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Thinking-of-Bringing-the-Kids-Skiing

Thinking of Bringing the Kids Skiing?

Skiing holidays make for great family holidays, and one of the most frequent questions asked is ‘how soon can we start the kids skiing?

The jury is out! Minimum age suggestions vary from bloggers to websites to resorts although the general consensus is four to six years (depending on the child) for ski school and any younger than that, go for private lessons, which seems very sensible advice.

Whether the kids enjoy it or not is entirely another thing; according to one ski instructor I googled, five out of six kids will love it and one will always hate it... perhaps because they get frustrated with slow progress or more than likely, he or she is cold, or finds the boots uncomfortable or simply cannot see the point in what they are doing.

Moaning and misery is the end product: and it’s going to suck the joy out of your own holiday to see them so unhappy. So save yourself the heartache by focusing on the factors that you can control, and picking the right resort is top of the list.

Not all ski resorts are suitable for family skiing – there are plenty of party resorts for example, where the focus is on après ski and the actual skiing is an added bonus if you make it out of bed in time. Nor should you head to a “serious” resort that sits on a precipice and requires you to jump out of a helicopter and land parallel on a black run à la milk tray man! It’s obvious, but look for resorts with plenty of gentle, beginner runs – blues and greens. Better still look for bespoke built nursery schools with features like carpet lifts, so your child can learn at their own pace and not have to tackle getting on and off lifts until they are feeling confident about slipping around on skis.

Small children won’t manage a full day’s skiing so make sure there are après ski activities to do too: think in terms of tobogganing, swimming pools and bum boarding. Package holidays are worth considering – Crystal Holidays and Falcon offer special family packages for all ages which include crèche services for the non-skiers, nannies / babysitters and kids clubs with ski lessons as part of the day’s activities.

With that in mind, my research has led me to these three resorts:

Avoriaz, France

A car free village, you can ski/snowcat or sleigh ride from accommodation to ski areas. Avoriaz has a lot to offer families, including the Village des Enfants, right in the centre of the village, with its excellent facilities like children’s slopes and a chalet full of activities. The Aquariaz is a mountain water park spa area and ticks all the boxes for fun family apres ski entertainment.

Soldeu, Andorra

Plenty of kids snow gardens, a highly recommended English speaking ski school, and lots of blue and green runs makes this Andorran village a very relaxed family resort. The ski lifts are within walking distance to all the accommodation in the village, very important for tired little legs at the end of the day. There is a leisure centre for evenings about 15 minutes drive from the resort with regular buses running up and down through the villages.

Levi, Finland

For something a bit different. Aside from skiing, which is not as extensive as the better known European resorts but there are a range of activities you wouldn’t find in many resorts – dog sledding, reindeer safaris and meeting Santa would be high on the list. Given that it does tend to be very cold there too, large hotel complexes offer tonnes of indoor activities too.

And finally, it’s a family holiday and if you invest time simply playing with your kids in the snow – the good old fashioned stuff like snow ball fights and pulling them around on bucket shovels, they are sure to want to try it again the following year.

For more travel advice, check out our travel experts, The Stork Exchange.

About the Author

I’m Olivia Mai, founder of The Stork Exchange and Mum to two small children. My third baby is the one I leave at home when I go on holidays, it’s called The Stork Exchange and it’s my little business. It is a children's equipment hire service that offers everything from child car seats, prams, buggies, cots and highchairs, to monitors, booster seats, buggy boards and pram bags. I started The Stork Exchange with my husband four years ago after a bad experience on holidays abroad with my kids. Fast forward four years and we now have two shops, one at Dublin Airport and one in Shannon. We work closely with a number of airlines and car rental companies and have spent three years developing our product range. That’s a lot of products to trail -- safety, durability and ease of use are top priorities. I constantly get asked questions by parents about travelling with kids -- what equipment to bring, what not to bring, what’s allowed by airlines, what’s not. Being at the airport day in day out means I am pretty close to it all and as a result have built up loads of knowledge, tips and nuggets of practical and useful info about the do’s and don’t of travelling with children. I also learn from the experience of other Mums and Dads. It’s great to be able to share this advice to help make the journey and holiday a bit smoother and easier for other parents. Want to get in touch? Email me at olivia@thestorkexchange.ie or call 087 255 8702 Check out my website and social channels at the icons above.

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