski site Powderhounds. Schuss, schuss mamas!
Click through our gallery for our top ski and snowboard picks around the globe!
Not sure when you’ll be off? Check out our handy school holidays chart to compare vacation dates for every school in Singapore!
Lead image via Getty
Flight time from Singapore: 7-hour flight to Tokyo + 2-3 hour train/bus journey
Main ski season: December to March (though some mountains stay open til May!)
With some of the highest annual snowfall in Japan (and an annual base of snow exceeding ten meters, plus a seemingly unending flow of that sweet sweet #JaPow), Hakuba (which was the ski site of the 1998 Nagano Olympics) almost guarantees great skiing conditions (we’ve heard it’s less windy than Niseko, too). There are nine different ski resorts spread out across the valley; while ski-in/ski-out accommodation is available, we enjoyed picking and choosing at three different mountains during our five-day visit. And don’t worry about a language barrier; just about everyone we encountered working at the ski mountains seemed to be Australian or Kiwi.
Ski schools: Hakuba Snow Sports School came highly recommended to us and we thought it was fantastic for private lessons. Evergreen Ski School at Happo One offers both group lessons for kiddos 3 and up, and on-site, drop-off daycare for little ones.
Stuff for non-skiers: The region is famous for its adorable snow monkeys, and also offers up hot springs aplenty. And like everywhere in Japan, there is plenty of delicious food, from sushi to ramen. And we totally recommend combining the trip with a few days in amazing Tokyo!
Read more: Our Editor’s Family Trip to Hakuba with a Toddler
Flight time from Singapore: 7.5 hours non-stop to Sapporo-New Chitose + 2 hours by car
Main ski season: November to May
Perhaps Japan’s most famous ski destination (and one of the top-rated ski destinations in the world, for that matter), Niseko is just a little bit further away (though Scoot recently started offering non-stop flights during ski season, woohoo!) as it’s located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. Niseko is just the most famous of a number of renowned ski areas on the island, including Rusutsu, Furano, Tomamu and Sahoro. Those last two are both home to super popular Club Med Resorts (click here to read one mama’s review of her fam’s fab holiday to Club Med Sahoro!). In terms of lodging, there tends to be a resort located at each major ski mountain, but there are plenty of private villa options as well. We also love that jet lag is basically a non-factor!
Ski schools : Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS); Niseko Village Snow School; Niseko Annupuri Ski & Snowboard School; both Club Meds at Tomamu and Sahoro. We also hear great things about Niseko Kids Club for little non-skiers!
Stuff for non-skiers: Hokkaido is famous for its milk (and in turn its ultra-creamy ice cream). It’s also where one of the most famous versions of ramen was invented. Throw in the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Asahiyama Zoo (Japan’s #1 rated zoo), and you’ve got a full family holiday sorted!
Read more: Five family-friendly stays in and around Niseko
Image courtesy of Club Med Niseko
Flight time from Singapore: 9-10 hours (to Auckland or Christchurch) + 1-2 hour flight to Queenstown and drive (depending on destination)
Main ski season: June to October (gotta love the Southern Hemisphere!)
The perfect destination during Singapore’s long summer holidays, New Zealand offers up some of the most stunning scenery on Earth even if you’re just riding in a campervan, so imagine what it’s like from the top of a mountain! Most of the country’s best skiing is on the South Island; your best bet is to fly non-stop to Christchurch from Singapore. Mount Hutt and Craigieburn are each about a 90-minute drive away from there (with plenty of fabulous wineries in the vicinity as well!). Alternatively, you can drive or fly domestically to Queenstown, a super fun party town which is within an hour or two of top resorts like Cardrona and The Remarkables (both considered great for families), along with Coronet Peak, Treble Cone (New Zealand’s largest ski mountain), and heli-skiing for the truly hardcore on Mt. Cook/Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak.
Stuff for non-skiers: Where to begin?! There’s wine, wildlife, all manner of other adventure sports (Bungee jumping, anyone?), and culture aplenty on both the North and South Islands.
Image courtesy of 100% Pure New Zealand via Facebook
Flight time from Singapore: 12.5 hours to Milan, Italy + 3-4 hours by car or train
Main ski season: Late November to April
In France you’ll find skiing at Chamonix amidst Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc. A bit south in the Alps are legendary mega resorts Tignes and the posh Val d’Isere. Also nearby are Les Trois Vallées, which comprise the world’s largest ski area – over 600km of skim runs in total – when taking into account resorts including Val Thorens, Méribel, and the uber-chic Courchevel (where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took their kids on their first skiing holiday!). There are lots of accommodation options, from apartments, to little village hotels, to luxe ski-in/ski-out villas.
