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Reassure me please! DD(6) skiing for first time with Dad in France

(24 Posts)
CandyCrush Sun 06-Jan-13 22:03:15

So... I'm possibly worrying over nothing, but I'm worrying over DD going away for a week with her dad to Risoul in France in March.

He is very responsible so I'm not concerned about that as such, but I'm a bit worried that they might get separated (him stuck up the mountain, her at ski school etc).

Does anyone know how the ski schools in France work? I am really familiar with Austria and Italy, but not France. I think I have a (hopefully unfair) negative opinion of the professionalism of the French schools?

I actually worked as a ski rep for school groups so I should be fine about this! sad

clam Sun 06-Jan-13 22:10:07

I know Risoul well. Would walkie-talkies or emergency-use mobile phones help your peace of mind?

CandyCrush Sun 06-Jan-13 22:30:13

Yes a mobile phone might be an idea.

What's risoul like? I get the impression it's quite small. They are going with Rocket Ski who I actually used to work for, but never in France. (I think that's half the problem- having been a rep for school groups myself, I kind of know what can go wrong confused)

CandyCrush Sun 06-Jan-13 22:32:14

I actually love the idea of walkie talkies. Would the range be enough though if he is on the slopes and she is at the ski school? (She's a beginner)

clam Sun 06-Jan-13 22:47:09

Depends on the quality of the walkie-talkie I suppose. We've had them cut in and out - even close in, but they've been useful on occasion when the kids deign to answer them. Phones might be better (although can be expensive - but presumably it's for emergencies only), as long as there's a signal. I've not had a problem before though and texting is reliable - probably not for a 6 year old though!

The thing I like about Risoul is that there are enough runs to keep us going (intermediates) for a week (180km if you count the link to Vars) but it's not so large that there's that stress (for me) of straying too far from base. Not sure of how far away that would make the furthest run though. We usually go with a large group, so can box and cox in smaller groups but arrange to meet up easily at mountain cafes without anyone getting lost. Also, if they're going in March, then lift queues are less likely to impede your h getting back to base quickly. We have to go Feb half term, so it's busy.

Don't read the other thread on here about the kids left in a cafe by skischool!!!

cavell Mon 07-Jan-13 10:58:45

My elder dd has been skiing with her dad in France sevearl times now and never had a problem. The ski school staff will wait with the children until the children are reunited with their parent(s). Maybe get a mobile phone for her for peace of mind so that her dad can call/text her if delayed. And/or keep her dad's mobile phone number in a zipped pocket in her jacket so the ski school staff can call him if he is late for any reason.

6 is a lovely age to start skiing. I'm sure she'll have a ball.

LIZS Mon 07-Jan-13 11:03:23

We've been to Risoul , food at their hotel is very school canteen! It is quite compact and beginners wouldn't go far from the base as there are plenty of easy treelined runs and a large nursery area about half way up. Some of the drag lifts are very steep but minimal queuing. Good mechanical toboggan run ! Better skiers can go over towards Vars but still get back for lunch.

MrsHoarder Mon 07-Jan-13 11:19:14

I've been to Risoul: its pretty small they should be fine. Then as long as she has her dad's mobile number (don't forget the +44) then they will be able to sort her out if anything goes wrong.

CandyCrush Mon 07-Jan-13 11:31:17

Thanks everyone. It was the "kids left in cafe by ski school" thread that got me worried in the first place.

I think a mobile phone will be the best thing. I have a little one which we can put a card into for her. I'm think she will be able to get the hang of calling him on there. Though her idea of an emergency might be different from ours! (my feet are cold/my boot is hurting etc wink)...

I'm glad risoul is small. I know the hotel is pretty basic, it's usually a group hotel so I'm fine with that.

I'm sure she'll love it and I know he won't take too many any risks with her , I was just rather scared at the prospect of my panicky PFB being left in the cafe or being allowed to wander off confused

clam Mon 07-Jan-13 13:40:52

Out of interest, where have other people stayed when in Risoul? There doesn't appear to be a massive choice.

MrsHoarder Mon 07-Jan-13 15:15:50

In a very cheap studio apartment. It was a university trip.

FannyBazaar Mon 07-Jan-13 20:56:19

I've seen far too many parents stressed about their children not actually answering their mobile phones. Surely the instructor has a phone? Teach her Dad's number so she can tell the instructor if there ever is a problem. What are the chances if her finding herself alone or with no adults who have phones?

CandyCrush Mon 07-Jan-13 21:52:10

Good point Fanny. I'm going to have to think about it.

