When you first think about taking your children skiing, it can seem like the best idea in the world. Miles and miles of beautiful snow for them to play in. Cosy chalets where you can all relax on an evening. Often so many things to see and do that it’s likely to be just as action packed as a trip to Disney World.
And although this can without doubt be the case, as anyone who has ever taken kids – particularly young kids – skiing will know, you can come across a few hurdles along the way.
The good news is all of these hurdles can easily be overcome. It just takes a little forethought and planning to ensure your group skiing holiday with children is as enjoyable for everyone as it can possibly be.
Safety should come before everything else
It might be an obvious one, but it’s a point that’s worth reiterating again and again – in every sense, you need to be confident that your children are safe at all times, as only this way can you begin to relax and enjoy your holiday.
This isn’t just about safety in terms of the rules of the pistes, but even basic things such as having the right clothing and equipment. A helmet is an absolute must for children, but you can’t forget about suitable clothing either – your older children will be able to tell you when they’re particularly cold or uncomfortable, but your younger children are unlikely to tell you either way, so you need to be certain the clothing they’re wearing is perfect for them.
Remember that kids like to wander
As soon as your kids start to walk, they’ll start to wander. This might not be too much of an issue when you’re in your chalet, but when you’re out on the snow, you need to be certain that you keep an eye on them at all times.
Skiers of all abilities are constantly coming down the runs and although they might be slowing down towards the end, if someone walks in front of them and they can’t move in time, they’re both going to end up with a few bruises.
Make sure they don’t worry when trying something new
Some kids are more confident and outgoing than others. Some love to go to after school clubs and mingle with others of the same age without their parents around, while others like to be their parent’s shadow when doing new things.
Everyone can have a great time skiing, but it’s always recommended that you take lessons to get the basics down, whether you’re six or 60. There are numerous instructors and ski schools in most resorts and although you should push your little ones towards spending some time learning with others, it’s important you don’t force it, especially if you’re planning on leaving them for a little while.
Your family skiing holiday should be enjoyable for everyone and although ski lessons are strongly advised (and the ski schools are very often fantastic for young children), you need to consider how much fun your children are going to have if you leave them when they don’t want to be left.
Don’t forget that children get tired quickly
We love skiing and consider it to be one of our favourite hobbies (if not the favourite!). We try to ski as much as we possibly can and although we like to keep fit, it can still be exhausting – every pro will agree that skiing for several hours everyday can be tiring!
Your children are likely to love the feeling of skiing on the snow, but you have to remember that chances are they’re going to get tired before you do. It’s therefore strongly advised to not only have regular breaks, but to take lots of snacks out with you.
It might seem like an unnecessary break to your day if you’re used to skiing without children, but it’s vital to ensure their safety – if they’re tired, they’re going to stop focusing and when they do, there’s more risk of an accident happening.
Always consider the après-ski
Choosing the right resort for your group skiing holiday is crucial to ensuring it’s as enjoyable as it can be for everyone. When it comes to the après-ski, most of the well-known resorts in Europe cater for everyone’s needs, but it’s still advisable to do your research beforehand to be certain that when you come off the pistes, there’s lots to do with your younger ones.
For example, although we love St Anton in Austria, we don’t consider it the best family resort. People of course visit with families, but because the après-ski is particularly lively, it can be too much for those with younger children who are looking for something a little more relaxed and quiet on an evening.
France’s Alpe d’Huez, however, is one of the best family friendly skiing resorts in the world. Widely regarded as a resort that’s great for both skiers and non-skiers alike, it’s got everything from leisure centres and much-praised childcare facilities through to a variety of great restaurants and après-ski activities suitable for every family’s needs (how does a trip to the cinema, skating rink, museum or indoor swimming pool sound?)
The fantastic thing about skiing is it’s something that absolutely everyone can enjoy. It doesn’t matter what age those on your group skiing holiday are, as long as you pick the right resort to ensure your little ones are entertained and you take the time to be certain they are always safe, you can be confident you’ll have the best skiing holiday you can.