Choosing your first family ski trip
Posted on 27th Apr 2017
Parents who are keen skiers are always eager to get back out on the slopes again, but sometimes a little unsure when the children would most benefit from their first family ski trip and don’t know where to start.
If you get your first ski trip right, your kids will be bowled over by an out of this world experience and desperate to get back on the slopes each season. They will be keen to go back and experience it over and over, and with a bit of well planned encouragement and nurture they will develop a lifelong love of the mountains and skiing.
Most resorts will start taking children in their ski school from the age of four, but you could also consider staying somewhere with some childcare options so that your kids don’t have to be skiing all the time that you intend to be. If your child is younger (between around age 4 – 6) the 2 hour ski school session in the morning will most likely take quite a bit out of them. They will need a long break at lunchtime to warm up, recharge their batteries and have a chill out. If they are tired and not keen to go back to skiing in the afternoon it is important to take this on board and not force it as you may risk turning them off the ski experience.
Staying somewhere with lots of facilities like a swimming pool or games room, kids club or other activities for children to enjoy in the afternoon or evening is a real benefit and worth considering when you are planning your trip. It may cost a little more but is a real investment.
If the kids are older then you can meet for lunch after ski school and then help them practice what they have learnt. This can be such a rewarding experience – take it gently and make sure you avoid any tricky runs and lifts the kids may find daunting at first. Make your time with them as much fun as possible and get your more exhilarating skiing done in your own time while they are at ski school!
Private or group lessons?
Most children love to have group lessons. They meet other children, make friends and the sessions are planned to be lots of fun while learning. Group lessons are particularly good for older children who are more independent. Group lessons are also more cost effective.
Those who would benefit most from private lessons are the much younger children (4-5 years) and also those who may be more inhibited by being in a class with new people – they may prefer one to one tuition to really bloom in an environment they are comfortable in. You may also want siblings of a similar age to have a private lesson together if you find the age bands in the ski school will mean them being separated. ( However lessons will be based on ability too and consider how different a child’s ability is according to their age before you book a private lesson for a 4 and 12 year old together! ).
When should we go?
Easter is a great time for younger families to go skiing as it’s often milder and the days are lighter longer. Prices are much more favourable than half term and the slopes are quieter.
A Christmas ski trip is likely to be one of your children’s fondest first memories and nothing makes Christmas more Christmassy than snow! Choose a high up snow-sure resort at Christmas time to be sure of the white stuff.
Half term is the most snow-sure time to take your kids to the slopes but you need to book early to get the flight and accommodation to suit you, it’s the most popular week of the season and things sell out very early on.
Best ski holiday types for families
Take a chalet with other families
If you go as a group of families your children will have playmates with them and you can either choose an option with childcare included, or you can tag team with the other parents to ensure everyone gets a decent amount of skiing. You also get to enjoy a sociable evening with friends or can opt for a babysitter for a night out. Choose a chalet with the correct number of rooms and you get sole use of the whole chalet.
Chalet with childcare
Stay in a chalet with its own childcare staff. Your kids will be taken and picked up from ski school and a nanny can look after infants and those too young to ski. They also offer babysitting services in the evening.
All Inclusive Village
Tots Too work with Club Med who have a highly successful tried and tested formula when it comes to family ski trips. Their resorts are All Inclusive and geared towards having everything ready and available for families. Lessons and lift passes are included and ready for you on arrival, and there are plenty of non ski activities to keep the kids busy. Lessons are particularly good for the younger ones with instructors letting them get used to snow and snow play and slowly easing them into ski.
Hotels with kids clubs
These hotels are not always easy to find and book, but we have searched out the best of the best and they certainly make things easier for skiing parents. Drop your children at the kids club after breakfast then you are free to pick up your skis and head to the slopes knowing your kids are in safe hands.
Hotels and apartments with private nanny option
Tots Too can arrange private nannies for you in resort. You can book all day childcare, or you can chose to book a shorter day 9 -14.00 giving you enough time to have a good ski and lunch in the mountain before you return back down.
Take the grandparents!
If you choose a hotel with some impressive facilities in a resort with lots to do, you may find the grandparents will jump at the chance to have a trip with their grandchildren and pitch in with the child care.
Should they learn before they go?
This is the million dollar question that parents ask a lot. There is no right or wrong answer here it depends very much on the child, your budget and your schedule before you go. It’s certainly a great advantage to have your child already familiar with skiing and even better if they excel at it and you find yourselves skiing with them on your trip.
There are some great benefits to having lessons before you go at an indoor ski centre and if you time it right and book your trip early, the Snow Centres offer some great deals over the summer. Hemel Snow Centre run a summer offer where parents can find their ski legs again with a free lift pass while their children have their lessons. Some snow centres also offer ‘snow play’ session where toddlers get to spend a few hours playing in the snow, tobogganing and getting used to the colder snow environment.
The benefits of waiting until you arrive are also plentiful. There will be much bigger, wider and quieter runs for them to learn on and of course it’s the real thing. You may also find it more cost effective in resort but again it does depend a great deal on where you are going and when.
Where should we go?
When planning your family ski trip choose a resort which has:
Quieter slopes and minimum lift queues
Easy nursery slopes (magic carpets are good for the very young)
Ski school with a good reputation
Plenty of non ski activities
Hotel Annova, Montgenevre, France (Hotel with bookable private nanny)
Club Med, Cervinia, Italy (All Inclusive village)
Chalet Nicole, La Plagne, France (Private chalet with in-house childcare)
Hochfirst, Obergurgl, Austria (Hotel run kids club)
Chalet Hotel Nevalhaia, Vars, France (Chalet hotel available for sole use for 14)
For further advice, information and prices call us on 020 3797 4007« Back to blog home