Are you thinking about taking your kids skiing? Even if you are an experienced skier, you may have questions about how to get your child started. Skiing as a family can have many benefits. Not only is skiing an incredible way to get exercise, but it's also fantastic for bonding as a family. There are specific steps you need to take, though, before going skiing with kids on the slopes.
Assess When Your Kids Are Ready to Learn to Ski
Some kids are ready to learn how to ski when they are as young as two or three years old. Others take much longer before they are prepared to take to the slopes. As their parent, you can evaluate their readiness to learn how to ski. When you start on the bunny hill, take the lessons slowly. Learning the basics may seem easy, but some kids need a couple of days or weeks to understand them. Take your time, and do not immediately rush your child to more advanced hills. Instead, ask yourself a few questions and then consider whether they are ready.
- Is my kid having a good time?
- Do they feel pressured to learn it all?
- Is skiing on the bunny hill enjoyable to them?
- Do they need help with new skills often, or do they appear to be understanding the basics?
These are a few excellent questions to ask yourself before moving on to something more advanced. First, your child should have a good time! Skiing requires skill, but it also is a lot of fun. If your child is not having a good time or doesn't look like they are enjoying themselves, it is okay to stop and try again in a few months or even a year or two.
Research The Best Ski Resorts
When your child is ready to learn how to ski, now is the time to research ski resorts! There are many unique characteristics of ski resorts. It can be overwhelming when you get started. Here are a few things to look out for:
See If You Can Find a Ski Resort Where Your Kids Can Ski For Free!
Yes, they have those. If you enjoy skiing and want to go as a family often, try to find a budget-friendly ski resort. Investing in a resort where kids are free is great for your wallet. Also, sometimes resorts offer a package where kids are cheaper or free; you may need to ask to find it.
Consider Resorts With Childcare
Having a place your baby or toddler can go while you and your older kids hit the slopes can be a deal-maker or breaker. Even when you do not have babies or toddlers, looking for a resort that offers daycare can be a great idea. Why? If a resort offers something for parents of young children, it means they are family-oriented. Family is important to their business plan, and they are making it a point to be kid-friendly. Of course, this means their other extras will also cater to your kids!
When looking for a ski resort, figure out how far the slopes are from the resort. Then, consider a resort that offers a ski-in/ski-out. It makes adventuring with little ones so much easier! Also, look for a resort that offers activities other than skiing. No matter how much you and your children love to ski, they will also want to do other fun activities!
Look For Proper Ski Gear
With any activity, it's essential to look for proper gear before you head off to ski with your kids. In addition, you'll want to keep your child warm and toasty so they can enjoy the slopes as long as possible! So, be sure to pack the following gear for your child:
- A Balaclava or frostklava with a neck warmer is important. This will keep the snow off your child's neck and cover up any skin that may peek through their other gear. Balaclava with headgear is available and worth considering for extra warmth.
- A snowsuit will protect your child from the wet and cold when they fall into the snow!
- Another piece of gear to consider is a down vest. Many are waterproof, making them an excellent choice to wear while skiing.
- Mittens are essential snow gear! When your child falls in the snow, the mittens will keep their hands from getting cold and wet and getting frostbitten. Look for mittens that are waterproof and double-insulated. Mittens with long cuffs protect your child's wrists and keeps snow from seeping into their coats.
- Every child has to wear something under their protective gear. Layer your child with waterproof and winter-resistant clothing that will provide a warm start to the day.
- Warm socks are important, and so are thick waterproof boots!
- Your child will also need goggles to protect their eyes and keep their face warm.
- Be sure to look into a good helmet that is adjustable. You may be able to rent one, but buying a fitted helmet for your child is a better investment.
Provide Your Child With Professional Lessons
If your family is a family of skiers, providing your child with professional lessons would be a good idea. You can find a resort that offers ski school for kids. Some resorts provide an all-day ski school. This is an excellent investment because your child will learn important safety and basic skills from a professional they will use whenever they ski. These skills will be the basis for everything they do on the slopes. Skiing is fun, but it requires being safe and knowing how to do the slopes properly. If you provide your child with professional lessons, they may also make life-long friends who love to ski too!
Book Early and Avoid Busy Times
When you start looking for ski resorts booking your stay early can be easier on your pocketbook. It also gives you time to prepare for your trip and get to know the resort without feeling rushed.
When skiing with kids, it is best to avoid busy times. You'll want to be able to give your children the attention they need on the slopes and enjoy family time. Unfortunately, it can be hard to do this when the ski resort is booked to capacity and the slopes are busy. If you can, the best times to avoid skiing when you go with kids are:
- Between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
- Martin Luther King Day Weekend.
- President's Day weekend.
Avoiding these peak times can ensure your vacation skiing with your family is more enjoyable.
Teach Skiing Technique Safety
Safety is everything, especially with kids! Whether your child is a beginner or a seasoned skier, they still need to know mountain technique safety. Review the techniques with your child every time you go skiing. A refresher course never hurts anyone and can remind your child of a safety technique they may need to remember. Mountain technique safety rules to review with your kids are:
- Always keep your helmet on. Even the most experienced skiers can't control other skiers or accidents. You never know when something may happen that you weren't expecting. Always be safe, and keep that helmet on. Also, WebMD states it's always important to ensure the helmet fits snugly on your kid's head.
- Teach your kids to stay together while you are skiing.
- Review the safest way to get up after your child falls.
- Look uphill before you stop. That way, you can see if someone is at risk of being cut off.
- Leave plenty of space for the person in front of you; it is their right of way.
- Don't push yourself harder than you are capable of.
- Follow the signs always.
- Always be in control of your skis.
- Review the right way to move off the hill.
These are a few safety rules to review with your children before heading out to ski as a family.
Take Frequent Breaks
Kids are resilient, but they aren't exempt from getting overtired! Many children will try to push themselves too hard if they are having fun and quickly become tired and cranky. Be sure to take frequent breaks to rest and rehydrate so you can make the most of your trip. Then, you and your child will enjoy the trip much more!
Always Rember to Have Fun
Skiing as a family should be fun! So, before you head out to the slopes with your kids, make it a point that you and your family know you are in it for fun. Yes, skiing can be competitive and excellent exercise; however, if your child is not having fun while skiing, it may be time to take a break and consider coming back to skiing at a different time.
- Assess whether your child is ready to learn how to ski.
- Research the best ski resorts, and look for ones offering daycare and free kids' admission.
- Buy proper ski gear, including a helmet that fits, warm snowsuits, and goggles.
- Provide your child with professional ski lessons. You can do this by looking for private ski lessons or a resort that offers all-day ski school during your stay.
- Book your stay early and avoid peak times for your vacation.
- Teach Mountain Safety Techniques to your child and review them often.
- Take frequent breaks while skiing with young children.
- Remember always to have fun while skiing with your kids.
There are many things to consider before you go skiing with your kids. You first need to consider whether or not your child is ready. Do they like to ski? Are they taking to the bunny slopes? Look for proper gear and consider an all-day ski school to teach your child proper technique. Then get out on those slopes and have a fabulous, memorable time with your family on a ski vacation!