Posted on 28 August 2013
Access to a quality ski school is often overlooked by many owners of property in the French Alps, and without this owners could be missing out personally but also reducing the rental appeal of their ski home.
France’s best-known association of ski instructors and schools is Ecole du Ski Francais, usually referred to as ESF and with a presence in most large resorts. Today, the Ecole du Ski Français is the largest ski school in the world, with 2,000,000 pupils taking 800,000 tests every year. It has 17,000 instructors in 250 offices.
An important part of ESF’s offering is its focus on children, in fact 70 per cent of ESF students are under the age of 14. ESF’s kindergarten schools are very popular with youngsters and it has a dedicated scheme for children called Club Piou-Piou. Piou-Piou clubs can be found in a total of 195 resorts in the French Alps, run by 1,500 qualified instructors, most being English speakers, in specially fenced off, secure areas of the nursery slopes.
Here’s what one English father from Sussex had to say after his 3-year-old daughter had her first week at a Piou-Piou Club in Les Carroz: “Despite Maddy being the only English girl, she was welcomed into the group and looked after by her instructors, who spoke some English but weren’t fluent. We dropped her at the club at around 9 in the morning and picked her up at midday – we had to provide boots and skis, they also had to wear helmets but snacks were included for them. Everything was well organised and safe. By the end of the week Maddy could stand up in skis and ski down a gentle slope. She received a little certificate, which she was proud of!”