Get Ready for Ski Holidays with Kids

Book with a reputable operator

With the recent demise of Monarch still fresh in traveller’s memories, it’s reassuring to book with one of the big hitters when planning a skiing/snowboarding holiday. I always use Crystal as they’re part of the TUI group, who will not be going out of business any time in the next century. They also have an excellent reputation for family ski holidays and were recently awarded “Best Tour Operator” by the World Snow Awards. Some of the outstanding factors in this award were Crystal’s excellent family friendly brochures and website, which recognises that we mums and dads need very detailed information and support before booking a ski holiday. Don’t take my word for it though, download or order their brochure and you’ll find all the ski school and childcare information you’ll need upfront, enabling you to plan the perfect holiday for your needs.

Head north for guaranteed snow and non-skiing activities

Last year I wrote about an amazing trip to Ruka in Finland. Harrison, who was three at the time, hasn’t stopped talking about it since. I wouldn’t be much of a travel writer however if we visited the same destination every year, so this year we’ve booked Vemdalen in Sweden. We wanted a destination in the far north because it guarantees snow, and there’s no worry of the kids struggling with altitude. Sweden and Finland also offer a range of other child friendly options if the kids don’t take to skiing as well as you hoped. Dog sledding is fantastic fun and requires no lessons, reindeer rides are a relaxed way of enjoying the snow, and of course there are always plenty of free sledging opportunities if the kids don’t enjoy skiing.

Visit Chill Factore for at least one lesson before you travel

Family Day Out | Skiing at Chill Factore | photo by Alena Chalmovska

photo by Alena Chalmovska

Ski holidays aren’t cheap, especially for families travelling in the school holidays, so it’s a good idea to try a ski or snowboard lesson before you decide to book a ski holiday.

We’ve already booked our winter adventure in Sweden – where there are plenty of non-skiing activities to enjoy if the kids don’t take to the slopes – but we still thought it was a good idea to take a lesson or two before travelling.

We chose Chill Factore because it has a range of options for families with younger children wanting to try out the slopes or just play in the snow before that big winter holiday. Taster sessions at the time of writing were £22 for younger visitors, like Harrison, while private lessons were available (with your own ski instructor) for £90.

Both sessions take place on a gentle beginner slope and are an ideal introduction for children- and adults- who have never skied or snowboarded before. The main difference between the two being price and the amount of time actually spent skiing.

A child having fun skiing at Chill FactorE

photo by Alena Chalmovska

A Fun Taster would have been our preferred option, simply because of the price, but Harrison and I wanted to learn together and the mixed adult and child taster sessions are designed for kids aged 6+. There are Fun Taster sessions for 4-6 year olds, but adults don’t join in on these sessions, so the only feasible way of us learning together was a private lesson (or lying about Harrison’s age).

At fifty minutes the private lesson was slightly shorter than the Fun Taster sessions but in many ways it was better value for money because we got the undivided attention of our instructor and didn’t have to wait for other people on a lesson to have their turn on the slopes. We were literally up and down like a yoyo and consequently Harrison learned a lot quicker. Our instructor Amanda had him skiing after about twenty minutes, though there were a few tumbles along the way of course.

Girl on a rid-on digger playing in the snow

photo by Alena Chalmovska

Three year old Ella was disappointed that she wasn’t yet old enough to join us on the slopes, but Alena took her to Chill Factore’s Mini-Mouse Land – next to the slopes – where she had a whale of a time in playing in the snow, navigating the ice maze and sledging down a mini hill on what she still refers to as a The Donut (actually a large rubber ring). Indeed she’s been pestering us to take her back to the donut ever since, as has Harrison who no doubt thinks it’s a giant ring of sugared dough! Alena tells me that mini-moose land was a bargain at £7 and is well worth a visit for younger children. As for our visit to the slopes, we’ll probably do a taster session now Harrison has built up a bit of confidence.

All in all Chill Factore was a fantastic day out and was the highlight of the school holidays for us all, while whetting everyone’s appetite for out trip to Sweden in Winter.

Pick a resort with slopes close to your accommodation

It goes without saying that skiing holidays can get a little chilly. Layers help, as does a good quality snow suit, but you’d be well advised to pick accommodation that’s close to the slopes if you’ve got younger children. That way you can have a couple of hours in the snow in the morning, take lunch in your hotel and have another couple of hours in the afternoon. We booked Sörgårdarna Apartments in Vemdalen as they are in a central and super convenient location only a 1-minute walk to the slopes and 2 minutes walk to the resort centre. The apartments also have their own cooking facilities, which always helps to keep costs down, and there was a traditional Swedish sauna in each room to warm us up afterwards.

Consider weeks other than New Year and February half term

These weeks are the most popular with families but that means they are the most expensive and the busiest. Christmas week and Easter holidays are at the extreme ends of the ski season but you’re still guaranteed snow if you travel somewhere like Sweden.

Oh, and don’t forget sun protection

Skin and eye protection is just as important on a skiing holiday as it is on a summer one. Sunshine dancing off the snow can easily burn sensitive skin so a high factor sun screen is essential. It can also be dazzling so wear sunglasses or goggles, which are less likely to fall off and get lost.

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