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Recommendations for skiing with 4 and 6 year old(8 Posts)
We're good skiiers and have been with Esprit in the past with baby/toddler and really enjoyed having full day childcare to ski and lunch in peace as a couple. Stopped a few years because frankly, neither child really enjoyed the cold, kitting up for "lessons" (which were pointless mucking about in an ESF outdoor creche), not getting much attention from us...
Now they're a bit older I'm eyeing up a Crystal package with half or full day kids club that includes lessons I think. I feel a bit guilty to put them in childcare full day for our annual holiday. Equally they're not quite the age to enjoy slopes together. What do others do with children this age?
Or should I hold off for another few years? I reckon at maybe 6 and 8 they could 'get' it very quickly and we can hit proper slopes together.
Also is it cheaper to arrange directly with ski school? I fancy Italy or Austria for a change as we've been going to France for a decade.
We waited until children were 6 and 10 before we went. They'd had a course of lessons (about 10hrs) at a local snow dome. We arranged 2 x 3hr private lessons for the children in resort so we had a couple of mornings without them, but otherwise skied as a family throughout. It was brilliant.
We went with grandparents and other family members, so could take turns to look after the dc, and avoided having to use childcare. Ds went in ski school 9-12 from age 6. Dd was a little reluctant at first, so had a few private lessons at age 8 and then ski school from age 10 - although we ski with friends so, from that age, she has had the company of friends' dd who has done classes with her. I think it depends very much on each of your kids, and how keen they are on skiing. Ds couldn't wait, but dd had to be gradually introduced to it with much encouragement (although loves it now at 15).
I agree with @stringbean that it does very much depend on your kids. My two are both very shy and dont enjoy big busy social ski lessons but some children can't get enough!
Going with grandparents or auntie or friends is a great idea if you can, but obviusly not everyone is in a lucky situation where they can call on someone. You could maybe go to a resort where you could find a private nanny to hire for a few hours each day so you can still get your ski fix but also spend time with your kids. If you have 2 kids its a bit more economical and may not cost much more than the ski clubs. There are lots in the main French and Austrian resorts but not so sure about Italy. I had a few contacts so let me know if you want me to look into it I can dig out for you.
I do think its really important to somehow get them to want to ski though and not force it too much. Its easy for them to be miserable when its too cold and wet and they are tired. Always good to leave them wanting more!
We went for the first time ever this year. The children were 8 and 6. They went into full day lessons so were dropped off around 0930 (lessons started officially at 10, but if all were present, they'd start early). Then we met them for lunch wherever the instructor told us to be on the mountain at 12. They then went back to lessons 1-3pm. Some families in the group only had their children in for the morning. The ages of the children in the group ranged from 4 to 9 inclusive.
What about doing a half day? Maybe with their lunch included if it's a childcare package? Then spend the afternoon playing on the nursery slopes together or in the pool or whatever is at your accommodation? Although our DC were in lessons all day, one of their favourite parts of the day was being on the nursery slopes with us afterwards and showing us what they'd learned. Plus it gave them the chance to play with skiing. My 8 year old just worked in his speed. The faster the better in everything in life for him, and my 6 year old once went from the top to the bottom of the nursery slopes backwards 'because that's what Luuk (instructor) does'. I stayed close to him, keeping very close eye on him, but the slope was quiet enough that he could have fun with it and not bother anyone.
There'll be plenty of years where you can ski together on the long runs, these are the years to play on the little ones. We found that the nursery slopes was all but deserted in the afternoon, so we could have races, play games etc.
We totally changed our approach to ski holidays when we took our little one - we spent a year from age 4 of him having lessons in the snow dome so he could ski really well and loved it. First year we took him to Finland and it was lovely - very gentle and family focused runs and skied all together. Last year we went to Kaprun in Austria and all stayed together - he could ski all but the last bit of the glacier with us and we loved the family slope. We slowed down and enjoyed it so much with him - he would have hated being on holiday and without us and it meant less doing for us but I reckon loads more fun. He’s 6 and skied pretty much until 3 each day and then partied at apres with us and fell asleep by 6pm each night!! We are booked with Crystal for Kaprun again in December (fingers crossed). Everyone is different but it’s really worked for us and like others have said so many more years to go higher and faster!!
We did 3 months in Les Arcs last season (2018 - 19) when our daughter was just 4. It took her 3 days to learn to ski enough to follow us around on green slopes (2 hours private lessons each day). She then did a week of normal ski school with other kids, even though she was the smallest by a long way. After that she didn't need any more lessons, she was off down reds. By the end of the 3 months she was doing anything we did, and frankly more than me - she loved boardercross (on skis).
We had to do a lot of stopping for hot chocolates and frites, and we had mini Twixes and stuff on us all the time for bribery if necessary.
If we hadn't done the long time in the mountains, we had decided we were going to suck up a loss of our normal ski holiday to teach her properly for a week. Her dad is an instructor, but she won't listen to him. The private lessons were the business - 280 euros for the 6 hours, up to 3 children with Evo 2 - it's the same price for ESF in France though.
We took her when she was 3 on a Crystal half term trip to Claviere, which was where she first stood on skis, but she much preferred being in the kids club, which was totally brilliant. She had an amazing time. We took her out every afternoon (or after lunch) for an hour or so to play on skis, but she was mostly uninterested. A year later she couldn't wait to get out on skis.
My nephews came out to stay with us last year too, they were 6 and 8 a the time - they did the same 3 days worth of 2 hour 'private' lessons. We put some work in with them around the lessons, but they were skiing down blues (at speed!) by the end of the third day. If they'd had that twice, they'd have been away completely.
It really depends on the child as well. My oldest daughter coped fine with morn ski school at 4.5 yrs my youngest it wasn’t until she was 6 that she started to get it. We did a mix of paying more for a small group 4-5 kids English instructor & private lesson for when bit older. Gutted we had our March holiday cancelled this year hoping can go Feb HT as tied to flipping school hols now our oldest is 13. The afternoons were a mixture of chilling out and playing about with both girls which we all enjoyed. Love it as a family holiday as we all really enjoy skiing.
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