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Non-skiing parents, want to introduce DCs to skiing, help!

(32 Posts)
PoppyWearer Sat 12-Jan-13 23:37:04

I am a non-skier, have tried but didn't enjoy it. DH has an injury preventing him from skiing, although he did ski in the past.

We have two young DCs and want them to at least try skiing and make up their own minds, aware that the younger they start the better.

What's the best way to approach this? We're a bit reluctant to shell out for a ski holiday when neither DH nor I will be skiing, but at the same time want to give the DCs a fair chance to try it.

All ideas welcome!

Tasmania Mon 14-Jan-13 01:39:20

There ARE skiing camps out there you can send your kids to (without you). Depends on how old they are, but the camps start quite young! Think of it as a 1-week boarding school with skiing being the only subject taught.

clam Sun 13-Jan-13 14:20:07

Don't assume that all secondary schools run ski trips, though. Or that if they do, your child will make it on to the list.
My DCs school runs dozens of residential trips, but not skiing. As it happens, it doesn't matter for us, as we go every year as a family and I'm not sure how it would work out for my DCs, who are comfortable on black runs, to find a suitable ability group with the school. I'm sure they'd have a blast anyway, but at great cost.

PoppyWearer Sun 13-Jan-13 12:07:47

Wow, lots of great info here, thanks all!

Scotland sounds interesting, we want to go up there to visit friends anyway, although obviously snow less reliable.

It's good to hear that others have been on holidays as non-skiiers and survived!

TotallyBS Sun 13-Jan-13 12:03:10

If the OP wanted advice about a skiing holiday for a family of novices then of course Europe would be my recommendation. Its only a few hours away and relatively cheap.

Ditto if OP was about a cheap skiing holiday.

But the OP was asking about the best place for adult non skiers.

juneau Sun 13-Jan-13 11:51:29

OP I have another recommendation for you - Innsbruck or Salzburg. Both have direct flights from the UK, plenty of town stuff for you and DH to do, and nearby slopes for your DC to try skiing. It's very pretty there too - very chocolate-boxy Alpine views IYKWIM!

juneau Sun 13-Jan-13 11:46:08

I didn't think Breckenridge was that great for non-skiers, personally, and the altitude was a real problem for me - I could hardly breathe the first day - so I certainly wouldn't take small DC there for their first experience of skiing.

This OP too is talking about two beginner DC and herself and DH as non-skiers - I just don't think it's very helpful to advise her to go all the way over the USA to try skiing. Her DC will spend the first 2-3 days on the nursery slope, which they could do absolutely anywhere, ditto another 2-3 days trundling down greens or easy blues.

TotallyBS Sun 13-Jan-13 11:16:23

Juneau - I am obviously not referring to the small three ski lifts and two motels 'resorts' dotted around New York State for example smile

All that I am saying is that if you aren't on a budget then North American resorts like Vail, Breckenridge, Whistler are great places for non skiers.

secretscwirrels Sun 13-Jan-13 11:12:48

DH and I are not skiers. We are too old and when we were younger I would always choose beach over snow. It's a lot of money unless you are very keen.

I wanted DSs to have a chance to experience it though. DS1 was never interested but DS2 is going on a school trip this year. He is 14 and from what I can gather most of the kids going are not regular skiers. (I guess if they were they would be going with family not school?). I spoke to some boys who went last year, none had skied before and they all loved it.
DS2 has had one session at indoor slope at xscape but that will be it.

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Jan-13 11:04:51

We went to Grindelwald for our first skiing trip as a family. Whilst DH and I de-rusted our skills, we paid for a private tutor who took the DC (then around 5 and 6), and they were doing some scary runs after a couple of days.

Of late, DH and DS still love skiing, DD is a little more hesitant (although she's always had better skills than DS, is just more of a wimp - like me!), but we still enjoy the meeting for lunch, walking, reading etc. on a ski holiday.

And of course, we're around for the apres-ski!!! grin

juneau Sun 13-Jan-13 10:57:42

in terms of non skiing things to do, the US is superior. One only has to look at the brochures and read what is available for apres ski.

Well, it depends which resort you go to - in both the US/Canada or Europe. I've been to resorts in the US where there is absolutely nothing to do apart from ski and eat! There are also established towns or larger resorts with other things to do. So wherever you go you have to choose wisely. But all this stuff I read on MN every day about the US/Canada being 'better' is totally subjective.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 13-Jan-13 10:45:36

You could have weekends in Scotland. The skiing on cairngorm is fine and is where I learnt to snowboard. It's not as big an area as the alps, but for kids learning to ski all you need is a nursery slope. I think the alps would be wasted on them initially. You can have lessons, ski hire there.

There's also skiing in Yorkshire fairly frequently. But not sure if there's any instruction, there is ski hire locally.

difficultpickle Sun 13-Jan-13 10:37:26

I've taken ds skiing and not skied. Hadn't planned to not ski when I booked the holiday but a month before our ski trip I hurt my back badly. I booked him into ski school mornings and afternoons and met him for lunch. He missed skiing with me but he had a great time. We are not going this year as I've hurt my knee [old crock emoticon]. Ds is still keen to go even if I can't ski (we won't be going as I'm waiting to hear if I need surgery).

