Skiing with children and the thought of planning a family ski holiday can bring many parents out in a cold sweat. Cue images of temper tantrums, long transfers and lost gloves. But it needn’t be that way. Taking children skiing can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences. You just need to plan ahead and ensure that you pick a family friendly break, that all the family can enjoy.
Skiing with children starts with choosing a family friendly ski resort
First off you need to consider the resort to choose. This is the most important choice, and one that will make or break your holiday! Important things to consider when choosing the best resort to ski with your family:
- How long is the transfer time from the airport? The shorter the better to avoid over tired tots and frazzled parents.
- What level of skiers does the resort cater for? Are there sufficient beginner slopes if your children are starting out? Ideally with a magic carpet or at least an area away from heavy traffic with skiers returning to resort.
- What ski schools operate in the resort? Ensuring they have the best first experience on skis is crucial to the future of your family ski holidays.
- If required, are there creche or childcare options that suit your needs?
- Are there many après ski activities which are family friendly? Sledging, carousels, soft play areas, bowling, swimming and ice skating options are available in many resorts, but it’s worth checking before you book.
Choosing the best time for a family ski holiday
The second most important decision to decide early on is when to ski. With children you will most probably be restricted to the key holiday weeks. Half term is the obvious choice for many with the best chance of good snow. But the price generally reflects this and it’s often one of the busiest weeks of the year on the slopes. Likewise New Year can be pricey and busy as holidaymakers come out in force. This leaves Christmas and Easter as two of the best options.
If you’ve never spent Christmas in resort then you’re missing out! The lights and decorations give an instant festive feel and most of the chalets and hotels will inject some Christmas magic, without you being stuck in the kitchen all day. So you can enjoy the week with the family without the stress which often accompanies this time of year. And despite the poor press, snow conditions are generally good by Christmas week and the prices are much lower so you can grab yourself a bargain.
Last but not least is Easter. Think long days and sunshine and it’s easy to see the appeal. Yes, leaving it a little later can bring some risk to the snow conditions but the price reflects this risk and you have the added bonus of warm temperatures, great for little children who get cold quickly.
Choosing the best ski school is vital when skiing with children
To ensure their first time is not their last it is important to think ahead with regards to ski school options. Especially during peak weeks when things book up fast. Aside from booking your holiday, this should be one of the first things you arrange to ensure availability and avoid disappointment. When choosing the ski school to entrust with this all important first experience it’s worth considering the following:
- How big are their group sizes? Large groups will limit their learning and also possibly their enjoyment so aim for groups with a maximum of 8 children.
- Are their lessons taught in English? Unless your children are proficient in a second language it’s worth checking that their instructors speak fluent English and that the lessons are taught in English to ensure your child can understand the instructions and can socialise the others in the class.
- Are their instructors fully qualified and experienced? Don’t be afraid to ask this question of any possible schools.
- Do they put an emphasis on fun? Do they organise any activities or games throughout the week or on the last day which will leave your children grinning from ear to ear?
- And what sort of client feedback do they get? Many schools work with independent feedback systems such as Feefo, so you can see how past clients rate their services.
Resort chosen. Holiday booked. Ski School arranged. Who said going skiing with children is something to worry about? Now all you need to worry about is how you’ll find space in your bags for all their Christmas pressies and whether that well used onesie you wore as a child might also fit in.