Fancy a winter skiing break but not sure if you can stomach it with young children?
I reckon you deserve a break with your family and a chance to spend your hard-earned cash in a snowy winter paradise.
I’ve taken my little ones on many trips, and can promise you it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Even some of the images in this post are from my own family’s experiences in the Alps, so you don’t just have to take my word for it!
You Gave Them The Gift Of Life; Now For The Gift Of Skiing…
The bleary memories of those early mornings waddling in oversized ski suits as you carry their skis are ones neither they, nor you, will ever forget.
What better gift to give your child than the love of the mountains and this passion they will thrive off forever.
Make precious memories with your family – what could be more special than watching your little ones wobbling on skis for the first time? Perhaps seeing the end result as the years pass and they begin to overtake you…
Enjoy Some Me-Time In The Mountains
Alternatively, take some well-deserved time off on your family ski holiday.
Picture yourself relaxing with a hot chocolate in a cosy wooden hut, taking in the beautiful mountain panoramas and enjoying the peace and quiet whilst the kids are at ski school.
If they’re not old enough to ski, or you fancy a quiet fondue evening for two in the village, we can organise the best nannies so you can sit back and chill out in the knowledge that your kids are in safe hands.
How Young Is Too Young?
When it comes to their debut on skis, it’s important to do it right – if you’re too pushy or force them into it before they’re ready they may well end up disliking it, and no skier parent wants that.
My children were each on skis aged 3 (for about 2 hours per day), which arguably is too young (you can read about the first time we took the whole family to the Alps, when Max was just 4 weeks old here).
The best thing is to get them on the snow first, playing and exploring and getting accustomed to being in the mountains. You’ll know when they’re ready to jump into ski boots.
But on average at about 4 they’ll be ready to try it out, but be sure to ease them in slowly. The first linked turns are moment you’ll treasure forever!
Opt For Private Lessons For Little Ones
Definitely go for private one-on-one lessons to begin with.
When they’re small and their attention spans are short they’ll need plenty of snacks and time to play. With all the attention on your child, they’ll be much better looked after (think loo stops) and the instructor will be sensitive to their ability.
Group lessons are more sociable as the kids get older, and certainly the cheaper option, but be wary that progress is pretty slow and can be on the boring side if your child is front of the group.
Likewise, if they’re struggling they could end up getting left behind and losing confidence.
As they grow up and become stronger and more mobile, they’ll most likely benefit from switching back to group lessons. As they approach the teen years (scary, I know), they’ll have fun exploring pistes and different terrain with peers (like the below video of teenagers tearing up the slopes in 1952!).
I reckon it’s rather important that the kids learn in an environment in which they feel comfortable and at home.
This new adventure of wearing funny shoes and odd things strapped to their feet in cold white surroundings will be overwhelming and alien enough as it is.
Skiing can be a lot to take in for small children, so be sure to find them an English-speaking (preferably native) instructor so that nothing is lost in translation, and they have a familiar-sounding voice to guide them through the process.
Get The Gear Right
You don’t want a shivering cold child in the harsh Christmas holidays conditions, nor do you want a sweaty complaining person come the Easter months.
The wrong amount of layers resulting in an uncomfortable skiing experience for your child will be sure to put them off!
Get clued up on what your child needs, and invest in decent, technical kit. Keeping them warm in winter and nice and cool in spring is the key to a happy ski holiday for everyone.
Make Your Holiday Go As Smoothly As Possible
Like I said, a ski break with children doesn’t need to be stressful in any way.
There are a few things to consider to help ensure there are no bumps along the way, and to maximise every family member’s pleasure.
Stay Warm And Dry
Soggy gloves and frozen toes won’t leave your child begging for their next ski holiday.
Have a think about the time of year you want to go: if you’ve got fragile little ones or first-timers, it could be wise to avoid the coldest months.
If your work schedule or school holidays don’t allow that, opt for south-facing resorts, such as Crans Montana, for a warmer and more pleasant experience.
Little Legs Won’t Want To Walk Far
Resorts that spread over different mountains and towns can cause added stress, and make tired children even more tired.
The early start for ski school will be painful enough as it is – absolutely don’t elongate the morning routine more than you have to and pick somewhere with a short and convenient ‘commute’.
Smaller resorts based around one town are best for little people shuffling around in mini ski boots, and keeping everyone in one place always makes for an easier family experience, especially when the teenagers are up for exploring.
Save The Hassle Of Supermarket Queues
If you’ve got young ones, you’re probably getting a bit fed up with the daily grind of writing shopping lists, pushing around trolleys and night after night of cooking supper.
Treat yourself to the holiday that you deserve after all your hard work (after all, being a parent is a full time job) and opt for half-board.
Without dinner to worry about and a delicious supper to look forward to, you can relax with your family, resting your legs after a long day on the slopes.
Tailor Made or Family Package Specialist
For some families our tailor made holidays are the way to go.
Knowledgeable advice and remote support offer the right flexibility, range of accommodation and resorts to set you up with the perfect bespoke family holiday without the feeling you are part of a herd of British families.
In some instances however, particularly when you are after the full hands on minute-by-minute childcare experience for every conceivable age of child, I would recommend using one of our specialist family friendly operator partners.
Companies like Mark Warner or Ski Esprit will provide a higher level of in resort support and leave you with nothing to think about. We can advise you on the right operator and package for your specific needs and set everything up for you.
Where Should You Go?
With authentic Italian charm, we’re sure you’ll fall as madly in love with this family-friendly resort as I have.
There’s lots of intermediate terrain here, making it the perfect destination for a family with kids who want to explore the mountain. There’s also a large number of ski schools for a medium-sized resort.
Many of the hotels offer ski to the door convenience. It’s not so popular with the Brits, meaning a holiday to Madonna di Campiglio won’t be too mad over the school peak times and you can enjoy the Italian culture rather than being part of a herd of Brits in Val d’Isere.
One of the most inexpensive destinations out there, this is a great spot for families on a budget or just looking for an unspoilt relaxed and very friendly atmosphere.
Despite having one of the cheapest lift passes in the alps there is a super modern lift system (less queuing, more time enjoying the snow with your kids), you’ll keep the whole family happy with a holiday to Madesimo.
The resort is nice and compact, with a wonderful selection of well-groomed pistes, suited to beginners and intermediates, as well as a few more challenging sections for you to get stuck into whilst the kids are at ski school.
In fact the main nursery slope here is one of the best I have seen with a perfect constant gradient and a good easy chairlift to get you back up.
This place is so lovely because you can still expect to feel the warmth of the sun , even in the depths of December and January.
As well as masses of hotels welcoming young families, awesome nursery slopes, there are lots of other activities on offer to keep the kids (or any non-skiing family members) occupied, such as ice-skating, swimming pools, and a 6km tobogganing track.
Courmayeur is one of the rare resorts in Italy to have a crèche on the mountain – the Kinderheim at Plan Checrouit can look after your youngest .
The scenery, with Mont Blanc as backdrop, is stunning and it’s a hugely picturesque village with wonderful restaurants that give the whole family access to great food in the same friendly location – let the kids gorge on pizza and pasta whilst you treat yourself to a bottle of Barolo and something more refined.
It is also a great resort if you have non skiing family members as so much of the mountain and its restaurants is accessible to pedestrians.
It sounds pretty ideal, right? If you get everything planned and organise all the small details before you go, then it will certainly be a holiday to remember. Get in contact with us to start tailor-making this memorable adventure.