January 26, 2011
So, you’re heading off to the slopes? We’ve already talked about our favourite ski destinations in the USA, and have even covered the season’s skiwear styles, but what about the kids?
As with any holiday with children, good planning is essential of course. What do you really need beyond sunblock and ski gear though? Here are some of our top tips for skiing trips with kids.
If you can, visit a dry or indoor snow slope before you go. You don’t need to spend loads of time and money and the kids don’t need to learn much at this stage. The important thing really is being there: along with familiarising them with equipment and clothing, it gets them interested in and excited for the real thing.
Our earlier guide to slope stylemay be right up your street, but the story is very different for children. Luckily, layering up is on-trend, making common sense cool for you and your little ones; having lots of little items they can remove for comfort is definitely the way to go.
As for outerwear, the sheer novelty of ski jackets and salopettes will keep most kids happy. And as they just grow way too fast, the best advice is always to rent, borrow or buy second-hand. It’s also worth getting all their clothes and gear ready the night before too, and even ask them to practice putting their ski boots on – it can sometimes take an inordinate amount of time in the morning.
The tiny tip that makes a big difference: take two pairs of gloves for each child. Snowball fights can lead to wet gloves, which they won’t want for skiing or other activities. Of course, they can also get lost – stringed mittens are a wise bet for smaller children. Similarly, straps on sunglasses are sensible and stylish accessories.
Also, pack practically but include things you even think you might need, clothes-wise. Skiing holidays aren’t generally synonymous with souvenir buying, so you’re unlikely to need too much spare space in that suitcase.
Activity and proximity are the keywords when looking at where to go and where stay on your ski trip.
In Europe, smaller, quieter resorts, where you’re never far from each other, are often a good idea, especially for those with younger kids. In the States and Canada of course, everything is big, but resorts are also more than well equipped for families.
Among those mentioned in our American ski destinations post, Heavenly is particularly kid-friendly with masses of activities – tubing, ice skating, sleigh and dogsled rides -as well asthe all-important first class children’s ski school. Canada’s Whistler is also known for its excellent range of kids programmes for varying ages and abilities.
Wherever in the world you’re off to, the best holiday will be always be had where the youngsters have plenty to occupy them. Naturally, this works in your favour too, as the more exhausted the day makes them, the more of your evening is for you.
The importance of a good lodging location can’t be underestimated either. The closer you are to the slopes (or the lifts, at least), the easier everything is. Carrying all your own stuff (and probably some of the kids’ too) the shortest possible distance means less aches. And it affords you the best views, frees up more fun time and means you can nip back for a money-saving lunch. Somewhere with a “Ski In-Ski Out” system, where you can get your gear on outside your lodgings and head straight out, is ideal.
Visit Virgin Holidays for more info and great deals on skiing holidays in Heavenly and Whistler. What else makes a successful family ski holiday? Please share any of your own tips with us in the comments below.