A family ski trip is a wonderful chance for you and your kids to experience the thrill of first time skiing in the fabulous surroundings of a winter wonderland. But just in case you’re not sure how to go about planning it, here are 5 handy first time skiing tips tips to make your ski holiday a snow filled success.
1) Choose your first ski holiday
You may be tempted to opt for the bigger name resorts that attract all the serious skiers, but remember if you’re looking for a family friendly resort, bigger is not always better. A smaller resort will most likely be more family friendly and may have the added bonus of being considerably cheaper than the more popular resorts. And anyone who has kids also knows that crowds and kids are a bad combination. Make sure you choose a resort that provides
- A good learning area suitable for children
- Kids classes at the resort ski school
- Extra activities that will keep your kids entertained
2) Make a list
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting on the airplane and realising that you’ve left something at home. A forgotten set of gloves, a bottle of medicine, or worse – a favourite toy, can ruin a holiday. If this is your first family ski vacation, then you want it to run as smoothly as possible, so making a list is good common sense.
An even better idea is to pack each family member’s items in a separate case or bag, this way it is much easier to keep track of all the essentials required for Mum, Dad, and the kids. Here is a handy checklist that you can mark off as you pack. Remember to take along any medications you, or your children use regularly as these may be impossible to get hold of once you reach the resort.
3) What to wear skiing first time
Whether you are purchasing your boots at home to take with you or you are renting them from the resort, getting the right fit can make or break your ski holiday. Choosing ski boots is not the same as buying a pair of trainers that your kids will “grow into”. When you think about how many hours per day you hope to be out on the snow, then you should get a good idea of how important comfortable ski boots are to your child. Any good store or rental shop should be able to help you make the right choice but here’s a nice video from On The Snow showing just how boots should fit.
The same is true of gloves and clothing, and of course helmets, an ill fitting helmet is not only uncomfortable, but also a danger to your child’s safety so expert advice at the resort is a must.
4) Rent a car for the transfer to the resort
The transfer times listed by tour operators and ski reps can be quite misleading. Your resort might only be an hour’s drive from, say, the closest airport to Tignes ski resort, but travel agents will often forget to tell you that this does not include time spent on the coach at the airport waiting for stragglers to find their gear and luggage. If you also factor in a couple of stops to drop off other skiers at resorts along the way, then you could be in for a few hours of “are we there yet?”.
The best way to get around this is to rent your own car and drive yourself to the resort. It’s much more comfortable and less stressful on the kids as you can move at your own pace and keep a more watchful eye on the little ones.
5) Arrange lessons
If you want to get the most out of your trip, then you should really aim to spend at least a few days of your trip getting to know the basics before enjoying a family day on the slopes together. Even if you are an experienced skier, allowing a professional to teach your kids their first lessons will pay off in the long run. As with any ski school lessons, patience is key and, while it’s not impossible, you shouldn’t expect your kids to have mastered the basics within the first few days.
With some good planning and a small slice of luck, you and your kids will enjoy your first family ski trip together and who knows, you could be planning a return trip before you’ve even left the slopes.