It all seems so simple; tuck the kids away in a ski school, hit the slopes, and enjoy après ski suppers beneath the stars. Family ski trips look great on paper, but the reality can sometimes hit you like a snowball in the face. Trying to navigate shivering small ones through cold weather, dealing with teens who easily bore, and having to pack a mammoth amount of stuff suddenly turns that easy breezy vacation into a mammoth task. To make ski matters simple, we have etched out a few top tips to keep your family vacation on piste…
Ski vacations for families can be hugely rewarding; by planning things and ironing out the details in advance, you will have more time on the slopes and your future self is sure to thank you.
Pick the Right Resort
Not all mountains are born equal when picking the best resort for your family. You want to make sure that your mountain has plenty of soft small runs to suit the age range of your kids. It’s also worth checking if the resort has other facilities for keeping children entertained– clubs, childcare, toboggan runs, even the small things like high chairs and cots can make your trip a whole lot easier.
Consider Ski School
For parents who are looking to spend some time alone on the alpine trails, a ski school can be an amazing investment. Do thorough research as you want the experience to be fun for your kids – skip private lessons in favor of group classes so your young ones can make friends. Do look for ski schools with small class sizes so your child gets some personal attention to help them advance faster. Don’t pack a grueling schedule for small skiers; all day everyday skiing will leave you with cranky exhausted kids and that’s not fun for anyone.
Choose Shorter Transfers
From picking the shortest haul flights to choosing chalets as close to the ski lift as possible, always do that extra bit of digging to make your trip as seamless and smooth as possible. If you choose resorts far from the airport you run the risk of everyone being tired after the flight and throwing another 2-hour journey on top of that can be a recipe for disaster. If you are opting for car hire, you may want to consider sending your skis and gear ahead with Luggage Forward to avoid trying to fit 5 pairs of skis into a tiny rental car.
Get Close to the Slopes
Research options for being located as close to the ski lift as possible, especially if you are traveling with young children. Having to carry everyone’s equipment far to the lift will leave you exhausted before you even hit the slopes. Many resorts offer free shuttles and some ski schools may also offer private transfers which can be super handy after the mayhem of getting everyone ready in the morning. In the interest of eliminating melt-downs – the aim is to avoid long transfers, excess waiting around, and having to lug a bunch of stuff around.
Borrow and Rent
You may have your own ski gear which you can ship with Luggage Forward, but for children it may be handy to let them get a taste for powder prior to purchasing. Choosing to rent ski gear for your kids while in the resort will ensure they get properly fitted boots, along with appropriate weather clothing.
No Bad Weather Only Bad Clothes
In Scandinavia there is a saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’. Take heed of this message when taking your family on a ski vacation. Layers will save you turning up short handed, as will packing more good quality thick socks than you think possible and throwing in a few extra pairs of mittens. Make sure to use elastic to tie their gloves together beneath their jacket. A cold child will be a whiny child. All in one ski suits for small ones can be the best option as there is no break in the fabric to let the cold in. Suits also provide that much needed layer of padded fabric to minimize impact on trips and falls and can be easily zipped on and off for cool downs in the café. Instant hand-warmers are easy to carry and can be a lifesaver if you bring a couple extra to hand off to cold children too.
End a Little Earlier
Avoid the temptation of one last run and hit the hot chocolate bar before the kids get tired and fed up. High energy can quickly dwindle towards the end of the day and the goal is to keep everyone in love with the slopes and excited for tomorrow. Ending the day with après ski treats like a soak in the hot tub, some candy, or a warm drink is the best reward.