Q&A: how to prepare for a family ski trip

Ski holidays are fun and exciting for all the family, and you’ll be surprised just how quickly your little ones will pick up the technique. Even toddlers can get involved; as soon as the child has the strength to walk, they’ll take to the slopes like baby penguins.

Charlie Balfour, ski host with family holiday specialist Mark Warner says: “A ski holiday is a great way to bring together a whole family, who can enjoy spending time learning or improving their skills on the slopes together. It’s fun, engaging and good for you too!”

Here are three key things to consider when planning a family ski holiday to ensure that your whole family has a wonderful time on the slopes.

Where to go:

There are many different ski resorts that you can pick, but some are more family-friendly than others. For this reason, it’s worth checking out what other types of entertainment are available for any times that your family fancies a break from the slopes. The more popular resorts, such as Val d’Isere in France, will offer a wide variety of family friendly activities, such as the popular leisure centre with indoor pools, water cannons and a relaxing jacuzzi.

It’s also worth considering the slopes available and the skill level required. Val d’Isere, La Plagne and Les Deux Alps are great options for beginners as they offer good nursery slopes and a large range of green and blue runs to practise on. This means that your children will have the space they need to learn and develop at their own pace.

What to pack:

Three good layers should be enough for even the most extreme weather conditions. Try polyester or wool next to the skin (take several sets of underclothes, as these will be worn every day), breathable fleece in the middle and then snow, wind and waterproof outerwear.

Breathability is just as important as insulation especially when activity levels rise. ‘I’m too hot’ can be as problematic as ‘I’m too cold’ when you are on the slopes and you can’t carry stuff around or stash it easily. Investing in high quality insulated outerwear garments that breathe is worthwhile.

Jo Nilsson from children’s clothing label Polarn O Pyret  says: “Even tiny tots sweat, and because cotton absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away it can feel cold next to the skin. Silky polyester or soft non-itchy merino wool should be worn next to the skin in cold weather. Try the one cotton sock and one wool sock test on yourself the next time you go out to play in cold weather!”

What to expect:

It’s also important not to push your children into skiing if they are nervous or fancy a change of scene – let them take their time learning this new skill so that they can develop their own enjoyment for the activity. Ski resorts offer many different activities, so a day spent swimming or enjoying a husky ride can give them the chance to recharge their batteries, ready to re-approach the slopes with enthusiasm the next day.

Even if you’re a pro skier, it’s often best to let your kids learn with trained professionals first. Ski schools can provide a solid foundation for all future ski experiences, making sure your family has the schooling they need to become good skiers.

Charlie Balfour says: “Ski schools not only give your kids the start they need to become adept skiers but they’re also a great way for them to socialise with other children during their trip. Your kids may not want to spend their whole holiday hanging around with grown-ups and these schools give them the opportunity to meet other children their own age.”

TOP TIP: Before they head outside, let little ones try their skis on indoors, whether that’s at home before you leave or in your hotel once you’ve arrived. They can be awkward and a little difficult to get the hang of, so let your kids have fun sliding on carpet so that they know what to expect before reaching the slopes.

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