After a beautiful weekend you could be forgiven for thinking that summer has not completely left us for yet another year. But alas, now that October has hit, we really need to face facts – winter is on its way. And whilst we don’t relish the thought of soggy jeans, cold blustery days and dark nights, what this does mean is that we’re one step closer to the snow once more. And we reckon that’s a pretty decent silver lining!
Although it might seem like the children have only just gone back to school, if you’re planning a family ski trip this winter you do need to look ahead already to beat the crowds. Our phones are ringing non-stop at the moment so if you want to book your children in for ski lessons this winter get on the case ASAP to avoid disappointment.
A Family Affair
If this is your first ski holiday with the family and you’ve yet to experience the challenges of getting yourself, two children and three sets of skis up to the slopes, on time, without losing a glove, goggles, or your sanity en route then our tips for skiing with children might give you a few pointers:
- If possible, choose a resort that caters for families. Things to look for include a safe and gentle beginner area, crèche facilities and soft play areas for younger children, blue or green runs back to resort, accommodation close to the slopes.
- Long transfer times can be difficult for younger children so check the distance between the resort and the airport.
- When choosing accommodation you might want to consider childcare facilities, children’s meal times and meal options, and proximity to the slopes.
- If you’re booking during school holidays we recommend you book children’s lessons ASAP as these busy times fill up fast.
Before you leave:
- If you want to get them started early, you can get young children started at home on plastic skis. If they practise walking around in them they will get used to having something attached to their feet and will feel less unnatural when they start.
- Buy appropriate clothing. Cold children are generally unhappy children and learning is hampered. Make sure they have a well-fitting helmet, warm and waterproof ski jackets and salopettes, thermal underlayers, a neck warmer, goggles or sunglasses and mittens.
- Pack some snacks that your children like to keep them fuelled on the slopes as these can be pricey in resort.
- If you’ve booked a ski school make sure they have a contact telephone number for you so that they can reach you if your child is ill or needs you for any reason. And make sure this is for a phone you’re taking with you. Trust us – this happens!
- Have a quick look at lift pass options in your chosen resort. Many offer family passes with great discounts and it is often easier to get information about this online in English. Some discounts are only available if bought online so it’s worth checking, your tour operator should be able to advise you on this. Beginners might not require a pass on the first few days. Your ski school should be able to advise you on this.
The night you arrive:
- Lay out all their kit to reduce stress, and the chance of forgetting anything, in the morning.
- Try to ensure your children get to bed at a decent time so they aren’t over tired on the slopes
Before you leave the chalet:
- Make sure they have all their kit with them in the morning and apply high factor suncream to protect them from the sun and the glare from the snow.
- It sounds silly, but make sure they have the correct pair of boots on, and make sure they have each on the right foot. Trust us – this happens too. More than you’d think. And not only with children either…..
- Don’t be tempted to put on two pairs of socks for warmth and this can lead to blisters. One good quality pair is more effective and comfortable.
- Tuck everything in! Gaps between ski pants and jackets or around their necks can quickly cool children down. Then ensure nothing is too tight.
- If your children are in lessons they may well stop for a break so give them a small amount of money for a hot chocolate and pop a snack in their pocket.
- Don’t underestimate how long it will take to get all of you and all your gear to the slopes. Calculate how long it will take and add 10mins – at least!
- Arrive a little early to give you chance to meet the instructor with your child. If you’re rushed and stressed the chances are your children will feel equally on edge which starts the lesson on a bad footing
- Tell the instructor about any allergies or medical conditions of which they need to be aware.
- If you’re not sure, double check with the instructor where they will be dropped off after the lesson and at what time.
- As difficult as it may be, try to leave as quickly as possible once the lesson starts to let the instructor establish the relationship with your child.
- After the lessons ask them how it went, what they enjoyed and try not to put too much pressure on them.
So there you have it. Our list of tips to help the smooth running of your family ski trip. It’s not rocket science and I’m sure you’ve considered most of these things but its amazing how this all goes out the window when your late running flight means lift passes need buying in the morning, your head is a little fuzzy after the first night’s fizz and the children have been bouncing off the walls all night with excitement. Plus, if all goes well that’s ski holidays sealed as a regular occurrence which is great news for you. So, good luck! May the force be with you. And if all fails there’s always the bottomless chalet wine to relax you at the end of a chaotic day.