Skiing with kids for the first time? Top 10 tips for a trouble-free ski holiday!
You’ve been looking forward to it for ages – your ski holiday is nearly here! If you go skiing with kids under the age of five and babies for the first time, here are a couple of things we have learned which could save you a lot of trouble – our top tips for a peaceful family holiday in the mountains.
Prepare your ski holiday
When you book your accommodation to go skiing with kids for the first time, ask what baby equipment is available, so that you don’t have to cart it all with you: a cot and baby bath, high chair, bottle warmer, booster seat, pushchair, but also books and toys. It’s worth asking if any extra equipment is available, with or without an extra charge.
With this in mind, we have set up the “Cool for Kids” mark, which is awarded to our properties which are best equipped for young guests. You can easily spot them on our portal thanks to this logo:
If you would like your children to go to a nursery or a baby-sitter, make sure to book in advance.
The same applies to ski lessons or some activities which need to be booked in advance, particularly during school holidays.
Make sure that all members of your group are well insured.
In order to avoid wasting time while skiing with kids for the first time, look on a map or on Google Maps to make sure you know where your key destinations are in regard to your accommodation (ski school meeting place, play area, nursery, ski hire, shops, supermarket)
Please note: High altitudes can be a problem for small babies and it is better to choose a suitable resort – the Aravis resorts, with altitudes ranging from 950 to 1500 metres, are ideal!
Make sure you are well equipped
Take plenty of warm clothes when you go skiing with kids for the first time. Young children are particularly sensitive to the cold. Plan various layers: a technical T-shirt, a thermal sweatshirt, waterproof jacket and trousers, tights and ski socks. Make sure you have plenty of underwear for the holiday, so that it is always clean and dry.
Accessories: Waterproof and fur-lined boots, mitts or gloves, hat, scarf and sunglasses with a cord, ski mask, lip balm, sun screen and after sun.
For babies: An all-in-one snow suit with furry mittens and booties, as well as a warm footmuff and a raincover for the pushchair. Cold cream is good for chapped skin.
If you are short of any clothing items or ski equipment to go skiing with kids for the first time, ask friends or family if you can borrow them to save you buying them.
Ski equipment: Save space in your luggage by hiring it rather than bringing it with you – the same goes for sledges. You can hire one or bring a small snow shovel which doesn’t take up too much room.
Travel documents (health insurance, ID photos etc for your ski passes…)
A little medical kit with the remedies you usually use in case of fever, coughs and minor illnesses.
Check all your belongings and load the car the day before you leave and go skiing with kids for the first time, apart from a bag for last-minute items or things that you need on the journey. Make sure you’ve got your child’s favourite comforter (and a spare), snacks and drinks, water, wet wipes and a change of clothes, nappies, books and toys.
Make sure the children are comfortable so that they can sleep if they want to.
Make regular stops, particularly for meals and snacks.
By air or train :
Leave early enough to make sure that you get there on time, and make sure you’ve got the bag we described above in your hand luggage!
Arrival and settling in
If possible, try to arrive at a time which fits in with the rhythm of your child’s day (a meal time or bedtime).
If the journey to your accommodation involves some steep and twisty mountain roads, or if your child suffers from travel sickness, try to stop several times en route so that they can get used to it gently.
When you arrive: take time to look around the property peacefully, show your child his bedroom and bed, sort out his toys and things, and explain how the holiday will be …
Put away all your baby’s clothes and equipment in the drawers and cupboards, in the bathroom and the kitchen so that you can find them when you need them.
The holiday – your itinerary for skiing with kids for the first time
Pay particular attention to the rhythm and mood of your child. If they like their sleep, there’s no point in booking a ski lesson at 9am! If, however, they prefer to be active, there are plenty of things to do. Try Alpine of cross-country skiing – the equipment is lighter than downhill skis, and it’s a great way for young children to get used to the snow. There are also craft studios, workshops, ice skating, snowshoes, sledging… for the last activity, whether you are using designated sledging runs, or off piste snow, don’t forget a helmet.
It’s a great idea to get together before going skiing with kids for the first time to talk to your child about what he would like to do.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of activities and shows for kids outside – and don’t forget the traditional welcomes arranged by the villages. It’s a great time to get the family together, perhaps followed by a meal in a restaurant.
Be careful of the cold. During the day but also in the evening, dress children warmly and check that their clothes are always dry. Baby carriers are not recommended in the cold, as they compress the baby’s legs. Try to avoid taking a baby out in freezing fog – the least cold times to go out are from 11am to 3pm.
Protect your children from the sun. Make sure they have sunglasses or a ski mask, apply sun screen and lip balm – the reflection of the sun on the snow intensifies the rays by 90%.
Take your time…
Rather than filling every minute with activities, make sure to have some quiet time with your children. Enjoy the holiday, play in the snow or make an snowman, perhaps read a book, do a puzzle or play a board game by the fire, make a meal or bake a cake in the warmth and comfort of your OVO Network chalet.
A good way to discover local customs is to visit a weekly market with your children, go shopping for regional specialities, visit a farm to help out with milking and buy fresh butter and cheese.
Whatever your itinerary, it’s important to spend quality time together and share special moments not ruled by the clock!
Starting ski lessons for the first time: what is the right age?
In theory, children can start to learn to ski from the age of three, or even two. As soon as they are out of nappies and able to enjoy the snow!
Ideally, start with short sessions of 30 minutes to an hour, at the snow park, which offers a fun introduction to skiing with workshops, games and child-friendly equipment.
Please note : it’s better to start with proper skis rather than skates, which have no edges and go in every direction – the child is more likely to fall and can easily get tired.
At about the age of four or five, the child can either continue with longer sessions in the snow park, or start group lessons for beginners, where he can pass his bear cub or snowflake test.
Never force a child to ski if he doesn’t want to – you could put him off permanently. Take small steps and progress with kindness and common sense.
Choose lessons in the middle of the morning or the afternoon, or after a nap if your child still takes one. Ideally, take the ski bus to avoid the stress of finding a parking place, or choose accommodation close to the piste. It’s even better if you can walk to the snow park or the ski school meeting point!
Different types of daycare
There are different types of childcare available: baby-sitter or nurseries. Check out our Insider’s Guide for more information.
Even if you are leaving your children with professional carers, they might not be happy in an unfamiliar setting or with people they don’t know. We would advise against full days of care – it’s better to try a few half days through the week.
Many of our guests come to the mountain with grandparents. It’s a great solution for everyone! Children and older people enjoy each other’s company and a ski holiday is a great time to get all the generations together.
A meal out, with or without the children?
That is up to you! If you are uncomfortable about leaving your child with a babyitter, you may not enjoy your evening. In that case, it would be better to take your child with you.
Most restaurants offer children’s menus and high chairs or booster seats. Remember to book in advance if you want to eat early – the second services don’t usually start until 9pm or even later. That will also mean you can tell them if you are bringing a pram or a puschair, and will need more space.
If you are dreaming of a romantic dinner or an evening with friends or you are used to having your children looked after, it’s easy to find an experienced baby-sitter. Ideally book and research in advance – there are sites with specialised ads – or ask a local person for the name of someone trustworthy.
Our motto: Adapt!
Whatever your plans, nothing beats a tailor-made holiday. The raison d’être of OVO Network is, in a nutshell, to “provide truly exceptional experiences”. We would like to add: “… for everyone!” Because a holiday should be a pleasant and special break for everyone, whatever their age.
One last word: Many of our guests with babies or pre-school children choose to visit outside the school holidays, and enjoy significant advantages: the ski stations are less crowded, rental prices are lower, the weather is milder and the days are longer in March and April.