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First ski trip with children - any advice very welcome

(42 Posts)
upto11 Thu 14-Jan-16 10:00:28

I've finally managed to persuade my DH to come skiing and we're heading off with our two DC in February half term. I am an experienced skier, DH less so and certainly doesn't love skiing in the way that I do, so am very keen to make this a success so he will want to go every year!

Does anyone have any tips for making skiing for the first time with children a success?

Our oldest DS is 7 and the younger one 4. Do you think they would go into the same ski school class? DS2 is on the clingy side and is not keen to be on his own without the safety of his older brother. The place we are going seems to have a ski school which offers 90 minute morning lessons for kids. This seems very short to me, am sure I remember doing at least a couple of hours in the morning, but this could be my memory! Does this sound typical?

Any advice very gratefully received.

Potterwolfie Thu 14-Jan-16 10:07:25

We went to Colorado (usa based) with our DCs for the first time last year, they were 8 and 11 at the time. The first day they absolutely hated it as they hadn't realised how cold it would be, nor how uncomfortable their feet would be!

I'd recommend short sessions in ski school plus lots of breaks, loads of snacks and hot chocolate and don't forget how the altitude might affect them. After two sessions in ski school, DCs got the bug and we spent the rest of the holiday hurtling down the slopes together, it was absolutely amazing to see them get the hang of it and love it! Enjoy!

Tuiles Thu 14-Jan-16 10:08:06

Are you sure you'll get a ski school place this late in the game? I couldn't get anything for half term, and that was booking before Xmas. Ended up with a few private lessons. All the lessons seemed to be 2 hours each.

This is our first time taking kids too and have resigned ourselves to the fact it will be very different - no long days up the mountain and boozy apres ski. As beginners the kids will want lots of other activities. And even when they are in lessons it isn't much time to get up the mountain and down again before collecting them. We may have to take it in turns to do childcare - that's where the advantage of going in a group would come in.

Have a great time, sure the kids will love it!

drspouse Thu 14-Jan-16 10:12:39

For the 4 year old 90 minutes is probably long enough. Is there anything else offered for that age, as they probably won't want to ski with you for the whole of the rest of the day and you won't necessarily want to hang round the hotel/build snowmen/walk round the resort all day with them either - a kids club Mark Warner/Esprit style?

Where we went this year 5+ were in one group and 3-4 in another group, who skied in the afternoons (this was Esprit) because it's warmer then. If our 4yo had been with 5 and 6 year olds on his own I think he would have struggled, but with the younger group he made friends and it was just like being at nursery. Presumably your 4yo goes to nursery or Reception without your 7yo.

upto11 Thu 14-Jan-16 14:12:06

Thanks so much everyone.

Tuiles hmm haven't actually booked lessons yet, and you're right, this may well be a problem. Must investigate space issue. Otherwise, I imagine we'll have to go for private. Obviously I have never chosen to go in half term before so have been a bit clueless about needing to be more organised. Bugger.

drspouse yes, DS2 is in reception but although has a couple of friends there, he is pretty antisocial tbh. He has a habit when of staring stonily ahead and not speaking which I can't imagine will endear him to ski instructors or fellow ski school children!

ChilliMum Thu 14-Jan-16 14:25:30

We have skied with our kids for the past few years they are now 9 and 5. They absolutely love it but we go with snowbizz who are a very family orientated company: creche, breakfast club, ski school evening club (allowing a couple of hours of après ski for me and dh). The kids spend the afternoons with us but the rest of the time they are very busy sledging, pizza making etc with a big group of kids and a fantastic childcare team.
The kids love the busy activity filled style of the holiday (none of us are lie by the pool types) and always make a friend or 2. Is it worth speaking to the company organising to see what activities are available outside of skiing as I second a lot of the advice above skiing in a couple of hour bursts with lots of other fun activities works better for smaller ones.

upto11 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:27:20

Thanks ChilliMum. We are not going with a company as are staying at a friend's place so all organisation of lessons, hire etc down to me. Probably why it's all rather fallen by the wayside!

