Two weeks ago I had one of the best holidays ever. For my dad’s 70th we (my parents, my sisters, our husbands and kids) all went to Charlotte Pass in the NSW ski fields for a week. There were 12 of us together and we had such an amazing time. I won’t go into all the details of the powder, the slopes, the bar and the 3 course dinners (yep it was epic). Instead I thought I would share some tips on doing a ski holiday with young kids.
I was quite anxious and overwhelmed when we first started planning the trip. Would the kids cope with the cold? Would they whinge the whole time? What should they wear? What if they did a wee in their ski gear? Etc etc. All I can say is that the kids had a ball and because of that, We (husband and I) had a ball too. A bit of planning and organisation before the trip was important and the mega package deal (for all 12 of us) was a great way to get everything included and sorted out beforehand.
So here are some tips if you’re planning a ski holiday with kids:
1. Stay on the snow: If you’re going to invest in a ski holiday with young kids, staying on the snow is highly recommended. You don’t want to have to carry kids, skis, stocks etc too far. It’s impossible. And you’re going to be over it before you even begin!
2. Get your meals included: We had breakfast and dinner included every day and the kids had all three meals included. The lodge offered a 5.30pm kids dinner seating which we found worked really well. After a day of skiing and playing in the snow, they were exhausted. Dinner then into a bath and they were in bed by 6.50pm every night. We then ate our dinner later on in the restaurant (which was not far from our room).
3. Ski school: We booked our boys into the morning session of ski school each day. This ran from 9am to 12pm with a morning tea break. The staff then took them inside for lunch and we collected them at 1pm. Best arrangement ever and the staff were amazing.
4. Weather: There’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing. Even when the weather was crazy with snow and wind, our boys still had fun at ski school and the lessons were really quiet on those days so there was a great instructor-to-kid ratio. The weather changes so quickly so don’t be put off by a morning with blizzard-like conditions. Get all your layers on and get out there!
5. What to pack:
For everyone (based on 5 days in the snow):
- Mittens or gloves (mittens recommended for littlies, practice before you go)
- Ski jacket and pants (Aldi gear is great, look out for their yearly sale in May)
- Thermals for underneath ski gear (again Aldi was great for this or borrow from friends)
- Fleece top / extra layer (on the cold days we needed three layers on top and two on the bottom 1-thermal top and pants, 2-fleece/sports top, 3- ski jacket and pants)
- Apre boots (these are boots that you can wear in the snow that aren’t ski boots. We all wore these to play in the snow, around the lodge, EVERYWHERE). I only took one other pair of shoes to wear in Canberra on our stopover nights.
- Neck warmer
- Thick socks (two pairs each)
- Jeans / trackies and a jumper for husband and I for the evenings (the kids just stayed in their thermals all day, even went to dinner in them!)
- Beanie (the kids wore helmets so they didn’t actually use the beanies very much but handy to have for snow ball fights etc)
- Skis, boots and helmets were all hired at the rental centre near our lodge
6. Other things to note:
- Don’t take any jewellery and minimal make-up is all you need! Such a liberating holiday when everyone is outdoors in the elements then super casual in the lodge.
- Our lodge had a doctor onsite which was great. We didn’t have any illness or emergencies but it was so reassuring to know we had easy access to get advice / help.
- Choose a small lodge with a family atmosphere. My boys are 3 and 5 and they had a great time playing with other kids and with their cousins. There were times when I didn’t know where they were (OMG – this was a big step for me) but I was comfortable that they knew how to find me and the area was safe to play in.
- We only had phone reception at the top of the slopes! So no phones in the lodge. Wifi was available for a fee but it was a bit of a process trying to log in. Again, it was liberating to give social media a break and forget about life elsewhere.
- There was a professional photographer available at our lodge. We had some great pics taken of my whole family. Such great memories!
Have you been skiing with kids? What other tips would you share?