Are you thinking of planning your first family skiing holiday or heading off to the slopes this half-term? We asked Paul from Family-Trips.co.uk everything you need to know about skiing with kids.
Absolutely. There are lots of options for parents with babies and toddlers.
Chalets & Chalet-hotels – Mark Warner, Esprit and Neilson are UK Family ski holiday operators who offer child-care for babies from around 4 months upwards. Usually in on-site creches in the hotel or chalet complex. Club Med are a French based holiday tour operator who offer all-inclusive, luxury holidays in the French Alps including child-care from 4 months.
Local Ski Creche – Every ski resort will have a drop-in crèche. These are often run by the local ski-school and staffed by professional nannies. These offer just morning or whole day care with some including lunch. In larger ski-resorts you may find English speaking staff. They are often attached to a snow garden which the kids will love to play in. This is a good option if you are hiring a self-catering apartment or chalet. The details can usually be found on the resort website. Book in advance and remember to bring any innoculation certificates (red book) if requested.
Private Ski Nannies – These can be found in larger European Ski resorts. Nannies will come to your chalet and stay and care for the children or bring them to a day care centre in the resort. Snowbabies is a british run company with English speaking nannies in Tignes, Val D’Isere and Kitzbuhel. If you are travelling with other families you could share the nanny hire costs.
Location, Location, Location – If you are not choosing an all-inclusive holiday, look for accommodation which is close to where your children will be in the day time. If you choose a private chalet or apartment, research where the crèche, ski school and nursery slopes are and work out how long the trip will take each morning. Children will be tired at the end of a day’s skiing so a trek through the snow to the ski-bus is best kept to a minimum. Ski-in-out resorts mean that you can pop back for lunch with the kids. Self-catering will keep costs down and used to be considered best for young families because of access to catering facilities at all times of day, however family focused hotels from tour operators like Esprit, Neilson and Mark Warner now provide all mod cons for new mums to as well as being able to take advantage of on-site creches and babysitting.
Some ski resorts will take children from as young as three. Their day will mostly be spent in the nursery with short outings into the snow garden. The usual age is around four or five. For younger children you can choose a half day of skiing lessons for the children alongside time spent in the creche. Older children will spend all day on the slopes with a break for lunch. Some will provide lunch or will expect you to provide lunch or meet your children at lunch time to take them to lunch and return for an afternoon session. Most resorts have an English speaking instructor. Make sure you check availability before you book especially if you are travelling in busy half-term or Easter as places can get booked up well in advance.
You will need to a ski outfit of salopette trousers and a warm, waterproof skiing jacket. Thermal long johns and vest as an under layer and a fleece top for warmth. Other essentials are gloves and goggles and ski socks. There will be a wide range of these to buy in the resort where they can also be tried on for correct fitting. Skis, boots and helmet rental for kids can usually be arranged by your tour operator when booking your holiday and will be fitted in-store by ski technicians.
For the best family ski resorts look for a combination of accommodation with good childcare available, wide and easily accessible nursery slopes for learning, high and snow-sure resorts for late Easter Holiday booking. It is also worth discovering if there are any family activities that you can do off the slopes in the afternoons and evenings together. Look for swimming pools, ice-rinks, bowling alleys or cinemas.
Family-Trips.co.uk specialise in finding perfect holidays for families. They have a huge range of deals available for Skiing or check-out their website for offers on summer holidays including Disney, Eurocamp and Cruises. Family-Trips.co.uk are accredited by KalliKids and havegreat parent reviews.