Ski lessons with the family can be the highlight of the year, but not if your kids hate skiing and everything to do with it! From cold fingers to dripping noses and the classic have-to-pee-right-after-getting-my-one-piece-ski-suit-on, it's every parent's fear that ski holidays with the kids will quickly go from fun to being the world's worst nightmare. If you're an avid skier or snowboarder and you want to share this love of the snow with your children, then keep reading for some tips on how to make your children love skiing!
Glitzy ski resorts with wild après-ski scenes and all the high-end brand names can be great for a ski holiday with friends, but they're not the ideal ski resorts for a ski holiday with the family. When you're travelling with kids, first and foremost you'll be looking for family-friendly amenities: a good ski school and/or childcare facilities, good nursery slopes, family-friendly restaurants and maybe a swimming pool in the hotel so the kids can let off some steam in the evenings. It can also be nice to stay in a smaller, quieter ski resort where you won't have to deal with crowds and lift queues. For some ideas, check out our list of the best family-friendly ski resorts, or this list of ski resorts where kids ski free >Stubai is a good ski resort for learning to ski with the kids (Photo: © Stubai)
Remember, your kids have no idea what skiing is like, and they might be afraid or confused about the sport. In the leadup to your ski holidays, why not try amping them up by showing them pictures and videos of your ski holidays, or watching inspiring films about skiing? These can make the sport seem approachable and fun, and get your kids excited to try it!
When I was 7 years old and my sister was 5 years old, our parents enrolled us each in ski lessons with a different instructor. My instructor gave us cookies every few hours and let us try the tiny jumps on the sides of the slopes. My sister's ski instructor was boring and didn't understand how to cater to the needs of a bunch of 5-year-olds. My sister dropped out of ski lessons at midday, while I became totally hooked on the sport. Moral of the story? You're paying the instructor for a reason. If they don't speak good enough English or they're not patient enough to handle your kids and show them how fun skiing can be, then you have all the right to complain and switch them to a different course. For a start, check out these ski schools in the Alps with English-speaking ski instructors >Happy kids skiing - that's what we want to see! (Photo: © Head)
While I remember having a great time with my ski instructor, I also have fond memories of skiing down the hill with my parents, learning to navigate the piste maps and pick slopes that looked fun and not too hard. You may be dying to ditch the kids and go tackle that red run, but it's very important to make your children part of the experience so they don't feel like they're just tagging along. The proof is in the pudding: my dad is still my favourite skiing partner today!
Learning to ski at any age can be exhausting, and more so if the kids are very young. It's a demanding sport that requires concentration and the energy to keep hauling yourself off your rear every time you fall down! If the muscles are failing or the weather isn't cooperating, don't be afraid to take a mid-morning break for a hot cocoa or even end the ski day early for an impromptu snowball fight. Your kids probably aren't going to be the next Lindsey Vonn anyway. It's more important that they learn to enjoy skiing, so you can keep going on many family ski holidays for years to come! When all else fails, don't forget that many ski resorts offer plenty of non-skiing activities to keep the kids busy and entertained - get ideas from this list of family-friendly après-ski activities >
Last but not least, it's smart to think about how you'll be reaching your ski resort. You'll want to avoid long, complicated road trips or transfers, which can make everybody tired and cranky. But with the kids in tow, you'll probably also be watching your wallet. Choosing a ski resort that's easy to reach can make all the difference to your ski holidays, allowing you to start the ski day refreshed and happy.
What are your tips on successful ski holidays with the family?
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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