Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

The last time I hurtled down a snowy mountain on a pair of skis I was a carefree teenager. School ski trips to France and Austria firmly imprinted the thrill of the piste in my adventure DNA. Similarly a snowboard hasn’t graced the feet of Mr S since he left Switzerland nearly 15 years ago. Rusty. That’s the word that springs to mind. Well, it all changed in February!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

We were invited by the Trentino tourist board to experience our first family skiing holiday in the mountain village of Andalo. This would be the first time for Radha and Asha and we were all thrilled for the opportunity to discover the slopes of the Paganella plateau.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Andalo, a village nestled between the peaks of the Brenta Dolomites and the pine forests of Mount Paganella is 1040 m above sea level.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Last time we revelled in the spectacular scenery of the Italian Dolomites we were on a summer hiking holiday. We couldn’t wait to go back and be reacquainted with the once lush green hills now transformed into a winter wonderland.

How to get there

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

The magnificent Dolomites can be reached very easily, with a choice of cities to fly into the northeastern corner of Italy direct with either Easyjet or British Airways. Hire a car from either Verona, Venice or Bologna and begin a 2 – 3 hour journey. Cruise past picturesque, the odd castle, Italian villages at the base of the mountains and onto landscapes slowly turning more snowy and magical as you climb the winding roads. In contrast with the recent chaos we witnessed in the UK, you’ll find Italy is well equipped to handle vast snowfall. All the roads were clear, safe and made for a rather enjoyable ride for these avid roadtrippers.

Andalo

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

We found the charming little mountain village of Andalo at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites perfect place for a family winter break. Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to child-friendly accommodation too.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Hotel Negritella, our home for the trip is a family run hotel for over 25 years. We loved waking up to the magnificent views of the Dolomites from out balcony.

Recently renovated we stayed in a family junior room – cosy yet perfectly adequate for a family of four. The girls’ sleeping quarters a clear winner which included the cutest wooden bunk beds.

It’s an ideal location, only a hop, skip and jump from the gondolas of the Paganella Ski area and all the local facilities. Great to have everything within easy reach when with little ones.

Hitting the slopes

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Getting kitted out was so straightforward. The ski rental shop at the foot of slopes was a few minutes walk from the hotel – Perfect!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

The girls and I had our own ski instructor, the lovely Bor. We immediately took to the nursery slopes, whilst Mr S headed straight to the chairlift with his snowboard instructor. Never to be seen again – Well, until the end of our lesson.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

The Paganella ski area offers 50 km of slopes for both first timers and more experienced ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Our experienced and patient ski instructor had the girls ready to leave the nursery slope after two lessons. All set to tackle a chair lift  and head up the mountain – Eek!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

It was incredible to watch them learn the manoeuvres so quickly and whizz down the mountain. Proud mummy moment right there!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

And all this takes place with a backdrop of the spectacular jagged limestone peaks of the Dolomites. Being surrounded by magnificent views while having fun on the piste is an incredible feeling. Not many places where you can boast skiing on a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Bucket list I’d say!

A question I’ve been asked often is ‘Aren’t you cold, spending all day in the snow?’ In a word, no. As the saying goes ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’. Plus there is nothing like basking in the sun on a snowy mountain. Especially when the scenery is this jaw-dropping.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

More than skiing

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

In Andalo there is no shortage of winter activities to pursue as a family. If your children are not yet ski age the baby snow parks will keep them more than happy. There are a couple to choose from with fun inflatables for entertainment. We spent an afternoon at the Kids Gaggia Park, up at 1,333 metres.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Easily accessible on cable cars the fun park is equipped with treadmills and a dinghy track to slide on the snow. A little hard to decide who was having more fun, as I flung myself down the bumpy snowy track more than once.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

After all the snowy excitement, you can go and relax with a book at the Biblioigloo. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking – A library in an igloo structure. The very first on the Italian slopes.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

If you’re a non-skier there is still lots in Andalo to keep you entertained. The Andalo Life Park is home to a huge modern sports and recreational complex full of fun activities for all ages. It includes a park, tennis courts, football pitch, a horse riding centre and rock climbing facilities.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

You can aslo whizz around the ice skating rink like we did and do your best impression of Torvill and Dean. Or just fall on your bottom a lot and laugh uncontrollably like Asha did.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

For pure relaxation you can indulge at the AcquaIN wellness centre with swimming pools, a gym, a beauty area offering a whole host of treatments, a solarium and sauna. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time on this schedule for pampering, but next time there will be!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

An experience not to miss is the horse-drawn sleigh rides around the woodlands. Listening to the tinkering sleigh bells whilst riding through the silent woods, surrounded by glistening snow, is nothing short of magical.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Food, glorious food

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

One of the best things after an active session on the piste is the sight of a mountain hut – Release your skis, refuel and relax. There is certainly no shortage of gourmet mountain refuges on the Paganella plateau. We sampled a few on our trip.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Chalet Forst serves up classic Trentino cuisine, where I enjoyed a traditional mountain delight of grilled cheese and vegetables with polenta.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Rifugio La Roda offers breathtaking views across the Brenta Dolomites and over to Lake Garda on a clear day. The menu includes classic alpine dishes with an emphasis on local produce, but also fish dishes. Quite a treat at over 2000 metres above sea level!

