If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who enjoy hitting the slopes with the kids on occasion, you’re certainly in good company. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were photographed earlier this year taking Prince George and Princess Charlotte on their first trip to the magical winter wonderland of the French Alps – a trip that little ones are destined to cherish forever.
For some people, their first experience on the slopes is the beginning of a lifelong love affair with winter sports; it goes to follow that, as a parent, you want to introduce your children to the exhilarating world of skiing by showcasing it in its best possible light. From vibrant Alpine villages to the snow-clad peaks of Colorado, the world offers a myriad of exciting ski destinations to explore with your kids. Here are a few top tips to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible:
Pick the right clothing
The key difference when it comes to packing for a ski trip compared to the average beach holiday is that if you’re not careful, your cases can be packed fit to burst with bulky items. It pays to be organised when planning a winter break with the kids to ensure all those fleecy jackets and woolly leggings fit into your case. In general, expect to pack a variation of the clothes you would pack for yourself. Several thin layers are preferable so that you can adjust the temperature according to exertion and the weather – over-dressing children can be just as detrimental as under-dressing out on the slopes. Thermals are an essential base layer as they draw any excess moisture away from the body, ensuring your little ones don’t get chilly after they’ve worked up a sweat. Additionally, investing in quality ski socks, gloves, a hat and a waterproof ski jacket or suit made out of breathable fabrics is an important task to tick off for your list.
Rent, don’t buy
As tempting as it may be to rush out and kit your children up to the nines for their first ski trip, remember that it is much more cost effective to rent equipment when you reach your resort. Otherwise you may well find that those expensive boots or skis you’ve purchased have been outgrown by the time you embark on your next trip.
Even if you harbour a secret fantasy of teaching your kids to ski and watching them progress under your wise tutelage and patient eye, the fact of the matter is that you probably won’t do as good a job as a professional instructor. Of course, if your children are young, you might want to stay with them and help out a bit – just remember to relax and let the teacher do their job! If your whole family could do with lessons, why not book a private session and enjoy some bonding time?
As a parent, you might think this goes without saying. But we are, of course, talking about protecting your children from the elements – namely, the sun. The chilly climes can be deceptive, snow glare and bright sunshine can cause sunburn without high factor protection. A lip balm with SPF is also important as the sun’s rays coupled with the wind and cold temperatures can cause tender mouths to get chapped and sore. Remember eye protection, too – goggles or sunglasses are useful both on and off the slopes.
Keep the focus on fun
When your children are learning to ski, try to keep the emphasis on fun rather than progress. Remember that little ones may get cold and tired much quicker, particularly when exposed to all the excitement and stimulation a winter holiday can offer. If you let your children’s attitude and ability set the pace for the day, they are much more likely to have an enjoyable experience and want to continue to learn. It’s a great idea to mix up time on the slopes with other winter holiday experiences – after all, variety is the spice of life. Some resorts might offer activities such as ice-skating, zip-lining or sledding, but making snow angels, snowball fights and building snowmen can be just as fun.
Finally, don’t forget that winter holidays tend to require specialist travel insurance plans in order to ensure your family is properly covered should a mishap occur on the slopes. It might not be the most fun element of planning a holiday, but it is one of the most important.