A family ski holiday is an amazing experience for everyone. Skiing is a fun and exciting activity that every child will remember for the rest of their life. It gives them access to new countries and new cultures, teaches them to appreciate nature, encourages them to take part in physical exercise, builds their confidence and develops key skills. But a Ski holiday isn’t quite as simple as a beach holiday, so there are things you need to take into consideration, to avoid any stress further down the line. I’m going to share five things that might help you make your family ski holiday safe and stress free.
Whilst it might be fun to just wing it and go on last minute adventures, when you’ve got kids involved, generally a lot bit of planning can save you stress further down the line. This is especially important with a ski holiday, as you also need to think about what equipment you have, and to make sure everyone is aware of the safety rules, which I’ll talk about in a moment.
My advice would be to plan ahead as much as possible for a family ski holiday. This means researching the resort and the accommodation, making sure the flights are at a good time for your family, booking ski passes and activities in advance if this is offered, booking ski lessons and organizing your equipment or equipment rental. I’d also advise that you plan your packing to make sure everything you need is in there, and to have emergency plans in place that the whole family knows.
Make sure the whole family understands the safety rules
One of the most important and essential parts of skiing is making sure everyone understands the safety rules. Skiing is a physical activity that comes with an element of risk and accidents can always happen. Accidents can be minimized by having the correct clothing and equipment, following all the rules and guidelines set down by the resort, and knowing safety rules in advance.
The Piste X Code is something I want to raise awareness of. This code – created by two mums living in the ski resort of Morzine – is a list of eight ways that you can keep yourself, your kids, and other people safe on the pistes. It’s a code that’s been made child friendly with the use of a mascot called Monty, and a video aimed at children so they can understand the rules.
I want to share this code with you so you can share it with your kids before your next ski holiday. First, we have a poster that you might see on the slopes, which also includes a QR code for the video. You can also download this poster as a PDF if that’s easier for you.
And here’s the video, introduced by BBC Ski Sunday presenter Ed Leigh.
Did you feel that you already know all the safety guidelines? Take this fun safety quiz and find out if you do! Quiz the kids too, as this will help keep the safety information fresh in their mind.
Pick a family-friendly resort
There are ski resorts all over Europe, and indeed, all over the world. Make sure you research the resort and consider what slopes it has available and what levels of skiing those are aimed at. You’ll want to know what slopes are suitable for children, and what instructors and assistance is available for kids who are likely to need some help on the slopes. Looking for a resort that offers good rentals – including clothes – can be a great option for kids, as ski clothing can be quite expensive, and kids outgrow their clothes every year or two! Rental can be a very economical option, and also makes sure that the items are supplied and checked by professionals, giving you safety confidence.
You’ll want to make sure that the accommodation available is both safe, and fun for the kids, and check what optional activities and evening entertainment the resort offers. Some resorts are more keyed towards families than others, so whether you’re heading to France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland or any of the other great ski resorts around the world, do a bit of research and make sure it’s got everything your family needs.
Take a few ski lessons at home
Dry ski slopes are available in the UK and other countries to help teach both children and adults how to ski and snowboard. Even if you know how to ski, perhaps you want a refresher course to give you some confidence. Having lessons at home can make sure your family learns in a very safe environment, and also frees up time at the beginning of the holiday and lets you get straight to the slopes.
Take plenty of breaks from skiing and have other activities planned
There are lots of other activities you can do whilst on a ski holiday, and it can help to plan them and discuss with the family in advance. First consider all of the après-ski activities that hopefully are offered by the resort. Après-ski is a French term and refers to all the socializing and entertainment activities that come after the skiing day. But it’s absolutely fine to skip skiing for a day, or just ski in the morning. Skiing can be a very physical exhausting activity, so you want to make sure the kids are doing okay. The usual activities you’ll find hosted on the resort can include things like live music and dancing, access to a spa or hot tubs, or other winter activities like showshoeing and ice-skating.
You can also look in the immediate area and see if there are any off-resort activities you could plan. This will give the kids a break from the same scenery. There may be a local town or days out that you can visit.
Ski holidays call for flexibility to begin with, as you always need to be aware of the weather and conditions. Make your kids aware that things could change – you don’t want them amped up for skiing on day one, and then the skiing isn’t available. If they know that things are fluid they’ll be more prepared in advance. You also want to be flexible as to your children’s needs. Maybe they will decide they don’t want to ski, so be prepared for that. Ultimately it’s a holiday for everyone and sometimes needs changing during the holiday. Don’t pack the schedule too full or be too rigid about sticking to it, and you’ll alleviate a lot of potential stress further down the line.
I hope that this guide has helped you think about your next ski holiday, and how to keep it safe and stress free for yourself, the whole family, and for others.
This guide was written as an entry for the Ski Safe Blogger Campaign by AliKats Mountain Holidays and Piste X Code.