I would strongly recommend that you choose a resort where there are other things to do so you won't be bored whilst your dcs are skiing. For example, Ardent (bottom of the hill from Avoriaz) and La Tania are lovely but nothing there to do if you don't ski. Morzine, Meribel and Courchevel are all good choices for non-skiers.

forevergreek Sun 13-Jan-13 10:30:54

Also I agree with maybe not USA/ Canada as flights and holiday very expensive for non skiers. Also norway/ Sweden is nice but be aware that it's generally a lot colder than the rest of Europe for skiing and daylight hours are short in winter. So may not be best for little ones who aren't used to freezing weather ( France/ Austria/ Andorra are obviously cold too but nowhere near as bitter cold)

Bonsoir Sun 13-Jan-13 10:27:49

Send them on a residential ski holiday.

forevergreek Sun 13-Jan-13 10:27:01

I would try somewhere like Andorra. It is a lot cheaper to ski there as the ski runs are not to extensive ( mainly beginner runs, with the odd more advanced). Making it a fantastic place for children/ any beginners.

I would recommend booking them both in for morning lessons ( about 3 hrs long), and you could use spa facilities/ snowshoe walk/ leisurely late breakfast alone without children and basically relax. Then pick them up for lunch and spend the afternoons together swimming/ ice skating/ sledging/ building snowmen.

I would def go for a week as most places are at least 11/2-2 hours from airport, so flying and travelling takes half a day so it's much more relaxed if you spend a week there. Look for somewhere with plenty of child and adult friendly in resort facilities, and have fun.

TotallyBS Sun 13-Jan-13 10:18:43

I'm not of the level that I can make a case for the skiing one way or the other but in terms of non skiing things to do, the US is superior. One only has to look at the brochures and read what is available for apres ski.

juneau Sun 13-Jan-13 10:01:07

Dry slopes are horrid IME, but try it if there's one nearby.

If you're all non-skiers I wouldn't go all the way to the US to try skiing. If you're planning to go anyway and perhaps spend a couple of days out of your trip skiing, fine, but Lake Tahoe is 3+ hours drive from San Francisco so it's not exactly close and I don't think the facilities are any better than in Europe. People always say 'Oh the facilities are so much better in the US', but my DH and I skied in the US every winter for five years, both east and west coasts, and apart from Vail and Aspen we thought skiing in Europe was much, much nicer.

LIZS Sun 13-Jan-13 09:50:07

Dry slopes are nothing like the real thing and as most are outdoors you get cold and miserable. Could you book a weekend course at a "real" snow centre, there are also activites such as snow tubing and sledding . There is a Premier inn /Travelodge just along the road from the Hemel one and could easily be combined with a trip to London, theme park or Harry Potter world. How old are your dc ?

tiredemma Sun 13-Jan-13 09:43:00

My dp and ds1 love skiing. Myself and ds2 can take it or leave it really, I find it all a big hassle getting ready and because I'm not very confident, find I get quite 'scared' when working out the best way to get back down the mountain!

We go to Morzine, close to les gets and Avoriaz. Plenty to do for 'non skiers'

Kiriwawa Sun 13-Jan-13 09:40:39

Fair enough smile

I also think a long weekend is the way to go - dry ski slopes can be a bit miserable.

If you decide to go for longer, Austria is better for non-skiers than France - there is generally more to do.

PoppyWearer Sun 13-Jan-13 09:39:17

Thank you for the new replies!

DC1 has had a lesson at a snow centre (unfortunately we are not very near to one) and did enjoy it, and seemed to do well. DC2 too young at the moment, we are trying to plan ahead for 2014/15 so we can plan and save for it.

Has anyone had luck with lessons at dry ski slopes? We have one of those locally.

We have thought about going to the US, as DH has been skiing over there and said how great the facilities for children were. Is Canada good too? The we could combine a few days in the snow with a few days at a city. We have a lot of friends in San Francisco and Tahoe is obviously doable from there. What about Whistler?

Another thought was Lapland, doing a 4-night Santa break which can include a day of skiing/snow sports. Has anyone done that?

juneau Sun 13-Jan-13 09:02:52

Agree that you should go for a long weekend to a resort with other things to do for you and DH. Our 5-year-old DS goes for lessons at our local indoor real-snow slope (Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre), but he only started to really enjoy skiing when he went and skied on a real piste in the mountains. You can get the basics at an indoor slope, but you don't get the lovely views, the mountain air, the breeze in your face, etc, which is the best thing about skiing.

TotallyBS Sun 13-Jan-13 08:56:58

Our DCs found the indoor lessons a bit boring. Slide down five feet then side step up the slope. Queue behind other group members then repeat. Progress was quite slow.

Your kids will learn to ski from scratch after a couple of days at a resort so I wouldn't waste money on indoor ski slope lessons.

US resorts are expensive but they have great facilities for non-skiers compared to most European resorts.

FairyPenguin Sun 13-Jan-13 08:45:26

PS. I can also recommend a hotel that does short breaks in Les Gets in France. Quick connections to Geneva, family rooms, lovely cosy atmosphere.

CaptainNancy Sun 13-Jan-13 08:44:42

I think a UK indoor centre or dry ski-slope may help- introduce them to the basics. Are you anywhere near a snow centre? (E.g. Tamworth)

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