It’s the question we get asked the whole time…
Here’s our take on when we think its best to get the little ones on the slopes. Its a difficult one so only you can decide based on your child’s development, learning ability and confidence.
Kids aged 3-30 months:
Nurseries & Kindergartens are a great option. ESF Club Piou Piou offers morning or all day sessions where childcare experts take care of introducing the kids to mountain life through games and laughter. Most of the leading French resorts have a dedicated nursery and our best recommendations for these would be Flaine, La Rosiere, Les Menuires, La Tania & La Plagne. Prices start at €244 for 6 half-days or €448 for 6 full-days.
From the age of 2:
In our honest opinion, two is still too young to ski. Those who live in The Alps may well start this young, however going too early just might ruin your ski days forever. Private lessons can start at 2.5-3 years old but it all depends on your child and their development. Bear in mind:
- Their physical ability.
- Their confidence & comfort around other children and adults.
- Their ability to listen to instructions.
Group ski lessons tend to start from the age of four but there is no definitive age that is perfect for each child to learn to ski. You know your child best and only you can decide when they should put on their first pair of skis or how many lessons they need. Whilst it may seem a great idea to offload your children all day every day, it will likely result in the final two days of your holiday being ruined. They just won’t make it through.
Book 6 half days to start them off. Or go private. Ski School will be IRO €193 & private lessons start from €54 for two hours. Our recommendations would be Les Arcs, Alpe d’Huez, Tignes & Courchevel. There is an extensive choice of ski school (including leading British ski school New Generation) and we highly recommend booking lessons through us well in advance of your holiday.
Get them accustomed to what’s coming:
Let’s face it, ski gear is awkward for us all. Consider getting your children used to the ski faff prior to your holiday. Although you are likely to be hiring equipment in resort, it is well worth getting them dressed up in multiple layers of clothing- goggles and all!
Ski schools need to be assured that your child can hold themselves upright otherwise a) they simply will not be able to do it and b) there’s too much risk of serious injury or broken bones. If you can get your hands on a pair of plastic skis, they will get a feel for the sliding motion and will likely develop balance along with some muscle strength.
Should you teach your child yourself?
No. Ski instructors are the professionals and they know what they’re doing. You can though help with your kid’s progression by being aware of how they react to their tuition. Once they are confident and having a good time, its amazing how quickly they will learn. If they look tired or have gone quiet on you, buy them a hot chocolate and take a break. If you rush them, frustration sets in for everyone and your kids will just decide that they hate it.
Its all about getting them to love skiing. During your holiday, spend quality time with them as a family; build a snowman, make snow angels or have a snow ball fight. All resorts have so much more to offer than skiing alone. Introduce variety such as tobogganing, horse-sleigh rides, huski-driving or ice-skating. Then you will have them hooked forever!