First family ski holiday(19 Posts)
Hoping that somebody might be able to offer advice. We are looking to take our kiddies skiing for the first time. They will be 4 and just 6 when we go. DH & I are skiers but not confident to teach the kids. Not sure how they will cope with being in ski school with loads of other kids and wandered what the options are. We are hopefully going to take kids Granny with us to help with child care when kids knackered and we fancy going skiing / apres ski. Where would you recommmend and who with? We want to spend as much time with the kids as we can but also want them to learn to ski.
Thanks in advance
Take them to a snow dome in the UK for a starter lesson. They will get used to the boots and skis at least. When they get there, they will feel like they know something already and it might give them some class confidence.
We did our first ski holiday with a 4 and a 7 year old, we went with Crystal and used ESF ski school, both kids absolutely loved the whole experience and now at 10 and 13 are really good skiers. You'll read plenty of criticisms about ESF on here but they worked well for us, our kids always had English speaking instructors and other English kids in their group and they learnt to ski well, far better technique and confidence than friends' kids who mainly been taught by their parents. The slopes are full of inadequate skiers/boarders often behaving dangerously, I think lack of tuition is often part of it.
We also used Crystal child care which meant they took them to and from the slopes and fed them and entertained them in the afternoons. The children loved it all and I would recommend it. I was initially very about leaving my children in other people's care all day whilst I did something else but actually they preferred it and we would meet up at the end of the day, go swimming or ice skating, have tea and catch up. We also took them out skiing a few times so they could show us what they'd learnt which was fun too.
I've been for 11 years with Esprit and always found them good.
They have snow rangers who take the kids to lessons and pick them up again. The rangers stay with the really young ones to help pick up, wipe noses, etc. then they have supervised lunch and snow club in the afternoon and then supervised tea.
Which means you can ski all day. Realistically young kids aren't going to want to ski again in the afternoon if they've skied on the morning. However you can pick your kid up at any point in the day if you want. So if you want to go swimming, sledging, etc with them you can do.
Only thing you won't be able to do is evening meal together. Kids aren't allowed at adults dinner. It works fine, kids are knackered anyway, get them bathed and into bed after their meal. They have baby listeners on each corridor to keep an ear out on the kids and they'll come and get you if any problems.
I'll 2nd the recommendation that you go with a company who do childcare. IF you can afford it. DO your parents ski too? or are they just looking to do childcare?
Sell the kids club up to your kids, assuming they are at school they should have no trouble enjoying kids club and ski school. They cope with 29 other children each day at school, ski school will be about 6-8 kids and 2 adults is common for kids beginner classes.
IF you take GPs for childcare look at the accommodation carefully, a chalet may not suit if the holiday company expect to use part of the chalet for their own childcare they won;t appreciate your kids and GPs being around during the day. I'd say either go self catering or a hotel.
Even if you do take GPs along to do day time childcare if your with a company that offer "pajama club/ coco club/ bedtime story club " and your kids are OK staying up that late buy into it and let the GPS spend some time with you/ alone with out children.
We took DS age 5 skiing and he loved kids club and ski school, he knew none of the others at start of the week but had a number of small "mates" round the hotel by the end.
I second the suggestion to take them to an indoor snowdome in this country before you go. Knowing how the boots feel, how to walk in them and how to snap skis on are big lessons and if they can start learning them before they go they will enjoy your holiday more?
We have successfully skied as a family with Mark Warner. Nannnies take the kids to the lessons and collect them afterwards and they entertain them for the afternoon. Les Deux Alpes was particularly successful with littlies.
Esprit is also excellent - but not with such young kids as one will ski in the morning and the other in the afternoon?
Alternatively if Granny is really happy to do all the childcare, IMO a catered chalet is the way to go. If you phone any of the bug companies (eg Crystal, Inghams) they can recommend one that is near the slopes and can also book lessons for the children for you. I'd avoid Austria as they tend to do all day lessons which IMO are too much for v little children.
