The last time I strapped on a pair of skiing boots and felt the exhilarating rush of traversing down the slopes was back when I was a teenager on an Austria skiing holiday with school. So – quite some time ago, and ever since, I’ve been wanting to take the family on a first time skiing holiday. Perhaps it’s because, at heart, my husband and I are sun-worshippers, which is why hotter climates make the cut when it comes to choosing our family trips. Or because by the time Monkey was old enough to learn, I fell pregnant again. That said, I am a thrill-seeker and it’s about time I get in on some skiing action and take the boys so they can learn while they’re young.
Tips For Families Booking A First time Skiing Holiday
But with so many ski resorts and ski companies in the UK offering family skiing holidays, what essential planning tips and items that need to be considered before booking your first time skiing trip? It is quite an overwhelming prospect and with so much information at your fingertips, it can be hard to gather concrete information all in one place. So instead of spending hours searching around, I’ve done it for you and rounded up some expert advice from those in the know.
Book well in advance
Parentshaped’s Penny Alexandar warns: “Because skiing is seasonal and many families are limited to school holidays, deals to popular family-friendly resorts can go quickly. Planning your first time skiing trip can feel like a bit of a whirlwind, so do book well ahead – allow time to compare options and find the best resort for your family. Look out for children go free deals, too.”
The price is right…
When you add up the total cost of a family skiing holiday – the ski passes, ski lessons, ski equipment, transport, accommodation and spending costs – it’s enough to make anyone’s eyes water. Skiing isn’t a cheap past time, however, there are many ways in which you can save on costs as Lisa Jane from Travel Loving Family points out. Shopping around and not accepting your first quote is one piece of advice, as well as considering driving to the ski resort instead of flying. Lisa also explains that timing is also important:
“The most expensive time to go skiing is New Year and the February half term holidays. My top tip is to consider the Easter school holidays – the first week of the Easter holidays can be as much as £500 cheaper per person than going in the February half term holidays. The second week of the Easter holidays is even cheaper. Generally, a Christmas ski holiday is a lot cheaper than a New Years’ ski holiday. The Easter holidays are very late in the ski season so it’s important to travel to high altitude ski resorts. Some resorts don’t open this late in the season but the ones that do offer brilliant deals at this time of the year.
If you have a toddler like me who is unable to ski just yet, what then? There are many companies who offer childcare options from nurseries to nannies or chalet childcare. It’s about finding the right package. And Penny agrees: “If you have a mix of experiences or very young children who won’t be able to keep pace with the grown-ups, look for in chalet childcare and/or ski schools with really great reviews from parents and consider the language of the staff looking after your child. Ask friends with similar age kids about their experiences and what they recommend.”
Look Beyond The Slopes…
Helen Wills from Actually Mummy says: “We ski a lot with the kids, and have done since my youngest was five. My tip would be to choose a resort or accommodation based on how much there is to do beyond the slopes. Most decent resorts have nursery slopes for beginners, and good instruction for children, so I’d focus on whether there is a swimming pool, an ice rink, a soft play, or some other snow activities like sledding.”
It can be exhausting for kids
Helen continues: “Whilst kids usually enjoy skiing, it is exhausting, and they often can’t handle a full day on the slopes. So you need to know there are other things to do. A lot of ski resorts have nothing beyond skiing – I learned that the hard way when I broke my knee early into a week in St Anton! Failing that, make sure you take DVD’s and devices so they can have some downtime when they need it!
Get the correct gear
There is one consensus that all our experts agree on and this is that the right skiing gear is paramount. From specialist gloves and socks to keep hands and feet from freezing temperatures to plenty of thermal layers, and decent helmet and goggles, which can be easily removed – try not to scrimp on the correct clothing. There are many high street shops and even supermarkets that sell good quality skiing gear, but if you’re not keen on shelling out hundreds of pounds in one go, then consider renting your clothing, instead.
The Family Adventure Project Kirstie Pelling’s post for first-time skiers’ popular advice when it comes to skiing gear is – it’s all about keeping warm: “A cold kid is a miserable kid. Keep them warm, make sure everything is tucked in and they’ll enjoy it more.”
The Right Resort is Key
From finding a resort with a ski-lift and slopes within walking distance from your accommodation to those which are not so overly priced including Bavaria and the Dolomites, Emma Raphael from A Bavarian Sojourn, explains that choosing the right ski resort can make or break your first time skiing trip. She also urges families to consider self-catering options. “Self-catering is often the easiest option for a family group. Most resorts have good supermarkets so you can cook what you like, when you like. After evening arrives, you can pack exhausted children off to bed, while you get on with the all-important apres ski!”
Go With the Flow
Emma also urges families to try and go with the flow: “You are bound to be nervous at times, it’s not all that natural to strap planks to your feet and chuck yourself down a mountain, but I promise that once you have mastered a few basics, and have gained confidence, you will experience some of the highest exhilaration levels ever, breathe some of the cleanest air on the planet, and witness some of the some of the most stunning scenery that Mother Nature has to offer.”
Do you have any other tips for those first timers looking for family skiing holidays? Do let me know…
Disclosure: This post may contain compensated links.*