Hooray it’s nearly December! I am getting, very, very excited about the forthcoming ski season, as are Toby and Livi, who have been on skis since they were three. Many families think skiing doesn’t work as a holiday when you have young children, or that it is going to be horrifically expensive, and even some keen skiers don’t bother with skiing until their children are a bit older.
Skiing doesn’t have to be ball-breaking expensive if you choose your timing and resort carefully, and there are now many companies which offer brilliant childcare facilities. I’m writing several articles about skiing with children for The Express and Parentdish at the mo which I will link to once they are live but in the meantime, here are my top tips for skiing with children.
* If your children are not at school or you can bear to take them out, go skiing during the first two weeks of January. It’s cheap, snow will usually be excellent and the slopes will be uncrowded.
* If you and your partner both want to ski, book childcare in advance – otherwise you may be setting yourself up for a very frustrating time.
* Ski companies which offer childcare include Esprit Ski, Club Med, Mark Warner, Ski Scott Dunn, Family Ski and Chilly Powder – there are many more. Esprit is usually the cheapest (which is why we went with them twice.) Kinderhotels are also excellent.
* Most resorts have an independent creche – this is what we used as the children got older.
* Most resorts will take children in group lessons from the age of three, although some will do so from two and in others, they have to be four. They will usually need to be out of nappies.
* Buggies do not work well in snow – if you are taking a baby, take a backpack.
* Make sure your child has proper ski equipment, especially good thermals, ski gloves (or mittens) and a helmet (this can be hired in resort). H&M is usually a good bet for well-priced ski kit.
* Put chocolate bars in the pockets of your children’s ski jacket for energy, along with a note of your name and mobile phone number in case they get lost.
* Try to book accommodation which is ski in, ski out – or at least close to the lifts and pistes. Skis are heavy and walking in ski boots is difficult for little legs.
I have devoted an entire chapter to skiing with children in my book Travelling with Children: A Parent’s Guide.