The family that skis together stays together. Or at least they should if some careful planning takes place and some good decisions are made in advance about how best to tackle the snow. Every family is different; however, there are some common threads that apply to everyone who decides to venture to the snowfields. With that in mind here are the top eight things that you need to consider before packing up the whole family and heading off on your ski adventure.
Yes, you might be taking a bit of a risk with the snow and weather conditions, but significant deals can be had if you book your trip in advance. Families generally need to be organised and plan ahead anyway, so this one shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re not locked into school holidays, consider heading to the slopes in the shoulder seasons rather than during the peak for even more savings, plus you get the bonus of an increased chance of better weather and longer days.
Choose an appropriate resort and accommodation that matches your family make-up.
Whilst all Australian resorts will cater for families with children, there is a surprising amount of terrain diversity in the mountains on offer. So it’s important to go for one that is commensurate with your families skiing abilities and budget. Do your research and select a lodge or apartment that is going to meet your needs. Need childcare? Free WiFi to keep the teenagers happy? Baby change and feeding facilities a must? Is it a quiet private apartment that you’d like, or a communal lodge where the kids can find playmates and you can share evenings with other families? There are plenty of options available and making the right choice will make a big difference.
Get your gear right.
Being cold can be miserable and spoil a holiday, and kids are more susceptible to the cold than adults are. Make sure the whole family has the appropriate clothes and that everyone, especially the children, are dressed in layers that provide insulation and weather protection. Layers can also be taken off and put back on as conditions change throughout the day. Pay attention to socks that won’t give you blisters, gloves for warm and dry hands, goggles for eye protection and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Helmets are a great idea for the whole family, but are essential for kids. In fact at many resorts you may even find that they are compulsory. Not only will you stay warm and cosy with your head in a helmet, you will also give protection from impacts with unforgiving obstacles like trees, rocks, ice or other skiers. Remember skiing and snowboarding are dangerous, and everyone takes a tumble at some stage, so take adequate precautions.
Of course you’re organised, you’re used to getting the whole family ready in a whirlwind of chaos and out the door for school every morning, or for Saturday sport or just to go shopping. Well multiply that whirlwind by about three and that is a typical ski morning. Gloves, beanies, goggles and lift passes can disappear quicker than socks in the washing machine. Carrying skis and walking in ski boots is hard work for big people, let alone for little children. Everything takes longer so be prepared and give yourself the opportunity to maximise your time on snow.
Limit your children’s time on snow.
Yes, skiing can be a whole lot of fun but it is also tiring and being cold exacerbates this. Be aware of how long your kids are exposed to the elements wearing heavy boots and cumbersome gear and set appropriate limits so they don’t get worn out.
Ski School is a winner for everyone.
Your kids get taught how to ski properly, they get to socialise with other children, they get fed, they have adequate supervision and you get some time to yourself to go skiing. Everybody wins. Better yet, there’s nothing stopping you from taking advantage of lessons yourself to iron out any kinks in your technique and that way you’ll spend more time carving turns than crashing. Many resorts offer packages that include accommodation, lift passes and lessons, so keep your eyes peeled and you may snag a bargain.
Not all of the action needs to be on the slopes.
Competition for the family dollar is fierce so tour operators, hotels and resort managements often offer activities beyond barrelling down blue runs. Likely activities could include tobogganing, treasure hunts, quizzes, games or DVDs and storytelling. The upshot of taking advantage of these is that parents can enjoy some free time for themselves – this is supposed to be a holiday after all.
So book ahead and look for deals, do your research, have the right gear, get lessons and take advantage of après-ski options for kids entertainment and supervision, and your whole family will be assured of not only skiing well but also holidaying well.
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