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’s the best way to teach them? If not, what are you to do with them, and how can you make sure you get time to enjoy the slopes yourself? Choosing the type of care to get for your youngster 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 involve an introduction to skiing for 3 and 4 year olds. Above that it very much depends on the resort and accommodation you go with… There are options for teenagers to be with their peers, and tweens and young children to be out doing activities all day, which could include a drop off and pickup for ski lessons as well as evening childcare whilst you’re having dinner.
Skiing with a baby isn’t as complicated as it might sound - children of this age are quite easy to cater for. They don’t cost that much and our favourite family properties have crèche facilities to care for them if parents want some time off together. Other childcare facilities are private nanny services, baby listening services in the evenings and resort kindergartens with fully qualified English speaking staff. The local tourist offices will also have a list of minders.
Usefully some of the more child friendly hotels and resorts have companies that can rent most of what you need for an infant such as baby monitors, snow buggies and sterilizing equipment.
Tots are probably the most challenging age group 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 indoors and out on the snow. These can be for half or full days and can include lunch as well. Some accommodation types have their own crèche facilities and offer daytime and evening baby-sitting services. You can also go for the private nanny option which can be more cost effective if there’s a group of you bringing tiddlers who can share the cost.
This is a very exciting age to take youngsters skiing - they tend to be more adventurous and open to instruction. The best thing to do is make sure there’s some kind of kids club in the resort you’re going to. Most kids clubs include lessons tailored to 3, 4 and 5 year olds and you can book 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’ll get the opportunity to see how quickly they’re progressing – chances are they’ll be speeding past you on the piste in no time!
Some kids clubs also include an after dinner service, which gives you the chance to enjoy your dinner whilst they’re well looked after.
Skiing with pre-teen children under 13 years of age - or tweens - may well be the most rewarding of all, as you can usually move off the training slopes and ski together. There are terrific kids clubs for this age too, including half or full day lessons and lunch and an optional evening service, so you can enjoy the skiing and evenings safe in the knowledge that your sprogs are having a super time.
Top 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.
If you’re looking to book a family holiday, you want to look for a resort that’s got a great beginners’ ski area – a magic carpet is a winner for children. You also want to look for accommodation that is near the lifts and near the ski school because you’ll be carrying all their gear up to the slopes every day.
When you’re choosing a family ski holiday I think the things to look for is you want a resort that’s got a lot to offer besides just the skiing and then you need to think about the location, so you want it to be really accessible for the ski lifts.
Accessibility to easy skiing pistes – that’s the most important thing.
I’m Christ Howe from Hertfordshire in England and my top tip is to book up your childcare before you go. You don’t want to turn up and waste some of your own holiday sorting it out.
My daughter came here when she was six months old and I took her on my back for 2 weeks, but that was a mistake because the crèche was shut.
It’s worth pre-booking because it’s often cheaper so, if you do pull them out to ski with you for the morning, in the back of your mind you know you’ve saved money.
It’s worth considering in a peak week like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter everything’s going to be booked out, so it’s worth doing it before you go on holiday.