A family ski trip requires careful planning. Here is a guide to help plan this special vacation and make it a success.
Ski trips are a great way to enjoy the winter season, whether you are an experienced skier or a first-timer. If you’ve selected this year to be the year you spend time with family in the mountains, you’ve taken the first step towards a memorable vacation. Perhaps after this first experience, you will be more inclined to try new ski destinations every year. This is especially true if your ski trip is accompanied by local adventures and incredible mountain views.
Making a family ski trip a success involves picking a good ski destination, accommodation, food, transportation, and more. It will not be a budget vacation, but if you plan well and in advance (eight months to a year beforehand), you can find some amazing deals. Let’s look at the things that need your attention to help plan your perfect family ski trip.
Accommodate Your Trip Members
This may be a trip with your spouse and kids or with extended family and/or friends. You should pause before booking a ski trip to a particular resort and consider if it’s suitable for your group, especially if there are kids and/or complete novices in the group. Kids younger than the age of 6 are said to learn skiing more easily. They have a good degree of body control and understanding to begin skiing.
You’ll need to spend more time deciding and planning (when to go, where to go, Budget, etc.) if you have a large group. For beginners, make sure the ski mountain offers beginner trails, lessons, and off-slope activities. In the case of advanced skiers in your group, you’ll want to choose trails that offer challenging terrain.
Know When to Make the Ski Trip
The time of year and length of the ski season are also important considerations. Despite some resorts opening as early as November, the ski season begins in December and lasts until the end of April. You have a good five-month window to plan your ski trip. You’ll find the best deals at the beginning or the end of the season. School holidays and other holidays are busy times for resorts.
The ideal trip length for a family new to skiing depends on a few factors. Children’s attention span and the range of activities available in the local area are two factors to consider. It is best to schedule a three-day trip plus travel time.
Pick the Appropriate Destination
People often choose their destination before planning any other aspect of their ski trip. It is often the destination that inspires parents to introduce skiing to their children. But deciding where to take the family for a ski trip goes far beyond selecting a stunning resort. Be sure to research on your destinations to ensure that the resort you choose has the amenities and features you are looking for. Ask the resort if there is a daycare facility where your children can go if they need a break from skiing if the resort offers a spa service for parents, etc.
You should select resorts that have several beginner slopes so that beginners can practice without being crowded and learn from mistakes. Consider resorts that include lift tickets, lodging, instruction, and ski camps for kids when searching for family ski packages. Free options are available at many resorts. Be sure to ask the resort about their free options before choosing one.
Book Suitable Accommodation
The next step is to determine what kind of accommodation is right for you based on your budget and the number of travelers. Choosing suitable accommodation also depends on what you plan to do off the slopes. It may be better to stay in a village or nearby town if you want to dine out or if your group wants to participate in other activities such as shopping or sightseeing.
If you plan to ski primarily, look for accommodation with ski-in/ski-out access. This just means they provide you with direct access to the slopes. If you have a large group, you should consider renting a home or condo instead. Having the extra space might be worth the money. Make sure you factor food costs and preparation time into your plans too. A hotel room is usually less costly than a mountain home or condo. Regardless of your budget, you can always find a hotel that suits your needs.
Reserve a Spot for Ski Lessons
If some members of your group have never skied before, getting lessons is highly recommended. Many resorts have ski schools that can teach you and put you at ease. It is cheapest to join a group of fellow beginners but if you want to master skiing as quickly as possible, private lessons are your best bet.
Organize Your Travel Arrangements
Once you have booked your accommodation, think about flights or other means of transportation to your destination. Check which airports are closest to your ski destination and if there are affordable direct flights. Renting a car at a discount may be necessary if you’re flying in. Booking early on flights allows you to avoid overpaying for airfares.
Dress and Accessorize Properly
Packing the right clothes is the most important part of planning a ski trip. If your family isn’t used to skiing or spending time in cold weather, you’ll want to make sure they wear appropriate clothing. It’s important to wear layers when skiing. While on the slopes, you should stay warm, dry, and comfortable as well as be able to shed layers as needed.
Every member of the group must take a ski jacket as well as warm underwear. Accessories such as gloves, a hat, a neck warmer, ski socks, and goggles/sunglasses are also essential. If you have a family member who wears glasses, you need ski goggles over glasses, or ‘over the glasses’ goggles (OTG goggles). OTG goggles are a great solution for people unable to wear contacts or unwilling to have prescription goggles made. Choosing the right boots and socks is also essential to dressing appropriately. If your lodging offers a hot tub, bring a swimsuit.
People from a warm climate might have growing children and don’t want to buy all the clothes they need for just one trip. In this case, people can also rent appropriate clothing.
Buy or Rent Ski Equipment
Purchasing or renting ski gear is another important question for your first family ski trip. Those who are relatively inexperienced should rent skis rather than bring their own. Renting equipment is also a great way to find out what works best for you and to try out the newest models. It also offers the convenience of not having to transport them. For kids, it’s always worth renting until they’re done growing.
Ski equipment is easy to rent in a resort but can be expensive if not booked in advance. If you want to use your equipment, be aware that taking it on the plane can sometimes be more expensive than renting it.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Once you arrive at your skiing destination, take it easy the first couple of days if you’re not used to exercising at high elevations. One of the things that can ruin your vacation is altitude sickness. When skiing with kids, look out for symptoms such as nausea or headaches. Make sure you drink plenty of water before you head out to the slopes to avoid the effects of high altitude. Eating light meals can also help with altitude sickness. You may also need to carry nausea medication.
While on the slopes, drink plenty of water or electrolyte-infused beverages to avoid dehydration. It’s also a good idea to get an extra 1-2 hours of sleep every night to help your body recover from skiing and being around active kids.
Here are a few more things to consider when planning a group ski holiday:
- Make sure you have appropriate insurance, especially if you are traveling overseas.
- Be sure to check the weather forecast in advance to find out how much snow will be covering the ground and whether avalanches are a likely threat.
- If you’re not familiar with the resort’s layout, carry a map when you’re out on the slopes.
- Establish a meeting point, especially if there are children involved. In an emergency (phone battery runs out or the connection goes down), you will have a plan to locate each other again.
- You should also teach your older children how to ask for assistance if they need it until they can locate you.
With this guide, we hope to shed some light on what to consider when planning a ski trip with your family. In addition to ensuring you get the flight, resort, accommodation, gear, and passes you want, planning ahead means you get the best deals. With the suggestions provided, you can plan a memorable skiing trip with your family for the first time. The most important thing is that they have fun!