We had our first family ski holiday last year and we absolutely loved it! My husband has been skiing for years, but our children and I had never been, so planning a holiday that worked for everyone was really important to us. Here are some things that we considered before our first trip.
Things to consider for you first family ski holiday
Who are you going with
As my husband was a competent skier who was used to skiing with his dad and brother we decided to go as a big family, so people could spend time within their own families, or with people with similar skiing abilities. My sister-in-law and their two children hadn’t been skiing before either, so we were able to group together for lessons whilst the boys got to go and do some ‘proper skiing’. If you have friends or family you could go with this could be great for a first time, especially if you have children of similar ages who can play and learn together.
The various ski levels of the group will have a huge impact on where you will go and what you will do. If you have beginners in the group, you'll want a ski resort with good beginner slopes and ski schools. We decided to book a private ski instructor as it worked out easier and cheaper with us with two adults and 4 children of various ages learning to ski. This was a really great option for us as we could all learn together and weren’t worried about being needing to be at different places at different times.
Ski School and Childcare
Look for resorts with reputable ski schools, especially those offering lessons for children. Some resorts also offer childcare services for younger kids who may not be skiing. Ski schools do seem to get booked up really quickly, so it’s definitely worth trying to book into a ski school as soon as you book your trip.
Choose accommodation that suits your family's needs. Consider proximity to ski lifts, room configurations, and facilities like a kitchen or laundry. Staying ski-in/ski-out can be very convenient with kids. As this was our first time going and we weren’t sure what the children would think of it we paid a bit extra to stay in a hotel that had access to a swimming pool (to keep them entertained if they really hated skiing) and was ski-in/ski-out – which was really helpful.
Research ski equipment rental options. It might be more convenient and cost-effective to rent at the resort, especially for growing children who quickly outgrow gear. We decided to rent all of big ski equipment (ski’s, boots and helmets) and bought winter wear we could use at home.
Investigate lift pass options. Many resorts offer family passes or discounts for children. Check if the passes cover all the areas you plan to ski in.
Safety and Insurance
Skiing has inherent risks, so ensure everyone has appropriate safety gear, including helmets. It's also wise to have travel insurance that covers winter sports activities.
Clothing and Gear
Invest in good quality ski clothing and gear. Proper attire is essential for comfort and safety in cold, snowy conditions. Don't forget essentials like gloves, goggles, and sunscreen. I would definitely recommend taking lip balm or something like vasaline as we really struggled with dry lips from the altitude. We know lots of people who get great deals on places like Vinted for children’s ski gear, as they grow out of it so quickly.
Look into off-slope activities available at the resort, especially for non-ski days or for family members who don't ski. Many resorts offer activities like sledding, ice skating, or indoor pools. We also go some small snow ball makers, which my two loved using to make huge snowball pyramids.
Remember, the key to a successful family ski holiday is planning and ensuring that the needs of all family members are met. This way, everyone can have a fun and memorable experience.