Skiing With Toddlers and Younger Children
Image Credit: Maxwell Ingham
Give a chance, kids can LOVE to ski. However planning a ski holiday with babies or very young children requires lots of planning.
Tess Bradshaw of Little Skiers has been taking her children skiing since the oldest was a baby, so here are her tips for skiing with younger children and toddlers, the best times to book, how to choose a kid-friendly snow resort and what childcare options to consider for your ski break.
- DO BOOK IN LOW-SEASON if you can. It reduces costs as well as having less queuing for the ski lifts. If you’re booking late in the season you need a high altitude resort, good late season resorts worth considering are: Tignes, France, Yllas, Finland, Obergurgl, Austria, Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
- DO RESEARCH the ski resorts and their pistes. Some resorts are geared to families and others simply not. Check www.littleskiers.co.uk for a list of resorts to consider, there’s also a page of emailed advice and recommendations from other parents.
- DO RESEARCH THE SKI SCHOOLS, it will be money well spent. Choose schools with "learn and playground" areas. They have training aids devised from the newest technology, such as conveyor belts (important so little ones don’t get tired), carousels and tunnels, ensuring your child has great fun!
- DO CHECK SKI SCHOOL TIMES
Austrian ski schools - 10am to 12pm, break for lunch, then 1 - 3pm.
French ski schools - morning or afternoon lessons
Italian ski schools - 10am until 1pm, often till 4pm on the last 2 days
- DO CHECK YOUR HOTEL THOROUGHLY, they can really vary and this is where Specialist Travel Agents can advise you. Think about eating times, baby monitors, crèches and evening clubs. It has to work for you and the children…
- DO CONSIDER CHALETS if a group of you are going, it’s more sociable in the evenings while your children can sleep upstairs. Often with roaring fires, cooked evening meals and maybe afternoon tea, chalets can be very relaxing.
- DON’T LEAVE CHILDCARE TILL THE LAST MINUTE it books up quickly! Many hotels & chalets offer some level of childcare, from private nannies to on-site crèches and kindergartens. We have heard stories of bored children who don't understand the language, so establish what activities are available and what languages they speak. Some travel companies provide children’s clubs run by experienced English speaking nannies, taking infants from 6 months to 4 years (approx. £100 for 6 morning or afternoons) and children from 3-11 years, taking and collecting your child from ski school, adding valuable time to your available skiing time.
- DON’T SKIMP ON SKI CLOTHING
Cheap clothing will not keep then dry and warm. You need good quality specialist ski clothing and technical ski socks to prevent blisters and bruising to the shins. The clothing can be expensive but they make excellent coats for the rest of the winter and often last two holidays.
- DON’T FORGET SAFETY
Helmets are a legal requirement. They are best bought from a shop where you have tried them on (and the child can take them off themselves), with rented helmets you can’t guarantee safety. Buy good quality double lens ski goggles that wont fog up, affecting their vision.
About the Author: Tess Bradshaw runs Little Skiers, a family business whose aim is to provide quality advice and products to make your family skiing holiday an unforgettable experience. Visit their website Little Skiers for more detailed advice and ski clothing.
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About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!