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Any sking experts, advice needed for newbies

8 replies

jenkel · 20/03/2006 16:52

Not sure if we are mad or not, but are considering going sking next year. DH and I have never skied and by then our kids will be 4 1/2 and 3. Where would it be good to for for complete beginners, can we hire everything including clothes or should we buy our own, if you hire clothes what do you need to wear underneath (I guess its just outerwear that your hire) and is it possible to pay for us to all have tuition together or would that not work too well. DS is a bit clingy and I couldnt see him going off on his own to do it in a kids class. See, I have no idea about this so any advice will be great.

OP posts:

Hazellnut · 20/03/2006 17:07

not an expert but been a number of times - I think you can hire everything but not sure where you'd hire clothes from - could you borrow from people ?? Depending on time of year, you'd need thermals and other tops/jumpers. If you go later you can probably manage without thermals (and with young children later, when its warmer would be better anyway). I would recommend, if you can afford it, private lessons and then you might be able to do it with teh children but I think children's beginner lessons and adult beginner lessons would be very different so don't think it would be such a good idea. Some resorts don't like under 4's - france in particular.

As for good resorts - have a look on \link{\ski club} They will have good beginner resorts - apparently La Rosiere is good for beginners and children especially.


LIZS · 20/03/2006 17:21

Would suggest you go in March rather than January as it will be appreciably warmer but snow conditions can be less certain (although good atm).

Austria is good for beginners - English widely spoken (you can get NZ and Aussie instructors !), good, friendly ski schools, picture box scenery etc. Andorra and Eastern Europe are cheaper but the latter particularly may not share the same degree of snow sureness, piste preparation or facilities. Choose a resort with other facilties such as a swimming pool in case you don't want to ski all week and you have somewhere to take the kids if the weather is bad.

You may be able to book a lesson as a family but not sure it is ideal with such young kids. You'd have to check with the ski school direct whether they are prepared to do it. Think you may find that your level varies quite quickly and kids tend to progress better with others their age as they have to learn to pick themselves up and be more independent and they do different exercies to find their balance and control. Check that the resort offers facilities for 3 year olds either Ski Kindergarten/Snow club or childcare, as not all would include that age in a group ski lesson and they can tire easily, and if you need to prebook. if you go with a UK tour operator they will do a lot of the basic organising for you, and your kids(and yourselves) may well find others going along to the same lesson.

You can hire clothing but tbh it isn't that pricey to get new especially if you get suits from Tchibo, H and M or TKMax and the kids can use separate jackets and fleeces anyway to which you can just add salopettes (ski dungarees). You can wear a layer of either cotton or fleece high neck top underneath and long underwear if it is cold (Milletts and other outdoor shops sell it, including for kids). Hire equipment , including helmets for the kids, over there so you can change it easily if you have problems.



frogs · 20/03/2006 17:29

I went with dd1 (age 10) in Feb. It was her first time, and I haven't been since childhood.

wrt to the ski gear, cheapy places like Lidl and Tchibo do ski stuff early in the year (Nov or so) which is worth keeping an eye out for. Most of dd1's gear came from Tchibo and wasn't brill quality, but perfectly okay. I borrowed mine from a friend. You need thermals (several pairs if you can round them up, as they do get a bit sweaty), salopettes or trousers, a fleece or two and a ski jacket. Also winter-quality walking boots, ski gloves, ski socks, hat, neck thing, goggles or serious sunglasses. Don't be shy about asking to borrow stuff -- most people don't ski for more than a week per year, so there's a lot of gear lying unused in cupboards the rest of the time! The skis, skiboots and helmet (if needed) can be hired.

We went to Austria which is meant to be friendlier than France, tho' we went with Mark Warner so hardly had to talk to the natives. For your first time I'd recommend going for something like MW (lots of people were complaining about Esprit on another thread, so maybe not with them) because it's all so easy everything done for you. The Austrians are pretty friendly, tho' the ski instructors are all different nationalities. If you do go, don't make the mistake I did and book St Anton it's a fab resort but has no green runs at all, and most of their blue runs would be red anywhere else! Tho if you're gung-ho it can work out -- dd1 was going down blue runs on her second day on skis!

I don't think joint classes for you and the kids will work, tbh. I had a couple of dry-ski lessons beforehand with dd1, but she's much older than your kids. I'd do a couple of lessons for you and dh before you go, just to get you into the swing of it and learn to snowplough etc. and then book the kids into ski-school or childcare.

Def go, it is the most fantastic fun!


Mfer · 20/03/2006 21:54

Ok the older ones both started at 41/2 - 5 - if you can afford it go for a couple of hours private tuition for the kids at the beginning of the week - well worth the money and will get them up and running. Larger resorts really cater well for little ones and if you go with MW or Ski Esprit they will look after the kids all day if they dont take to ski-ing! Ski Esprit in Les Gets is very good.
Clothing - ebay is a great source for first timers - I sell all mine on there. Good site especially now as they are all on sale are, and for the kids I would recommend all in ones not separates much warmer.

Also agree with Lisz to go in March, Jan, Feb much too cold and not nice for little people - we always go at Easter and have had fab snow andblue skies and sunshine but you have to go high - val d'isere, la Plagne etc etc. March you will be fine in most resorts and as you are beginners you may be better off with the smaller lesser know resorts.

Have to say its the best thing we did starting the kids off early - 11 year old now skis better than me and is a great buzz to ski down the mountain en famille - have fun


kitegirl · 20/03/2006 22:01

agree with Mfer - find a small family-friendly, lesser known resort, you probably are not looking for the nightlife of something like Val d'Isere, Meribel, Verbier or Chamonix and small resorts offer plenty of terrain for beginners! We've been with Mark Warner once and the childcare was fantastic.


snailspace · 20/03/2006 22:46

3 is young to start. progress will most likely be slow and will need a specialist ski school for tiddlers. Don't think a mixed class will work at all - the 3 year old will need a very gentle jardin de neige type environment for most of the week, maybe doing green or mild blue by the end. You will be on blue by day 2 and red by the end of the week most likely.

Lots of ski schools don't start until 5. As beginners yourselves you will not be able to help your youngsters and they will not have the stamina for all day skiing. So you will either need to all ski just half days (you would then want a resort with other attractions) or go somewhere with a creche/snow club for the youngsters for the rest of the day.

It will be hard work. To be honest I'd advise leaving it at least another year, probably 2. 5 year olds typically pick up skiing way faster than 3 years.


ernest · 21/03/2006 13:35

I'd also recommend Austria. Serfaus is a great resort and has fab. kiddie skiing facilities.


\link{\ski school}

\link{\a nice family hotel}

You could also try kinderhotels which I've just noticed being advertised. A lot of them do special skiing in the grounds of the hotel for the really little ones, ie your 3 yr old.

You can hire everything but the clothes.


EuroExpat · 23/03/2006 16:19

Kinderhotel in Unken near Salzburg has a nice baby ski slope right next to the hotel complete with magic carpet and mini ski lift to get little ones up the top. Also free use of lots of different types of sledges!

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