Going on a ski vacation with the fam? Here are a few things to know before you go.
By Trent Jonas
Keeping the kids active, bonding with the family, enjoying the great outdoors—there are so many reasons why getting your family on the slopes this winter is an excellent idea. And while ski trips make for an awesome family vacation, there are a few things you're going to want to consider before you go. From signing up the kids for lessons to planning kid-friendly off-slope activities, here are a few tips for bringing kids on a ski trip.
The skiing abilities among your family members may vary quite a bit. If you can, hit your local slopes for a few hours before planning your ski trip—especially if its earlier in the season, and the youngest kids haven’t been on skis for several months. This will let you know where your kids’ skiing abilities are and also help to shake out any cobwebs from the offseason.
If there’s a ski area near your part of the world, it may be worthwhile to enroll your kids in a refresher lesson or two—especially if they seem rusty or if they’re beginners—before you head out on your trip. This will help them feel more confident and help everyone have more fun on the trip because a smaller part of it will be spent learning how to ski or refreshing abilities.
Once you know where your kids’ abilities are, choose a destination where they will have fun skiing. If they’re just beginners, a remote all-black-diamond resort with a heli-skiing option probably isn’t the place for your family. So, be sure to choose a resort than can accommodate all levels of skiing ability in your family.
When you travel to a ski resort, make sure that it’s a place where kids and parents are made to feel welcome. It would be a real downer for kids—and, thus, for their parents—to stay at a place that caters primarily to adults. Avoid the side-eyes at après and choose a destination where kids of all ages are welcome.
There’s a lot for kids to keep in mind when they ski. They need to wear helmets and keep them on, know lift etiquette, and know slope etiquette. They need to know to stay inbounds, to take breaks, and to drink plenty of water. For adults who’ve been doing it for a while, it becomes ingrained. But kids likely need to be reminded.
If your kids are newer to skiing, look for a destination with a ski school or a kids’ program, where you can drop them. Your kids will learn all they need to know about skiing safety, while honing their own abilities and hanging out with other kids. Meanwhile, you get to ski.
While you may be satisfied with a resort that boasts a great après spot and a hot tub, that may not enough for some kids. Either look for a resort that has a lot of non-skiing activities, like a game room, sleigh rides, hiking, or even snow tubing, or plan to bring plenty of things to do from home. Doing so will help everyone enjoy the ski trip a lot more.
You know your kids. And most kids get hungry quickly. Add in a high-energy output activity like skiing and a lot of kids become down-right voracious. Plan for refueling breaks, where your kids can stop for a snack and to rehydrate, while everyone’s out on the slopes.
You probably want to go on a ski trip because you want to ski. However, with kids, things can change. They may not feel like spending as much time on the slopes as you do or decide that they’re tired of skiing. Keep this in mind as you’re planning your trip, and be prepared to steer into the skid. Do what you can to make sure your kids enjoy going on ski trips with you—even if it means not skiing as much as you like—so you can all enjoy future trips together.