To be honest , I think if dad is in any way concerned about how the school is run, he is likely to hang around nearby. Specially if I talk to him about it before they go. We are separated It's a pretty big deal that he is taking her away for a week and he is so excited about it. I don't think he would risk future trips.

clam Mon 07-Jan-13 22:17:46

Yes, it can be a bit of a faff to locate which bloody pocket the phone is in, remove gloves (supposing you're not halfway up a draglift), and answer the wretched thing, even supposing you hear it ring in the first place.
But if you see a missed call you can at least phone back. But I'm talking adults/older children here, not a 6 year old.

Look, the chances of anything awful happening are pretty remote. Try and relax about it. She'll have a blast and her dad will be looking out for her. It's in his interests for her to have a good time.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 07-Jan-13 22:24:41

Instructors always have a phone these days and take all parents numbers and give out theirs. Well, I haven't used esf so don't know if they do. But the smaller companies we've used they do this.

cavell Tue 08-Jan-13 09:48:14


The only reason I can see for your dh needing to contact your daughter would be if he were somehow delayed.... maybe a lift might stop for a while when he is on it, for example. He shouldn't be calling your dd during a lesson - so forget about all the scenarios with drag lifts etc..

Similarly, there is no need that I can see for your dd ever to call him during a lesson - and I would be extremely surprised if the instructor would allow children to make calls in any case.

In my experience of ESF, instructors don't routinely ask for parents' telephone numbers, which is why I suggest your dd has her dad's number on her person. Have a particular pocket that she keeps it in - it really isn't that difficult. Or maybe two - one in her jacket, one in her salopettes.

My elder dd has been skiing with her dad three times now and I did worry about it all beforehand, so I understand where you are coming from. But it has always been absolutely fine.

I have also seen first hand how ski schools work and I know they don't want parents hanging around, as it is distracting for the children. So even if you were there on holiday with the two of them, your dd would be pretty much in the same position - expected to attend ski school unaccompanied. You would still have the worries about what might happen if you were both a bit late. And the answer is that they would look after her until someone turned up for her.


SachaF Tue 08-Jan-13 13:05:20

With the ESF ski school we used we were given a registration document that had the child's name, the course they were on (with dates) and the contact number we had given them. We were told to put this in the child's pocket.

One session in the ski garden the instructor had only seen ds come in and not dd. An assisstant started taking dd off to a different class. She was (funnily enough) resisting, so the assistant looked at the card in the pocket. So the card in pocket works!

Our own fault for being 5 minutes late! We were 15 minutes early the next day.

fedupwithdeployment Tue 08-Jan-13 14:25:12

My boys did a week with ESF in Risoul last Easter and had a great time. The little one was 5....and the only problem we had was a bollocking from the instructor as he needed to do a poo half way through the lesson. NB There is a loo at the bottom of the piste near where they meet for lessons!

We didn't bother with phones/ walkie talkies (although we both have them).

I am sure she will have a great time. Risoul is a great resort. This Xmas my boys asked to go there at least once a day (we were in Les Orres round the corner) because there is a great natural half pipe. Maybe next year!

clam Tue 08-Jan-13 18:38:23

Hate that half pipe! My dcs always insist on going down it - I won't, so have to go the long way round!

fedupwithdeployment Wed 09-Jan-13 16:48:45

What? Down the bumpy black grin. They like that too.

I went over every bump in Les Orres, Crevoux, Reallon and St Veran last week. It was great fun, but can't help thinking that it would have been less painful if I too was 6!!

I am a pretty good skier, but am in danger of being left behind - by an 8 and 6 year old. shock

clam Wed 09-Jan-13 18:29:39

My two overtook me years ago.
How is Les Orres these days? We went there 4 years running, staying up in Bois Mean. Not so keen on the main station however.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 10-Jan-13 11:18:48

Les Orres was pretty good and the weather was fab. Boys had a good time with Ski Ozone. New chair on the ridge (replacing 2 drags) which is good. And the lovely red round the back was great. We stay in Embrun down the valley so I can ignore the bits of the Station that I don't like! Agree Bois Mean looks a lot better. I can remember when that chair was in a field with nothing around it! Less than 10 years ago shock. Even more scary is the thought that the first time I went there was over 20 years ago - as a student in south of France we went for a day trip! Still very few Brits.

I do like the variety though of trying out different places. I know many don't like to drive (our place is not exactly ski in / ski out!!) but we're used to it now. Never a problem to park at Champ Lacas and get the lift up from there.

clam Thu 10-Jan-13 13:04:23

Grand Cabane? Love most of that run, apart from the nasty narrow bit 2/3 of the way down! And they always close it early-mid afternoon so I have an excuse to wimp out

Prefer Risoul now- much greater scope. 180km if you count the vars runs.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 10-Jan-13 13:12:57

We did Risoul last Easter - agree re bigger scope. Have you tried Puy St Vincent? About same size as Les Orres. We are lucky in that we can pick and chose, so not committed to same resort for a whole week. The little places (some mentioned above) are great, but you wouldn't want to be there for more than a day or 2.

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