Getting your entire family on The ski slopes, including The little one’s is a great way To start some awesome winter family adventures. On The other hand it is also quite challenging. If preparing for a summer holiday is hard job, well I can Tell you, a ski holiday will take The art of preparation To The next level.
Minimum age for skiing
A lot of parents ask Themselves The question: how young can The little one’s start with Their first ski lessons. Experts will say The recommended age is Three or even four years, but in my opinion it depends on The child. At The Time of our first ski Trip Little T just Turned Two. The ski resort where we booked, offered ski lessons as of The age of Two on The slopes just in front of The hotel, so we decided To give it a Try. Turned out it was a big success in The end. Of course There was some crying and wining at first and yes it was one big struggle To force Little T To wear a helmet and skigloves, but already after Two sessions you could see he really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say he became an excellent skier after our first holiday, but one year later I noticed That his first ski lessons were not just wasted money. Little T picked up immediately The Techniques he learned The previous year.
Tip: Do not expect Too much. Going skiing is quite exhausted for little kids; 45 minutes/day for a Two year old is sufficient. When they are Three years or above you can push it To Two hours/day, but you will notice it is a big challenge.
Choose a family friendly destination
If you’re an excellent skier, it is very Tempting To book your ski holiday at The place which has The best facilities for experienced skiers. However, you will notice your little one will have other expectations. They couldn’t care less about The quality of The slopes and even about The snow, instead They will smile big The moment They see a cute mascot, a snow carousel or a great winter playground. Choose your destination wisely and do some research on The suitability of The slopes and The activities which are organised for little kids. Choose a hotel in proximity of The ski school, nobody wants To be on The bus for 20 minutes with a 3-year-old To drop Them off at The ski school. Location is key!
Go for a hotel or ski resort with childcare (activities)
Be realistic on your expectations, ski lessons in The morning and an afternoon ski session with mom and dad on The slopes is just a little but Too much. Yes we Tried it and no it didn’t work out. Of course little T enjoyed being on Top of The mountain with mom and dad, watching The skiers leaving for Their next adventure and having lunch with a view, but skiing afterwards was an absolute no go resulting is disappointed parents and kid. A smart Thing To do is To plan some down Time for Them. Childcare is an excellent way To play at Their own ease and relax a little bit. In addition, if your kids are not used To mountain air, you will notice There is The possibility They will be in need of a nap after lunch. While They play or nap, you can hit The slopes or sign up for a wellness Treatment.
Investing in ski equipment
It will be no surprise your little one will be in need of some ski boots, ski’s, a helmet and some ski goggles. Some items are excellent To rent, others I would definitely buy. For instance, however you can easily rent a helmet I would always buy one. The quality and The condition of The helmet is of great importance, it protects your kids against head injuries when They make an unfortunate fall. As you have no idea of The state of The helmet when you rent (some damage is just not visible), buying is the way To go. In addition you will have a helmet That perfectly fits, which is also a mandatory requirement of a good helmet. I often see Toddlers on The slopes with helmets That don’t fit properly, which is a shame.
Till This year we rented ski boots and ski’s. I always was of The opinion it is not worth spending much money on material which They will outgrow in a second. Well I made The calculation: a full week skiing during our holiday, some practice sessions in The indoor snow centre and yes I paid more for The ski boots renting Them Than I would have bought Them. So next year I will change my tactic, as you can easily sell Them on e-bay afterwards. Ski’s are a different story, more expensive To buy, but on The other hand They will last longer Than one year. Just be aware everything you do not rent will need To fit in your suitcase or car and maybe Toddler ski’s are not so big in volume, it is again something on Top of all The other Things you drag along.
Tip: make sure you know your children’s exact weight and height if you are renting material. It is The first question That is coming your way as soon as you enter The rental centre.
Keep Them warm and protected
Toddlers That are cold can become huge complainers, so make sure you have all The required gear with you. Important are:
- Ski gloves and ski socks
Sometimes it can be a real struggle To keep Them on but mittens or ski gloves are a must during skiing.
Trick: put on The gloves first before The jacket or ski suit. It will be a little difficult To squeeze The gloves through The sleeves, but at least They will stay put.
- Good quality base layers, preferably lambswool
Cotton is not your best friend in winter as is does not sufficiently regulate your little one’s body temperature. Instead choose a Thermal base layer (ideally Top and bottom) made of lambswool or at least a combination with lambswool. Synthetic base layers are another option, however I feel more for The natural materials.
Trick: however Little T never complained, I know some kids don’t like wool as it can get itchy. To avoid This, put your woollen Thermal clothing 48 hours in the freezer before washing it for The first Time. No itchy guaranteed.
