Planning a ski trip with children
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
Although the thought of going on a skiing holiday with young children can send many into a panic, worry not! By getting a few key elements right, the experience can be a joy, and one to remember for all the right reasons.
A luxury ski chalet holiday with your children can be incredibly rewarding, watching them get to grips with the sport for the first time, and then progressing into accomplished skiers. And for the little ones that are still too young for skiing, there are a wealth of other activities to get stuck into, and the fun of being in the snowy mountains is magical.
Choosing a chalet also makes for a wonderful home from home too. You’ll enjoy the privacy of your own space to spread out, which both adults and children can enjoy together. And, if you are travelling with younger children, there’s no need to worry about leaving them in a room alone, you can be downstairs with your party enjoying an evening aperitif once the kids have gone to bed, safe in the knowledge that they are just a few steps away.
Our knowledgeable and experienced team have skied the pistes across the Alps, tested the various resorts first hand and have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to skiing holidays with young children.
Here are our top tips for planning a ski trip with children:
1. Book early
If you are planning to ski during one of the peak weeks of New Year, February half-term or Easter, the best chalets get booked up very early, so don’t leave it too late. Some of our chalets offer early booking discounts as an incentive, offering great value for money.
Additionally airline ticket prices often increase the later you book so it’s best to get in there as early as possible.
Once your luxury ski holiday is booked, all you need to do is relax and look forward to your next mountain adventure!
2. Get good gloves (and trousers!)
When skiing, children spend much more time with their hands in the snow than adults do. Beginners fall over a lot (especially beginner children). That’s a given. Plus children love to play with the snow. The result is often wet gloves – which means cold hands.
In spring snow conditions, when the snow is quite wet in the afternoons, the gloves get even wetter. Once children have wet gloves and cold hands, they stop enjoying it pretty quickly.
Similarly, they tend to sit in the snow more than adults, and having a wet and cold behind is never pleasant.
So my advice is get good quality, waterproof gloves and trousers. Staying dry is the key to staying warm.
For the top half, think layers. A merino wool under layer is perfect to keep children warm without bulky clothes.
3. Hire equipment, don’t buy
It rarely makes sense to buy skis or boots for children. Hiring is the answer. Ski shops are very flexible. If you’ve got the wrong size or they’re not comfortable, they’re always happy to swap or interchange between equipment such as skis to snowboard.
It also means that you won’t have the costs of transporting gear on the airlines, and it allows you to choose new equipment each year so that you can be sporting the latest gear on the slopes.
4. Consider when to go
The peak New Year, and February half-term weeks are popular for skiing in the Alps, but they are also much busier. If you can travel outside of these dates, you’ll enjoy much quieter slopes and less queuing, meaning you’ll maximise your time on the pistes.
Christmas is also a magical time to take your children to mountains; they’ll simply love the festive atmosphere and what better way to wake on Christmas morning than to a fresh dusting of snow.
If you are going to ski at the beginning or end of the season, choose a resort with a reasonably high altitude, to give you the best chance of some decent snow coverage.
For families one of loveliest parts of the season to ski is spring. Long sunny days give way to warmer temperatures and you won’t have to worry so much about your little ones getting cold, though don’t forget to pack the sun cream and goggles.
5. Book a chalet with a driver service
Walking anywhere or getting ski buses with tired, cold children can be a hard work, so best avoided if possible. But choosing a ski-in/ski-out chalet is not always the answer.
Most ski-in/ski-out chalets equire a degree of skiing ability to ski in or out. They could be on red runs, or runs which get icy at the end of the day, or need a bit of off-piste traversing, all of which will be unsuitable for under-4s or novice skiers.
The best option is to choose a chalet which has a driver service. That way you can be dropped off at the nursery slope with minimal fuss, and better still the driver will be on call to shuttle you back to the chalet or off to lunch afterwards.
6. Choose a resort with a short transfer
Transfer times can very considerably and typically range from around 1 hour to as much as 4 hours. So if you have young children in the group, choose a resort that is not too far from the airport to minimise time in the car. If the children are really young, pick a destination that is closer to the airport, as long transfers are with toddlers can be tough!
Top tip: Bring some entertainment for the ride so that they don’t get bored. Books games and iPads all do the trick!
7. Choose a resort with plenty of non-ski activities
It is possible to start children on the slopes as early as 3 or 4 but realistically young children can only be on skis for a few short hours each day, and when they get tired it’s best to stop, or you’ll put them off skiing for good.
For children of this age it’s not all about the skiing. Kids love the magic of just being in the snow and the mountains, so make time to try some other fun activities like tobogganing, making snowmen, building an igloo or going for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Most resorts also have ice rinks or bowling alleys for indoor fun.
Some French ski resorts have been awarded ”Famillie Plus” “status by the French tourist board to signify their suitability for families. The resorts are assessed on 110 criteria such as infrastructure, activities, amenities, transport etc. and the most suitable resorts for families are awarded the Famille Plus Badge.
8. Book a chalet with a pool or seperate cinema/games room
You won’t have any trouble getting your kids out of the snow when your luxury ski chalet comes with a pool; it’s the perfect place to spend the afternoons with family.
Many of our chalets come with stunning swimming pools and hot tubs, which children will love splashing around in. Equally, once the children have had their early dinner, there’s nothing better than setting them up to watch a movie in the cinema or games room to keep them entertained for a few hours, whilst the adults enjoy a leisurely meal later on.
>> See our top 10 chalets with swimming pools.
9. Check your insurance
Check your travel insurance covers you for ski injuries. Many don’t. Our advice: Get a Carré Neige from the ski lift pass office. This is a good medical insurance policy to cover you for the days you are skiing. Nearly all ski resorts offer this with the lift passes and the local hospitals and doctors will be familiar with it so you can avoid unnecessary paperwork delays should disaster strike.
10. What to take – packing list
It might seem like there are a lot of things to consider when planning your next family ski trip, but with only the finest chalets on our portfolio, every detail has been thought of to make your trip as hassle free as possible. From, sun cream to lip balm, ski rooms stocked with handy snacks, luxury toiletries, cots, high chairs and baby equipment, you don’t need to worry about packing all those little extras.
However there are a few key things you will need to consider and we listed a couple of the essentials below;
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