ChilliMum Thu 14-Jan-16 17:02:57

Check with tourist information for the resort I am sure they will have a list of activities. The resort we go to is tiny but there is (resort not the company we travel with) nightime sledging, a snow disco, last year the ski instructors put on a ski jumping display and there is ice skating and swimming. They might also be able to give you some information about indépendant or ski school run kids clubs.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Thu 14-Jan-16 18:16:11

When is your DS2 5? My DD4 will ski a 70% day, but will be 5 at half term. I wouldn't say we pushed her that hard.

DD2 was in class with my eldest who is 7 at Xmas, but I think that's unusual. Normally they are in separate groups. I think it is on skill and age, but I wouldn't expect them to be together when you go, it's just a bonus if they are.

One thing I found with DD2 was when in a French class she was less happy than an English one. If you can find an English group or even ski school, I'd go for that.

The first time my eldest skied she had to be forcibly removed from me and screamed the place down going into lessons, but we went to find her after the first lesson and she was high as a kite and loved it. I would say that Day 1, is not an indicator of how the holiday will be. Stay positive!

My DH gets frustrated with all the layers and clutter so I always take a bag for everyone's kit. It means the kids know where to 'dump' stuff and things don't get misplaced. Nothing glamorous just a sainsburys bag for life. Even in your own place this gives a focal point.

We bought helmet covers this year and found we could pick our kids out on the slopes. I've found several kids looked the same with pink outfits and boys all tend to be in black and blue. I quite liked being able to ID them at a distance if we wanted to watch them.

I tend to make sure they have a snack in their pockets (I'm not a fan of constant snacks) as sometimes I think energy levels do need a boost. I also ensure a piece of paper with my contact details is in their pocket, just in case they do need to leave class.

Artandco Thu 14-Jan-16 18:21:21

Can you book a private instructor? Will that be easier?

My 4 and 5 year olds will ski all day, well 9-12pm, then 2-4pm again. But they have been skiing since 2 so had some practice. But at 2 would have 3 hr lessons each morning so that would be about right I would say

allegretto Thu 14-Jan-16 18:24:01

We have just been skiing and my twins (6) decided they didn't want to do it so we went walking instead which I much preferred! I would let them decide how much they want to do before signing up for a long course - but I don't like skiing which of course is a bit different!

dontcallmethatyoucunt Thu 14-Jan-16 19:22:53

walking? shock shock grin

dontcallmethatyoucunt Thu 14-Jan-16 19:38:33

I just remembered one thing we have, ski ties. When you are carrying everyone's skis, something to hold them together is such an advantage as kids skis plus your own can be a a pain. I would def buy some. I managed to beg some from our local ski shop, but I would have paid.

allegretto Fri 15-Jan-16 13:34:00

Walking through the forests with a lovely mountain lodge for dinner at the end of the trail!

upto11 Fri 15-Jan-16 13:45:56

dontcall He'll be 5 in July but is quite hardy so hopefully he'll be OK for a longer session some days. Thanks for ski ties tip.

Art yes, I am going to go private now mainly because all the group lessons are gone! Private lessons seem to run for 2 hours so hopefully this will work out. Am baulking slightly at the cost I must say.

Thanks all. Am SO excited. Now to try and instil the same level of enthusiasm in DH!

PatriciaHolm Fri 15-Jan-16 14:04:48

Ours much preferred private lessons and got on much faster than with group lessons; they do cost more but the results far outweighed the extra, in our case. They've been skiing since they were 2 and the private lessons worked much more to their needs and skills (and wants, in that they went off piste/through trees etc) than a group of 1 instructor to 10-15 kids could ever do.

Artandco Fri 15-Jan-16 14:50:18

Mine have only had private lessons ( well together the two of them)

I'm always horrified by group lessons tbh when instructor skis off with 8 fastest and seems to leave the last few way back alone and often crying!