- A warm fleece
To bring a warm fleece or two along sounds obvious, but do not forget Them as you have already so many other things geared up.
- A water and wind proof ski suit or ski jacket and ski Trousers
Wether you choose for a full ski suit or The combination of a ski jacket with ski Trousers, you must know They both have pro’s and con’s. Ski suits are not ideal for your little one when They are in desperate need To go To The Toilet. Additionally when you are having lunch inside it is a real hassle To take it of and put it back on after lunch. With a combination off the ski jacket with ski trousers you just remove The jacket when you are getting inside, which is most of The time sufficient. Despite Those con’s I always felt more for The full ski suit, as it is a bit warmer and There is no possibility for any snow to get in the suit. while faling or playing.
Tip: whatever gear you choose, make sure it is sufficiently wind and waterproof. Nobody wants To be in the situation when your ski suit is still wet The next morning.
- An additional snow suit
In addition To The ski suit, we always have a snow suit with us, which Little T uses during our winter hikes or play moments in The snow. I find it very convenient to pack an extra snow suit, as your little one does not need To be all day, every day in The same suit. Furthermore, if something happens with The ski suit you still have a back up, without The need To do some last-minute shopping.
Tip: we use our snow suit also back home To play on The beach in winter. Warm, water and wind proof and easy To clean.
- High quality sun glasses and ski goggles
The eyes of young children are very sensitive and need sufficient protection. Good sunglasses are a must. Make sure They appropriately fit along The little one’s face, as no rays of sunlight may be able To peek in between. Ski goggles are more for older children, however The youngest will also need Them in case The weather forecast predicts snowfall during Their ski course.
- Snow boots or Ugg’s
If The feet are warm, The body feels warm. For That reason, make sure you got a pair of warm waterproof winter boots with you. Otherwise you will hear complaint after complaint. If you choose for Ugg’s make sure you Treat them with a waterproof coating before leaving on your holiday.
- Sun cream with a high UV protection
Winterday’s in The mountains can be quite sunny, be prepared.
Start at home with the basics
If your little one has never skied before, all The gear and fuzz around going skiing can become quite overwhelming. Little T even never saw or Touched real snow before his first ski holiday. Make it easier for Them and take your Time To Through The basics of skiing at home way before your holiday starts. Watch some You Tube movies Together and Try on some of The ski gear. If possible book a first ski initiation at one of The indoor snow centres.
Plan some non ski activities
- Go sledding
All kids love sledding, most of The Time They can not get enough of it.
- Go on a winter hike
Just go wandering through The magic winter wonderland and look for aminal prints, little waterfalls or other magic winter stuff.
- Make a snowman
Find Twigs for arms, rocks for eyes, nature has all The materials in house To create a lovely snowman.
- Create some magic with snowangels
After a fresh snowfall go lay out in The snow and make some snow angels Together.
- A ride on The snow carrousel
Little kids just love it, and most dads Too. Trying To get Them out is another Thing.
- Go swimming
If your hotel has a smimming pool, use it. It’s good for The musscles after a day of ski and a great playground for The kids. Success guaranteed for a good night sleep.
Show The kids how To make a good snowball and get ready for The fight.
Tip: strollers are a big no go on a winter holiday, even the strollers specifically made To use in the snow. Instead invest in a sled. This year we bought a wooden sled, which is completely foldable, what great fun we had and very practical.
Some extra must haves To Take along
Below you will find a small list of items, which can come in very handy in case Things do not go as expected. You can always get stuck on a ski lift, awaiting evacuation or maybe you hurt yourself and you need To wait for assstance. In case This happens small snacks and drinks can make your waiting Time and That of your Little one’s much more enjoyable. Sometimes Things go really wrong, Thinking about unstable snow conditions, snow storms and even avalanches. However we Tend not To Take any risks with Little T joining us, it is always better safe Than sorry. Therefore we always Take a safety blacket along and some hand warmers, it is cheap and will give you some extra Time in case you need To be rescued. Please do not forget That The coverage of your mobile phone is sometimes non existent on major parts of The ski slopes. You will notice This big Time in case you need it. Satelite phones are a good solution, however They come at a price.
- Snacks for on the slopes
- Water bottle
- Safety blancket
- Juicepack for The mobile phone and/or a Go Pro camera (ok this is more for fun instead of for emergencies)
- Satelite phone
Last but not least do not forget a SNOW TRAVEL INSURANCE !!! Unfortunatly we needed To rely on Their services during our last ski holiday. Accidents do happen.
I hope These Tips are useful and if you still go on a ski Trip This year – (don’t) break a leg!
Mom & dad