Planning to hit the slopes and bring your kids along, too? Take a look at these 10 tips to ensure you’ll have an awesome and memorable family ski trip.
My husband and I love to ski. We’ve been on a handful of trips together and always have a great time. Until recently, however, we had never taken our three kids along for the fun. Since they were all getting older (the youngest is now 5), we decided it was time to give it a go and booked a trip out west to Colorado.
We were both excited and apprehensive. We are Floridians. My kids had never been skiing before. Heck, they had never been in snow before. I wasn’t sure how they would handle the cold, if they would like the sport nor was I confident they would be decent enough at it to avoid breaking any bones.
There was really only one way to find out. Thus,we took the plunge, booked all the things, packed all the bulky clothes and hopped on a plane.
I should mention it was also the first time our kids had been on a plane! Certainly a trip full of FIRSTS for us!
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Long story short, we had a FABULOUS time! Sure, there were some frustrating and hair-raising moments but they made for some unforgettable and, at times, hilarious memories.
Whether it’s your first time or your 10th time skiing with your youngsters, below is a list of 10 tips my husband and I compiled to ensure you’ll have an awesome and successful family ski trip.
10 Tips for the Perfect Family Ski Trip
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Did I say hydrate?? Drinking enough water is vitally important to ensure people stay healthy and energized throughout the trip.
Several factors increase the likelihood that you’ll get dehydrated while skiing if your not careful. For starters, being at higher altitudes means your body will be working harder to get the oxygen it needs and losing water at a rate that’s twice as fast as at sea level.
Skiing is also hard work and great exercise which means you’ll be sweating… a lot. You’ll need to take in plenty of fluids to replace the ones you’re losing.
Increase hydration a few days before you leave to go on your trip and continue drinking water all throughout the day as you navigate the mountain.
No skiing on arrival day!
While it may be tempting to get your money’s worth and spend every second skiing, I highly recommend NOT skiing on the day you arrive. Give yourself plenty of time to travel and account for delays (we had several).
Take the first day to find the resort, get settled in your hotel or condo, unpack clothing, secure your equipment rentals, gather your lift tickets in advance if you can and explore the village surrounding the ski resort.
Go out for a leisurely dinner, lay out clothes for the next day and go to bed early if possible.
Enroll in ski school or a private lesson
AT LEAST for the first day on the slopes and possibly for the entirety of the trip, enroll your kids in either a ski school or private ski lessons so they can learn the ropes from someone other than their parents.
Moms and dads… you know how it is. Your kids listen to and follow instructions WAY BETTER from people who are not you.
Take my advice and book some lessons. Every ski resort differs in what they offer as far as group and individual training sessions are concerned so get on their website and do some research.
We opted for a private lesson the first day and, honestly I think it would have gone a bit smoother had we put them in ski school with kids their own age rather than with their own siblings.
But ultimately that decision will depend on the number of children you have, their ages, their personalities, their learning styles and their athletic abilities.
Adults, I also recommend you book your own, separate lessons if this is your first time skiing or even if you’ve been skiing for a while but want to take your skills to the next level.
Don’t let your significant other try and teach you. Just don’t. It will end with one of you getting aggravated and annoyed at the other one. And that’s just no fun.
Dress for success
Make sure you have the right clothing! Being properly dressed, warm and comfortable for a day exercising outdoors in the snow is vital and can make or break your trip. Check out a related post I wrote on the subject by clicking on the link below.
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Do your research before you leave and, if necessary, buy or borrow the clothing you’ll need.
Switch it up
Don’t ski every single day unless you’re all experienced skiers and you know you crew can handle it. We had four, full days in Colorado but made sure to have other activities planned in case ski burnout set in.
We skied for two full days and then did a third, half-day where we left the mountain early to go snow tubing. On the fourth day, we went snowmobiling for a couple of hours.
It was just enough activity to keep us engaged and excited but not totally wear us out.
Rest and snack breaks are key
You may be used to skiing all day with little to no stops but with kids, especially ones who have never skied before, you’ll need to stop, rest and refuel frequently.
Make sure someone in your group wears a lightweight backpack to hold a few snacks, water bottles and cash or a credit card should you need/want to buy food and drinks on the mountain.
Never, ever underestimate the medicinal powers of lemonade and Goldfish crackers. Speaking from experience, they can revive even the crabbiest of children and completely change the course of your day.
Have a plan B
Let’s face it… despite your best efforts, your kids may hate skiing. Shoot, you may get out there and decide that you hate skiing! And guess what? That’s OK. Just make sure you have a backup plan should things go south quickly.
Seek out the resort’s childcare center to drop off your kids should they boycott another day on the mountain but you’re not done.
If attitudes sour, be OK with stopping and doing other activities like snow tubing, sledding, ice skating, going in the hot tub or just playing in the snow for an afternoon.
You may even want to bring Grandma or a nanny along to help watch the kids while you tear up the slopes.
Just because everyone in the family isn’t over the moon excited about the sport does not mean the whole trip has to be ruined.
Don’t over plan
Little ones get tired quickly when they are out bustin’ their booties (literally and figuratively) on the snowy ski slopes.
When the day is done, I suggest going back to your condo, turning on some cartoons, having some hot chocolate and just chilling out for a while. Maybe even for the rest of the day.
Take a dip in the hot tub, order in a pizza and be intentional about planning time when you don’t have anything planned.
If you do have an evening activity scheduled, make sure you end your ski time with an hour or two to rest up and get changed before moving on to the next thing.
Believe me, you don’t want to over do it.
Make it an early night
If kids are involved, do everything in your power to go to bed early. Chances are they (and you) are going to be exhausted by the end of the day, especially if they are novice skiers.
Most ski lifts close at 4 pm. At that time or after your last run, head back to the condo for a little down time and then plan to eat dinner early.
Wait times at ski resort restaurants can be lengthy since most people will be eating out. Try and get a table earlier (I would recommend between 5 and 6 pm) so you can grab some grub and then head back home to wind down and go to sleep.
Getting enough rest will improve endurance for another day of playing hard in the snow and lessen the chances of your kiddos having an epic meltdown while waiting in line for a ski lift. Trust me.
Lower your expectations
Last but not least, if you are taking your kids skiing for the first time you need to just go ahead and knock your expectations down SEVERAL levels.
They are young and learning. They may be nervous or scared or have absolutely no interest in putting on skis and flying down a mountain.
As their parent, you need to go into this trip with an attitude of we are here to try and learn something new and spend time together. Anything that happens or gets accomplished beyond that is a BONUS that you need to be grateful for.
On past ski trips with just adults, I would ski green, blue and black runs for a full 8 hours, stopping to break only at lunch and to go to the bathroom.
This last trip with our kids, I don’t even know how much time I actually logged skiing. A lot of it was me standing around watching, helping and giving advice. Plus, I only got to do ONE green run by myself without a kid in tow.
But I’ll tell you what, it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a ski trip! I got to see my kids overcome fears, persevere through doubts and learn a new sport that they can build upon and enjoy for the rest of their lives.
It was awesome!