Stuff for non-skiers: You’ll find plenty of chic, upscale restaurants and shopping – this is France, after all! Christmas gets uber crowded, but it’s also lots of fun.
Read more: Luxury French ski holidays for families – nannies included!
Image courtesy of Scott Dunn Travel via Facebook
Flight time from Singapore: 12 to 13 hours (to Milan or Zurich) + 2-3 hours by car or train
Main ski season: November to April
When we think of Switzerland, we immediately think of snow-capped mountains, cuddly St. Bernards carrying schnapps, and rib-warming fondue. It’s everything that’s charming about winter! Switzerland is also home to over 100 ski resorts. Closer to Zurich you’ll find Andermatt-Sedrun, the largest ski resort in Central Switzerland. A bit closer to Milan is Verbier, Europe’s biggest interconnected ski resort; ritzy St. Moritz; and charming Zermatt, situated at the foot of the famous Matterhorn.
Stuff for non-skiers: We hear the village of Zermatt is straight out of a storybook, with cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages. Switzerland’s ski resorts, while famously clean, safe, and efficient, are a bit less flashy than in France, with less of a reputation for partying than in Austria or Italy. In other words, they’re perfect for families. And again, there’s the fondue…
Image courtesy of Zermatt Matterhorn via Facebook
Flight time from Singapore: 12 to 13 hours (to Munich or Zurich) + 2-3 hours by car or train
Main ski season: November to April (but available all year round!)
According to Powderhounds, Austria has some of the snowiest ski resorts in Europe, along with one of the only year-round spots for skiing at Hintertux Glacier. The country offers resorts large and small across a number of key regions: Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria and Carinthia. Most of Austria’s best known ski areas – including Innsbruck, St. Anton, and Kitzbuhel – are all located in Tyrol. Oberperfuss – Rangger Köpfl near Innsbruck has a great reputation for families, while Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn (say that five times fast!) has been rated the #1 ski resort in Europe.
Stuff for non-skiers: Salzburg is one of the loveliest mid-size cities in Europe, and between it being Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for The Sound of Music, it really doesn’t get much more cultural. Throw in fabulous winter markets in the lead-up to Christmas, not to mention delicious Bavarian food like pretzels and sausage (oh, and did we mention beer?), and we think you’ll have yourself a pretty nice holiday.
Image courtesy of Ski Amade via Facebook
Flight time from Singapore: 15 hours to San Francisco + 3 hours by car
Main ski season: November to April
You may be in the mountains close to the Nevada border, and yet you still get that California feel here with lots of sunshine and impossibly blue skies set off against glittering Lake Tahoe. There are lots of resorts to choose from, with varying vibes and atmosphere depending on where you find yourself along the lake — from casinos, to old west towns, to upscale retirement communities. Some of the most popular ski resorts include Kirkwood (third-highest snowfall of any American ski resort), Heavenly (the fifth largest ski area in North America, with absolutely stunning views that live up to its name), Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows (host of the 1960 Winter Olympics) and Northstar (an upscale family wonderland, with everything from a skating rink at the base to celebrity chef restaurants).
Stuff for non-skiers: Nearby Reno, Nevada is a trip in every sense of the word (though maybe not the kid-friendliest place). This being Northern California, you will find yoga and spas aplenty (not to mention fabulous wine for soooo cheap!). If nothing else you can just go online shopping at Amazon and Target and have everything sent to your lodging!
Image courtesy of Heavenly Lake Tahoe Facebook
Flight time from Singapore: 14.5 hours to Seattle + 1-hour flight to Vancouver + 2.5 hours by car
Main ski season: November to April
Ok so technically Whistler can’t be reached with a single flight from Singapore, but given that Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, we’d be remiss if we left it out. In addition to its fabulous skiing (over 200 trails, a huge vertical drop) the area is wonderfully family friendly, with a pedestrian-only village full of shops, restaurants, and bars, and all manner of other outdoor activities.
Stuff for non-skiers: Whistler is a total blast for kids, even those not interested in skiing, with zip-lining, ice skating, dog sledding and sleigh rides. The area also offers an art museum and cultural centre, and if you want to try something just a little bit different, there’s also axe throwing.
See www.whistler.com for more info!
Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler via Facebook