Last season I travelled alone with my son (age 6 at the time) to Alpe d’huez.
This is what I learnt…
Kit – Isn’t it really expensive?
It can be, but with your little darlings growing so quickly my advice in the first instance is to look to your friends and family with similar size and aged children. If you are skiing different weeks then you can quite easily share the big items such as coat and saloppetted and even thermals.
Aldi launch their ski range as part of their ‘Special Buys’ on 26 November 2017. For the last three years their kit for children has been good quality, with great detailing and at very reasonable prices. You can kit your child out with Moonboots, ski pants, jackets, helmets and goggles for less that £100.
Mountain Warehouse also have good really good kit that wont break the budget but will keep them super toasty. Buying cobalt blues, greens, reds and oranges mean that both the girls and the boys can wear them.
Decathlon is another good place to find low-cost but quality kit for skiing from their Wed’ze Range.
Airports – Go local or go loco
A regional airport, in my opinion, is far less stressful. Simply because in a small efficiently run regional airport it’s more difficult to misplace a child.
Keep hand luggage to a minimum when travelling with children. It makes passing through security easier.
Transfers – Don’t overfill the children
Pack nibbles and anything you may need for the coach journey in an easily accessible part of your hold luggage and grab it on arrival before you load your bags onto the transfer coach or car.
If you are going to eat at the airport take heed. Children may not always be the best travellers. With this in mind a dry breakfast of perhaps toast and jam, or a croissant with a drink of water is advisable. Milky breakfasts alongside fruit juices can, and usually do, reappear on the winding mountain roads.
Resort – Choose one with good skiing and non-skiing activities
Fun runs, large learn-to-ski or ‘ski tranquil’ areas provide confidence boosting areas for you to take your children to after their morning lessons. There are a number of really good family resorts and these do tend to have the extra activities that you can do with children (cheaply) on bad weather or non-skiing days.
Sometimes when you can’t go skiing you still need to get out, you need to have options. Outdoor pools, indoor pools, high ropes, climbing walls, ice skating, airbags, zip wires, tobogganing runs, inflatable air jumps. In many resorts access to the swimming pools in resort are free with your weekly lift pass.
The Chalet Hotel – the food just keeps coming
The best thing about staying in any chalet or chalet hotel is ‘chalet-board’. It’s a never ending supply of home-made deliciousness.
Child Care and Skiing lessons – Book it. Book it all week…
You can always pull the children out if they are tired or if you want to do something different, but it is always better value to pay for the week than add it later.
The child care team are worth every penny. Each week they remember an army of children’s names and make each and every individual feel special. Their day starts early as they check the children into childcare. Then they escort the children to and from their ski lessons. The reps sit with the children and encourage them to eat their lunch and they entertain them both in the chalet and out and about in resort. Then in the evenings, as the grown-ups dine, they position themselves along the corridors of bedrooms and ‘baby-listen’ so you can enjoy your meal uninterrupted. A good child care team makes a family holiday.
Is it possible to take a child skiing on your own?
Yes – The chalet hotel’s social dining and communal areas mean you never need feel alone; it’s easy to meet people as, after all, you already have two things in common with everyone on the trip – you love skiing and you have a child.
And at what age can they be put on skis?
Children can learn to ski from 4 years old with British tour operators such as Esprit or Ski Famille. They can start on skis even sooner if you arrange your lessons independently and directly with local French, Austrian and Swiss skis schools. I once overheard someone say about the Austrian Ski Schools that they will take them if they can walk and are out of nappies!
So you have no excuses now… it’s time to book a trip for your family.
Esprit Ski is offering the Chalet Hotel Mariandre from just £357 per person. This price is based on a family of 4, (2 adults and 2 children 2-10) at £1429 travelling on the 7 January 18 and includes return flights from Stansted to Chambery, transfers, free wifi, free baby listening and seven nights catered accommodation with a cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, children’s high tea and 4 course dinners with complimentary wine. Esprit Classic Child Care is available from £239 for a week of exclusive ski lessons.