As much fun as skiing sounds (and is) the idea of a family friendly ski trip can seem impossible for parents with young children. Whether you’ve never skied before, or you love it, there’s a lot to think about.
While you may be worried about the logistics, you can rest assured that a family ski holiday is an enjoyable, healthy choice that you’ll all enjoy. Here’s what you need to know in terms of preparation and safety tips. It is an expensive choice and you may want to look at other winter sports instead of skiing, if all you want is to get your family into the snow for some fun.
When it comes to accommodation, there are several choices. Self catering is the cheapest, although it does mean you’ll have to do your own cooking and cleaning. Ski holiday apartments can be small too, and may be quite a distance from amenities, so make sure that you check everything before booking. Chalets are the next cheapest option and they’re somewhere between self catering and hotel accommodation, with breakfasts, lunch and often dinner accommodated, and extras like child care on offer by some. Hotels are usually the most expensive and luxurious choice. You won’t have to do anything so it’s a great break from your home life, but you will pay a lot more, especially if you have a larger family. Whichever you choose, base it on your budget, make sure that you check out the facilities on offer, and read reviews where possible, and make sure you book through a reputable tour company, or directly with the hotel.
Then there are the packages on offer. These vary wildly and some will include more or less activities, childcare or tuition, discounts based on your child’s age and even discounts if you bring your own nanny along. You can usually also plan a DIY ski trip, stay in self catering accommodation and plan your own activities, but they do require more planning.
When it comes to how age appropriate, or not, a ski trip is, expert opinion differs. Some are happy to accommodate very young children, while others aren’t. If your child is an infant, then it’s best to check with your doctor first. Extreme cold and even the glare from the snow could be a danger to your child, so it’s best to exercise caution.
If childcare is a concern then you have several options. You could look for accommodation that offers an in house service or look into holiday nanny programs. Alternatively, you could take someone with that you know and trust, and who does not ski, or you could alternate with your partner to give each of you time on the slopes. If your children are over four, on the other hand, then it’s probably okay to enrol them in a ski class of their own and have them join in. Find out what the package on offer consists of (there are full and half day options, those that include food and supervision and more) and check whether the instructors and supervisors are fluent in English.
Before booking your family ski holiday, make sure you look into the following:
How far you will have to travel and whether there are facilities for car seats.
Remember that young children may get bored, tired or even car sick on a bus or coach.
Check that the facilities on offer meet your family’s needs. If child care is a must have, then you don’t want to book at a hotel that doesn’t offer it.
Check whether there are skiing options for everyone in your family and that there are instructors. Also check that the instructors speak English.
Find out whether there are special out of season rates and if you book out of season, whether you will still be able to ski (resorts at lower altitudes sometimes won’t have much snow.)
Look for resorts that offer other activities, like skating or sledging, as well as indoor entertainment in case the weather is bad.
Look into other facilities in the area. Restaurants, shops and other facilities are all important, particularly if you are staying in self catering accommodation.