Skiing with Children? Read our Top Tips
This season there will be many families skiing with children that will embark on what can seem like the arduous and expensive journey to teach their children how to ski. The keen skiers will pray that their off spring will take to it like a duck to water, eventually fulfilling the dream of skiing together as a family. The following top tips will help:
1. Before you go skiing with children, go to an artificial snow dome – this sounds an odd thing to do if you are going to the real thing – but what it achieves is the introduction of the principle of skiing (which, let’s face it, is a pretty odd thing to do!) and gives them an idea of the feeling of them on skis on snow. The lessons at the snow domes are pretty good, and less expensive than lessons in resort.
2. Once in the ‘real’ snow, make sure that your child is warm enough – this is probably the most critical thing to get right – a child who is cold will not enjoy skiing, and will soon hate it. Because a child is smaller than an adult, a child loses bodily warmth much quicker than an adult – so it is imperative that you wrap your children up. All the usual rules apply, but apply them rigorously: lots of layers, good gloves, warm socks, keeping the head warm. Thermals are a must – top and bottom; a pair of inner gloves and a balaclava may seem excessive, but are very effective. Too many layers is way better than too few layers.
3. Familiarise your child with ski boots – they will probably be the most alien thing that your child will have ever put on their feet – so let them get used to them. Put them on well before the first lesson, get your child to stomp around in them, and get a feel for them. A great tip is to leave the boots on a boot warmer or on top of a radiator (beware of fire risk) the night before – this will not only mean that the boots are warm when they put them on, but also the plastic of the ski boot is much softer, making it much, much easier to put on.
4. Be patient and take it slowly – you may want your child to be the next Tomba, but it will take time, so don’t project your championship expectations on to them too early – gentle encouragement will go a long way. Encourage them to fall over as it means that they do not view it as a failure. When you pick your child up from ski school, overly enthuse about it, and it will hopefully result in your child sharing with you their achievements that day. Also remember that being a beginner skier is a pretty exhausting thing, so don’t force them to go skiing immediately after their lesson if they don’t want to – much better to have lunch/chill out time, and then get them back on the snow.
5. Choose the right ski school – the ski school you choose should reflect your child’s temperament. Don’t automatically opt for the National Ski School e.g. ESF (Ecole de Ski France) or ESS (Ecole de Ski Suisse) just because that it where you learned how to ski 30 years prior – a lot has changed. If your child is a bit older, has been in school for a few years, and is good at taking instruction, ESF or ESS may be the schools for them. But there are a lot of excellent alternative ski schools that you can choose from, that generally have smaller class sizes, better English and a more sympathetic style of teaching. They may be a little more expensive, but it could be a very good investment. With all ski schools you should not wait until you get to resort to book the lessons, as there is limited availability, especially for school holiday weeks. Book them at the same time you book your skiing holiday.
6. Ask your children’s teachers where they take them on the mountain. Often, you might want to return to their favourite slopes after a class with the child taking the lead, giving them the sense that they are showing you the mountains.
7. Pack a few little extras into the pockets of your child – a few chocolates zipped into your child’s ski jacket will give them a much needed energy boost at some point during the lesson, as well as something that they can share with other children in their class. I would also recommend giving your child a small amount of money (€10) just in case they need it. Also, put your business card or a bit of paper with your telephone number on it, for the very very rare occasion that your child get’s lost on the mountain, or perhaps write your mobile number on their arm – they can at least show this to someone on the mountain who can call you. It gives you peace of mind as well.
8. The fetching and carrying of tired children plus their skis and sometimes poles along with your own can often prove a challenge as you run out of arms. A great piece of equipment is a backpack designed with particular clasps either side of it intended for clipping on little skis, freeing up a few fingers at least.
Above all else have fun with them, when their legs are tired switch to taking a toboggan out instead, or building a good old snowman. Many children also really enjoy seeing themselves on skiing and seeing themselves fall over so a GoPro camera or a normal camera on a phone may be the perfect extra touch to help them to keep trying!
Did you know? with a Powder White holiday, you can book child sitting services to look after the children while you have some time out. You can also book entertainment from movies to games consoles or use the laptop computer in the chalet to help keep the kids busy during the evenings.
Ask about our holiday extras when making our booking or you can add them to your holiday when you log in to manage your holiday, just click ‘extras’.
If you would like more assistance or accommodation advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our holiday experts below.