Taking your kids skiing for the first time is all but guaranteed to be the best holiday of their lives. However, organising all the essentials and your child throwing regular spanners in the works can leave you tearing your hair out. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you are as fully prepared as possible.
1: BEG, BORROW OR HIRE
Children outgrow clothes in a matter of months. What do you think will happen to expensive ski gear? Unless you are going several times a year and money is not an issue, it makes far more sense to rent. Even better, maybe your friends have children and have already made the mistake that you are swerving. Pilfer from them!
2: LAYER UP
There will be huge temperature changes throughout the day. What felt toasty and warm in the morning, can leave you a sweaty mess when the sun beats down at midday or shivering when the sun dips below the mountains later in the day. Lots of layers are your friend here and will allow adjustment whether you are dealing with steamy restaurants or blizzards.
3: TIE IT UP
Go up any chair lift and you will likely see a lost glove on the snow beneath you at some point. Unless you want to be forking out for a second pair of gloves midweek, select your kid’s gloves carefully. Some gloves come with elasticated bands connected to them that go around the wrists. These are perfect for kids (and some adults come to think of it….) Gloves with zips at the wrists also make life easier, as you, the parent, are the one who will be wrestling to get your kid’s gloves on several times a day if they can’t do it themselves.
4: SPLASH OUT ON SOCKS
Whilst this does contradict tip no.1, there are some things you shouldn’t scrimp on. Ski socks are one of them. Cheap socks lead to uncomfortable/cold feet, blisters and crying kids.
5: SCHOOL’S COOL
Think back to your Mum or Dad teaching you to drive. That’s likely to be you trying to teach them to ski. They will have far more fun and learn far faster with professionals trained to teach kids. It has the added bonus of freeing you up to ski yourself.
6: LIDS ON KIDS
This is non-negotiable. In some countries it’s illegal for adults to ski without a helmet, let alone a child. If you are skiing in a country that’s got more relaxed rules, don’t take the risk, even if your kid nags you. Helmets save lives.
7: SNACK ATTACK
Skiing is hard work and kids burn through energy supplies fast. Slip a chocolate bar or something similar into your kid’s pockets. That little energy boost can be invaluable between meals. Make regular stops in cafes to rehydrate too. Altitude, sunshine, dry mountain air and exercise make thirsty work.
8: LIFTPASS LOSERS
On my first-ever ski trip with my school, I lost my lift pass falling off a T bar lift. My dear old mum then got hit with a bill for my replacement lift pass when I got home. She wasn’t particularly enamoured to see me come home, to be honest.
You’ve probably noticed that lift passes are expensive, and as likely as not, your child loses stuff regularly. To minimise the danger. Impress upon your child its importance. If you are in a resort with magnetic hands-free lift passes (most these days) make sure they store it in a zip-up pocket (on the left is usually better) and only use that pocket for their lift pass. Nothing else.
If using a system where they have to get it out at each lift, make sure it is attached to a ski pass holder.
9: SLAP IT ON
Skin burns ridiculously fast in the mountains. The altitude combined with reflection from the snow, means your exposure is greatly increased. Unless you want your kid to resemble a cooked lobster, factor 50 applied a few times a day is a must. Even if they don’t usually burn. Lip salve with a good SPF rating is also highly recommended to avoid shrivelled-up, dried-out lips.
Eyes also need protection. Whilst sunglasses are better than nothing, goggles are designed for a reason. They offer superior eye protection, are less likely to fall off or break and also keep young faces a bit warmer.
10: LET YOUR HAIR DOWN
Don’t forget that you’re on holiday! If you relax, the kids will thank you for it (actually, they probably won’t, but you get the idea!). Getting everything organised and planned in advance, will allow you to enjoy yourself more and make some time for that Vin Chaud you’ve had your eye on!