ski holidays with children
If this is your first time planning a skiing holiday now that you have children, it can be quite a mind bender as to how it will all work. Are they old enough to ski? If so, what is the best way to teach them? If not, what are you to do with them, and how can you make sure you also ensure you get time to enjoy the slopes yourself? Choosing the type of care to get for your children is obviously a very personal thing, but there are plenty of options available, ranging from half day ski schools to private nanny services.
The age ranges and service services available can vary depending on your country and resort of choice. Many resorts offer crèche & day care facilities from 6 months and mini clubs with introduction to skiing for 3 and 4 years old. Above that it very much depends on the resort and accommodation and operator you go with. There are options for teenagers to be with their peers, pre teens and young children to be out doing activities all day, including skiing, which could include a drop off and pickup for ski lessons as well as evening services for looking after your children whilst you are having dinner.
Skiing with Infants - children under 2
Children of this age are quite easy to cater for as they don’t cost that much and most resort have crèche facilities to care for them if parents want some time off together. Other facilities can be nanny services, including evenings, international clubs have fully qualified English speaking staff. The local tourist offices also will have a list of minders.
Usefully some of the more child friendly resorts also have companies that can rent most of what you need for an infant such as baby monitors, portable DVD players and car seats.
Skiing with Toddlers - under 3
This age groups are probably the most challenging to take away, whilst not quite ready to be sent off skiing they do need to be kept entertained and get a fair amount of exercise. Once again most resorts offer care and supervised activities, so they can have fun in and out of the snow. These can be for half or full days and can include lunch as well. Some accommodation offerings have their own crèche facilities and offer daytime and evening baby-sitting services. You can also go for the private nanny options which can be more cost effective if there is a group of you.
Skiing with Young children - under 8
This is a very exciting age to take your children skiing, they tend to be more adventurous and open to instruction. You will need to ensure there is some kind of kids club in the resort that you are going to. Most kids clubs include lessons, more appropriate for the 3,4 and 5 year olds perhaps, and you can get proper lessons as they get a bit older, where the clubs will do drop off and collection to the lessons. Half days are a good option as you will get the opportunity to see how quickly they are progressing, sometimes quicker than you!
Some kids club also include an after dinner service, which allows you to go and enjoy your dinner whilst they are being looked after.
Skiing with Pre-teens - under 13
Skiing with pre-teen children under 13 years of age may well be the most rewarding of all, as you can move off the training slopes and ski together. There are terrific Kids clubs for this age too, including lessons and lunch, half or full days and an optional evening service, so you can still go skiing with the other adults safe in the knowledge that your children are having a great time.
Skiing with Teenagers - up to 16
These children will want to be with you some of the time and will also want a bit of freedom to let off steam. Skiing and snowboarding are a very good way of releasing any excess energy! Some resorts have great terrain parks which have become the unofficial hangout of teenagers. Accommodation near the slopes will be a good option as the mornings may be a slow start ad if you are in self catering they can pop back to feed their never ending hunger. Snacks are important, if you don’t want to spend a lot eating on the mountain. Smaller resorts are probably a good idea as you can let them go out for a wander without worrying too much.
Skiing with older Teenagers – 16+
Not really children anymore, skiing with your grown up children is terrific fun because you can plan time together amidst a holiday in which they will generally be more independent… and that means so will you! Stay in touch via mobile and make sure they let you know when they’re not coming home(?!?) to avoid any frantic late night man-hunts or phone calls to the gendarmerie.
Tip Tip: If you're travelling with a group that has quite a few children, investigate the cost of a private nanny service. They can be tailored to your needs and with the adults taking turns as well you may not need as many hours of child minding.