Private means you can book 2 hrs every day. Tell instructor that if he wants to stop after 60mins or 90 mins get hot chocolate or snowballs it's fine. You know they are happy for 2 hrs regardless. And they learn much quicker private. So 1 hr private is like 5 hrs group

citykat Tue 19-Jan-16 14:28:13

Sorry to butt in am a long time lurker on here. I am a regular skier who always wears sunglasses - tend to head for the bar at the first sign of bad weathergrin do children always wear goggles? Mine will be 12, 9 and 5. If they will always wear goggles is orange lens best to cater for what I hope will be brilliant sunshine at Easter? Any advice most welcome, thank you.

PatriciaHolm Tue 19-Jan-16 14:47:30

Mine always wear goggles and helmets. I think their lenses are orange though I could't swear to it!

Artandco Tue 19-Jan-16 14:52:45

Mine also always wear goggles and helmets skiing. They have a small thin rucksack with water camelback in and that fits a hard glasses case for sunglasses also. So when we stop at any point up mountain for food/ drinks outside they take helmets mad goggles off and put sunglasses on for a while. It's hard to eat on a really sunny day outside without as blinded

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 19-Jan-16 14:56:24

Book a babysitter so you can get out for at least one evening as adults and eat too much melted cheese.

Have fun - don't fixate too much on making learning to ski the be all and end all. It's not the end of the world if you all ski until a late lunch, come down off the mountain and go tobogganing or ice-skating. Ultimately you want them all to come back!

Recognise that they will be far more tired than usual and alter their routines so they get more sleep and snacks. I lost a half stone on my first ski trip as an adult. Once you get good you expend less calories but the first trip or two are hard work.

Possibly plan in a rest day or take full advantage if there's a snow day.

Give them €20 to spend on a silly hat / helmet cover if you are hiring everything.

Buy yourself a backpack as you will have to carry all their bits and bobs.

I think private lessons will get them further faster too.

If you are designated "holiday planner", plan your days / budget so you don't get home to comments from your DH about the cost of it all being equivalent to a luxury villa for 2 weeks in August. Depending on the resort it's perfectly possible to have fab sandwiches and coffees especially if it is sunny, cook at the chalet and eat out every other night/lunch. Trying to do it all as though you were still single and childless is punitive !!

lovetoskimum Tue 19-Jan-16 15:42:23

Me too a lurker !! smile

Tread, that is so so true, let the kids dictate the levels or how long you ski, defo for fun time, after all it is our passion not theirs until they can ski and enjoy it smile

agree for sandwiches etc, me and hubby have sandwiches and daughter has hot dogs and wraps etc, then lunch or meal out every other !!

God I am so excited, think it's going to be a long 5 weeks !!

vEGANvERA Tue 19-Jan-16 18:11:48

Think everything covered. We've just graduated to group lessons after doing a couple of years private lessons. Things i've added to my list for next year lol. Vacum pack bags for packing. Good hair conditioner for children. Funky neck buffs. Extra ski socks. Feet and hand warmers. Agree with most above esp snacks. Fun. Fun. Fun smile

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 20-Jan-16 12:46:43


I think that's tricky. As an adult I always wear sun glasses when it's blinding and my goggles in low light / snowy days. Keeps your face warmer too. I don't know what the best colour is as a hybrid but my husband's are orange and I can't see a thing in low light. Terrifying. If you want to go for a single pair only i would start a new thread and get advice for experienced skiers. Worth bearing in mind that you don't need to spend Oakley style cash on them either.

Goggles are easier for helmets though I think? I don't know as I've never worn one but once I go with my kids it won't be an option not to. Hoping to get there with them next year when they are old enough for lessons.

Slippers - bring slippers for everyone !

PatriciaHolm Wed 20-Jan-16 15:06:12

Just found a picture of DD and it would appear her goggles are brown lensed Oakleys. Mine are more multicoloured for all weathers and are Decathlon own brand; I think DS's are too.

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