Skiing With Children – Advice for Planning a Great Family Ski Holiday

Skiing has to be one of the most active, mainstream family holidays going. Each day stepping out to breathe in that fresh mountain air, the sound of snow under your feet and the prospect of a hearty alpine meal at the end of a hard days skiing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take a ski holiday with your children?

If you skied pre children, you probably saw crocodile files of young children from France, Italy and the like, snaking their way down the mountains. Do you remember wondering how on earth they turn and plough with natural ease without even looking where they were going while you took your first shaky kneed journey down the nursery slope? Children obviously have a natural aptitude for learning and learning to ski seems to be no exception.

Let’s not kid ourselves; skiing is by no means a cheap holiday. Between the accommodation, flights, ski hire, lessons and all the warm weather ski gear you need, it all mounts up. So your decision to ski as a family should be well considered and planned to suit the whole family. Here are a few things for you to consider before you book to get the most from your holiday.

Managing expectations: yours not theirs.

The main consideration for skiing with young children has to be how much time they are likely to be able to ski for and this is what we mean by managing expectations. In time, you’ll be able spend lengthy days exploring the slopes as a family, but for 3 or 4 year olds, they may not have the strength to manage much more than an hour or two on skis each day. This means careful consideration of ski lessons for children and choosing a family friendly ski resort that suits you.

Private ski lessons for children versus children’s ski school

Ski lessons in some resorts are available for children as young as 3 or 4 but are they ready at that age to join a structured ski class? Neilson ski holidays recommend not prebooking 3 or 4 year olds into the normal ski school classes until they are at least 5 years old. They suggest shorter lessons which you can always change once you have a better idea of how your youngster is coping.

Although private ski lessons are more expensive, you of course get a much more tailored ski lesson and your child will have the full attention of the instructor, often taking their first journey down the slopes safely tucked between the legs of the instructor and later, holding a pole. You should find you’ll need less tuition for your child to progress in a private ski lesson than in a ski class. Search around for good priced tuition, but most valuable of all is a recommendation; if someone recommends a ski instructor to you get the booked as soon as you can.

Family Friendly Ski Resorts

Many holiday companies highlight their favourite family ski resorts, but many ski resorts are suitable for families. Really, it depends on the experience of the skiers in your family and the ages of your children, and whether you need childcare at all. Child care is offered by the ski package companies and by the resorts locally. You can choose from half day to full day care, including or excluding ski lessons. You’ll need to consider what’s best for your children based on how you feel they’ll settle. If the structured child care doesn’t suit, private nannies are available in most ski resorts. Or how about going skiing with other families so you can take turns in taking some adult time on the slopes?

Perhaps the best ski resorts for families are those with plenty of other things to do, given that you probably won’t be skiing all day. Some ski resorts offer many different winter activities such as dog sledding or ice skating and many hotels offer swimming pools and other child friendly facilities. The Hotel Ferienguit in Ellmauhof Austria for example, as well as having a great children’s swimming pool also has an onsite farm including free pony rides.


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