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Boarding a snowcat certainly takes the award for the most exciting way to travel to dinner. We were zipped up the mountain in the huge piste machine, usually used for grooming the snow, in the darkness as the snow fell to Rifugio La Montanara.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Where we ate our final Trentino supper along with a rather delicious wild berry dessert.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Final thoughts

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

If anyone thinks their kids are too young to enjoy the joys of a snowy mountain holiday. I hope I’ve helped to erase some of your fears. I saw so many prams and baby slings around Andalo, even I was surprised. There really is something for everyone on the slopes whether you’re a skier, snowboarder or neither.

Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

Our experience of skiing in the Paganella ski area was fantastic and most importantly so easy with young ones as Andalo is completely set up for family winter breaks.

Moreover compared to the better known French and Swiss resorts this region offers you fantastic value for money. Plus all the authentic pizza and pasta you can eat. What’s not to like?!

The ski season in Paganella is open until April and if you can’t squeeze it in this year I couldn’t recommend it more for next year – Get planning! More information on Visit Trentino.

sima

Watch my video diary below with the highlights from our trip

Disclaimer: We travelled as guests of the Trentino Tourist Board. All views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie. 

Clothing: the Curious Pixie’s ski wear from Dare 2beThe mini pixies’ ski wear from Muddy Puddles.

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Winter family break in Andalo, Trentino

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17 Comments

  1. 12th March 2018 / 12:56 pm

    What a fantastic family trip!!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      12th March 2018 / 1:10 pm

      It was incredible Binny. Great memories were made on our winter wonderland trip.

  2. 13th March 2018 / 11:50 am

    What a fab trip!! I’m skiing for the first time in less than two weeks now!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      17th March 2018 / 10:47 pm

      We’ve got the ski bug now. Can’t wait to see your stories and pics x

  3. 13th March 2018 / 11:59 am

    Great family winter break. Your photos are stunning.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      17th March 2018 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you Ash. We had a great time.

  4. 13th March 2018 / 7:12 pm

    What a lovely family holiday! It is so pretty being up on the slopes x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      17th March 2018 / 10:48 pm

      Yeah, it was great break Laura. Loved it in the mountains.

  5. 16th March 2018 / 2:52 pm

    It looks like the ideal spot for family skiing. How great that you were able to join your children in the lesson. I’ve skied in the Italian Dolomites but not with my boys – we’ll have to give it a go soon as they’d love to learn to ski. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      17th March 2018 / 10:49 pm

      Brilliant for a family ski holiday and yes you’ll definitely have to take your littles one soon x

  6. 16th March 2018 / 4:10 pm

    The snow, the landscape, the views! What an amazing place to go skiing! I would love to go skiing in Europe, only been in Colorado. And I love tubing! There’s a tubing spot in Winter Park, CO that we love going to and you FLY down!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      17th March 2018 / 10:50 pm

      Oh I would love to go to Colorado! Shall we swap Christine?

  7. 19th March 2018 / 1:46 pm

    That family-run hotel looks right up my street. I’ve only skied once in Austria, but would love to try skiing in Italy! Did it have a good range of beginner slopes?

    https://missportmanteau.com

  8. 19th March 2018 / 7:35 pm

    Ski vacations are the best aren’t they? I know what you mean about returning to the slopes for the first time after so many years – that was us a few years ago – but the nerves all go out the door once you’re up there in the fresh snow and the beauty of the mountains. This area sounds magical and the perfect spot for a family vacation. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  9. Would love to see the Dolomites – look amazing! We haven’t been on a family ski holiday since moving to Europe, but both of our teens have been twice with their classes! We need to prioritize a piste holiday soon and this looks a perfect place. Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      20th March 2018 / 2:02 pm

      Put it high on your list for next year Erin! I loved our first time skiing as a family, I couldn’t think of a better place to have had that experience.

  10. 20th March 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Wow! This is so amazing. I really want to go there. It is such a beautiful place. Thank you so much for sharing your family trip. 🙂

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