Here’s a guest post from Mike Evans, a regular to the Alps, with some advice for going skiing with your kids.
Your first skiing holiday with the kids will be one of you and your children’s most memorable holidays but for those who haven’t been before sorting everything out can all be a bit overwhelming. So if you’re finding it all a bit stressful here are a few things to think about:
If you are a confident skier you may have thought about teaching your kids to ski and for some people this is an enjoyable experience. However, Ski School is a great opportunity for your kids to interact with people their own age and have fun at the same time. Not to mention it gives you and your partner the chance to have some time to yourself and maybe ski some more challenging terrain. There are plenty of good Ski Schools available and, whilst the majority of them speak English, there are also some dedicated English companies operating in most resorts. Find out in advance what options are available
It’s important to have specific winter sports insurance for you and your family before you go as your EHIC card will not cover you for everything you may need. Be sure to look at any relevant policy exclusions, for instance whether your child would be covered if they went into the snow park.
Let’s face it, kids have no fear and before you know it they’ll be rocketing past you on the piste with you struggling to keep up. That’s why it’s really important that you ensure they have a helmet. Research has shown that the number of people wearing a helmet has increased by 180% in the last ten years and your children should be no exception.
Driving to the Alps with kids can be a logistical nightmare so it’s probably a better option to fly or get the train. If you fly, ensure you check the transfer time from the airport to resort as it can sometimes be a long ride if you have children with you. If possible, travelling by train is definitely recommended as the least stressful mode of transportation.
Skiing with families can be an expensive ordeal so here are a few potential ways to save on costs:
When to go
Obviously you may not have the luxury to go between school holidays but Easter is generally cheaper than February half term as the snow‘s not as good. It doesn’t mean that the trip needs to be any less fun though and skiing at Easter usually means you get the benefit of the sunshine.
Where to go
It should be expected that the larger French resorts will be more expensive so maybe consider looking outside of France for your ski trip. Bulgaria has some great skiing available and is a lot cheaper. If you decide to go to France or other popular European destinations maybe do some research into the smaller villages close to the big resorts. You can usually save a lot by staying outside of the main resort and there are often good connections into the main town.
Kids grow so fast so it’s definitely not worth buying ski equipment. Whilst you can often get cheaper hire in the UK, the cost of transporting the gear to your destination usually means it’s better to just hire in resort. This can usually just be done by going to the hire shop when you arrive.
Most people only get to ski for a week or two a year which means that if you buy clothing for your child they will have likely grown out of it by the time the next holiday rolls around. This means it’s really not worth spending a lot of money on their outerwear. TK Maxx or eBay are usually good for cheap finds or if you have friends who also ski with children then maybe see if they have some clothing your kids can borrow. What’s important is you have the right clothing to keep your child warm. They will need thermal base layers, thick ski socks, salopettes and a warm ski jacket as well as all the other winter accessories such as gloves and a warm hat.
Mountain food is notoriously expensive so make the effort to take a pack up each day. It will save you money and there are plenty of perfect locations to sit and have a sandwich with the kids.
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