15 tips to help survive your family ski holiday

skiers family - Getty

skiers family – Getty

A family ski holiday can be a real test of any parent’s character, a challenge of chair-lift streaks, lost clothes and nothing to pay for.

However, when you do get it right the benefits are unparalleled. “If you are looking for the answer to the dilemma about what is the best holiday for the whole family, it is skiing,” says Ski Sunday presenter Chemmy Alcott. “In the mountains, I – a former Winter Olympian – can taste the same piste as my two-year-old son, with his grandparents following in his footsteps. , in my opinion, the most magical way for all generations to make memories together.

“The synergy of this kind of vacation has to be earned, though: it’s no secret that family ski trips can come with a lot of pampering. Let’s be honest, a ski vacation with kids will blow you away,” admits Alcott.

As the school half-term holidays approach, frazzled parents will be frantically packing for the slopes, wondering if they’re fit enough to put on ski boots again and how they might break the bank. But it doesn’t have to be all chaos, with a little planning and patience a family ski holiday can be worthwhile.

Here are 15 top tips to help you survive your next family trip to the slopes.

Before you go

1. Accept the cost

Begin by repeating the mantra, “It’s worth it, it’s worth it.” A family ski trip comes at a big price, especially if it’s taken during the school holidays. But, there are ways to ease the financial pain a little – for example, buying snacks for the slopes in the UK and, if you’re driving to self-catering accommodation, buying most of your supplies in supermarkets on the rather than in holiday shops which are much pricier. . You can further reduce holiday costs by eating a substantial breakfast, not skipping lunch and limiting your après time in local bars. But whatever savings you make, it will never be free. Take a deep breath, accept it, and focus not on the cost but on the value of the experience you will be giving your children. No price. Find more savings hacks on the slopes in our dedicated guide.

2. Get everyone fit and physically prepared

A hard day on the slopes can be enough to leave anyone starving. Avoid the exhaustion blues by making sure you and your children are physically prepared. It’s the perfect excuse to swap TV and computer screens for the football field, the gym, the pool, anywhere, as long as everyone is active before the trip.

3. Do not interfere with the equipment

One of the keys to happiness on the slopes is to ensure that your little ones are equipped with good quality clothing, including a jacket, salopettes, socks and gloves to keep them as warm as the proverbial bug in the rug. If you don’t want to splash the cash on items that your kids will outgrow, consider borrowing from friends or hiring from the likes of EcoSki or WhoSki. If a new purchase is on the agenda, then major specialist brands produce mini-me suits with adult quality that are still stylish enough to please even the most youthful of fashionistas and last several winters.

4. Pack, pack and pack again

Allow plenty of time for packing – don’t do it the evening before you leave. Make a list and tick off each item, then check and check again. There is no reason for older children not to do this themselves. There are few things more annoying than arriving at your destination without an essential item like a pair of goggles – buying replacements can be expensive.

5. Choose childcare

Consider how much childcare you will need during your holiday and book well in advance, as services can be in high demand. Do you want to spend mornings or evenings with your children, or do you want to maximize your downtime and opt for all-day childcare? Whatever you choose, it’s money well spent for the delicious sense of freedom you get from driving down the slopes without a care in the world or a baby in tow. Many resorts have their own decent nursery facilities, but going with a specialist operator such as The Family Ski Company or Esprit Ski means that there will be qualified British childcare staff to look after your pride and joy.

6. Book rental gear, passes and lessons in advance

It pays to do anything to reduce the hassle factor when you arrive at the resort. If you don’t have your own skis or snowboard as well as boots, not only will renting the equipment in advance save on your arrival – it also means you’ll be able to reserve and exchange the type of equipment you need during your visit. Booking in advance can save you as much as 50 per cent, especially if you book direct with a holiday shop such as Intersport or Sciset. Most tour operators help with equipment rental, lessons and lift passes in advance, and will deliver passes to wherever you are staying.

7. Try it

To avoid downhill streaks, acclimate toddlers to sunglasses, or ski goggles, before they go – both are vital to protecting their eyes in a winter mountain environment. Try mittens, gloves and helmets too for good measure, to avoid any nasty surprises.

8. Book a connecting room

It is a holiday after all and sharing a room with your children, especially babies or toddlers, is likely to affect everyone’s sleep. If it’s your only option, take a torch so you can make your way around at night and avoid waking them up. And bring ear plugs.

9. Hit the slopes before going on holiday

Rather than wasting valuable time on holiday learning the basics and getting used to the equipment, book a few lessons before you hit one of the UK’s outdoor dry slopes or indoor snow slopes such as The Snow Center in Hemel Hempstead, SnowDome in Tamworth or Kill. Factor in Manchester. It is equally useful for more experienced children – and their parents – to have a few lessons to refresh their skills and renew the muscles that other forms of exercise do not reach.

On the trip

10. Travel smart

Traveling to and from your destination with a toddler can be one of the most challenging aspects of a winter holiday, especially when it often involves long coach transfers on knotty mountain roads. To avoid possible in-flight screaming fits, take a dummy or drink for landing and take-off – a few sips or noises from the ear due to changes in cabin pressure will help. It’s also worth considering getting them a backpack with a leash or straps to stop your little adventurer from wandering off, which is especially useful in airports. Or consider Trunki, the children’s travel bag on wheels that they can sit on. It’s small enough to take on a plane as hand luggage and they’ll enjoy hours of fun lugging it around – especially useful during layovers.

Don’t forget to bring your favorite teddy bear or spare blanket as well, because hell hath no fury like a toddler without affection right now. Snacking can also be a life saver – especially if you’re stuck on long holiday transfers.

11. Keep them entertained

Help pass the time when traveling with toddlers and younger children by taking as many books and games as you can. A big winner with children of all ages is probably a tablet or portable games console loaded with a selection of their favorite games and movies. This is particularly good for evening entertainment in the holiday too.

In the selection

12. Get into a routine

It’s hard enough to remember everything you need to get yourself on the slopes. Add the kids into the mix and the challenge increases exponentially. Therefore, you need a strict routine to ensure that nothing is left behind. Securely attach lift passes to jackets, or zip them securely into pockets, and create a checklist of essential items to collect in the morning – goggles, helmet, gloves – and designate where all equipment is stored. Zip money for snacks during lessons into children’s pockets as well as tissues – make sure it’s a different pocket from the passport to reduce the chance of the snack falling out.

13. Never teach your children

If you’re not qualified as an instructor, you really don’t have the skills and you’ll end up teaching them bad habits. Plus, of course, your kids hate listening to you anyway. Much better to let a professional give the tips, freeing you up to enjoy leisure time on the slopes. If you ski together as a family, snacks on a lift can help avoid tired streaks – have a stash of snacks (that won’t freeze) on standby.

14. Taking lessons

Every member of your family will benefit from lessons, regardless of their level. Depending on ability, learn together or separately, for at least a few mornings during the week. You’ll improve your technique, meet other people and tackle the elevated queues – especially handy during high season. Book lessons in advance to secure a space through your operator, local ski school, tourist board website or booking platform such as SkiBro or Maison Sports.

15. Don’t worry, be happy

A family ski and snowboard vacation is one of the most rewarding, fun and memorable ways to spend time together. Let the stresses and strains of everyday life melt away as you share the mountains you love with the people you love.

Do you have any other tips for a successful family trip to the slopes? Join the conversation in the comments section below

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