Thanks for all the advice. Was thinking lesson in am for them, then we want to spend some time with them in the pm. We love skiing but also do want it to be a family holiday for us all to spend some time together. Has anyone been somewhere good to do that?
lots of resorts have sledging areas/ice rinks/pools which give you a family activity for the afternoon if you're skied out.... we did think les deux alpes was good for young families but am sure there are other alternatives......
We have always skied with DSs since they were tiny (well they only started skiing at about 3, but they came with us from 3 months), and now they are 5 and 8. We do it a bit differently as we have a small place in the Alps, and so stay there and do things independently. It works for us, it wouldn't work for everyone.
They do 2 or 2.5 hour lessons in the am, and then we lunch with them, and usually ski together in the afternoon. This does work now, but probably only because they are quite good at skiing. You might need to ski with beginner DCs between your legs - would you be up to that? I found it seriously hard work, and certainly couldn't do it now. The idea of skiing together in the afternoon is lovely, but think about how it will work for you.
We mainly ski at Les Orres and Risoul. Lots of activities for DCs at both, although I think Les Orres is probably a bit better.
Sorry - meant to say, we've been lucky with ski school - ESF and Ozone - but they have been in there with French kids and not together. Boys have been fine. My niece, a different character, at age 6 totally refused to have lessons - it wasn't a great holiday.
Exactly what Leonie said.
Going again with Crystal Ski in March, it will the boys' 3rd ski trip with us, they are 8 and 6.
Canadian resorts are excellent for families. You don't need to book with a tour operator as it's so easy to book the ski school you want for the kids directly. So you have the more expensive flight, but then everything else is cheaper. Teaching is great and by English speakers.
Even if children are "in kids club" for the afternoon, its not prison. You can arrange to pick them up at what ever time you like. tho it works best if you negotiate something that works with the club activity timetable or you are trying to drag away a child who wants to stay and finish baking, or is in the middle of a treasure hunt.
Last year we sprang DS from club at about 4pm on 3 out of 6 days and even earlier on the last day. We then took him out for the last bit of lift running time to practise his skiing and end up in a cafe. On his last day we took him to the mini snow park and down a blue run from half way up the mountain.
We've never done organised childcare. I've always been quite happy to get a couple of hours in while they have their lessons and then potter together in the afternoon.
I'd say if you want to do that then go late Feb/March when it's warmer as the kids are happier to potter around on the snow, sledge etc. when it's not too cold.
We went to Samoens the first week in March last year and it was so hot that the kids were playing in t-shirts in the afternoon!
I've always used British run ski schools as numbers tend to be smaller. I've seen too many ESF classes with 12 children in them to be comfortable with them but that's just my experience.
Massistar - where have you taken your children and who did you go with? Do you book lessons through ski company?
What you did sounds exactly like what we would like to do.
We've only done one ski holiday with kids so far (but second is already booked for Feb!). We went with Ski Famille, which is pricey, but it worked well for a first family trip so we could try it out. I'd definitely recommend two things:
1) go with a company that specialises in families and has in-house childcare; and
2) choose a resort that is no more than an hour or so from the airport.
We went to Les Gets last year, which was perfect. Really nice little resort, very family friendly, short transfer.
We've been to Samoens the last 2 years. It's a lovely resort and very pretty Alpine village.
We just book flights and accommodation separately. Went with Zig Zag ski school who were amazing!
Family Ski Company offer excellent childcare, they have ski school helpers who stay with the little ones while they are in ski school which means we can head off knowing they are being well looked after. The childcare team then pick them up after ski school and take them back to the chalets for lunch and an afternoon of fun packed activities - this is definately not prison! My kids (now 5, 8 & 10) love it and refuse to leave when we turn up early to pick them up - we have been with FSC for the past 4 years and are going again this year - would definately recommend them.
PS if you are thinking about independant childcare make sure they have english speaking nannies who are CRB checked and have appropriate insurance...
snowbizz also offer morning care/lessons so you can spen the afternoons with kids.
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