How To Ensure You All Enjoy The Experience – Happy Children, Happy Parents We are keen skiers having raced for a few years (at a very low level) and being in the mountains is our love. When the children were born, we decided the one thing that they would have to like was skiing – they wouldn’t have a choice! Our daughter has been in the mountains every year since she was 4 months old and loves it, as does our son. However I know what a worry it can be heading to the snow for the first time and if like us, you long for your children to love the sport, you have to break them in gently and ensure they love the whole experience. So how can you make sure this is the case?
Keep Them Warm This year we took the children to the glacier in Les Deux Alpes. I knew the snow wasn't great so we had to head high, and my biggest worry was that they would be cold. The most important thing to remember is that if your hands are warm, generally the rest of your body is warm – so this year we invested in some very good Hestra gloves. They have a waterproof outer and a wool inner so if they get wet they can easily be dried. Only once did my son complain of cold hands – it was so worth spending the money. I also invested in some good Salomon ski socks to keep their feet warm and dry.
I remember only too well as a youngster having such cold feet and hands that I cried when they started ‘coming back to life’ – it’s a miserable experience. My hands and feet still suffer in the cold, so I have my own Hestra gloves and this year I also treated myself to some of our Perilla alpaca bed socks for wandering around the apartment and some of our walking socks for skiing. My feet were toasty.
Keeping Energy Levels High: Children tend to use up a huge amount of energy on the slopes and being at altitude, even though it is cold, they get unbelievably dehydrated. So every morning before ski school I put 2 little milka bars into their top pockets and sent them off with some water. This kept them going until lunchtime and the end of ski school.
What to put in their pockets: As well as the milka bars and lift pass (try and put this in a pocket that they are unlikely to open), remember to pack some tissues, a little bit of money in case the ski school stop for a drink on the mountains, a hand warmer (just in case) and I also wrote out our emergency contact details on a card as a precaution. I may sound like a paranoid mother but I would rather be safe than sorry.
Enjoyment: Despite the fact that the adults may want to ski the whole day and make the most of the snow, sometimes children just can’t keep going. Don’t keep pushing them until the last lift unless they really are up for it. Our daughter skied most of the day but for our son (only 3), skiing all afternoon after a morning of ski school was too much. So to ensure he enjoyed the whole skiing experience, we took him sledging, swimming and for a hot chocolate most days! He loved it and every morning was then very excited about going skiing.
The week we had this year was the first time we have been actually skiing as a whole family and it was a fantastic week – seeing our children, especially our 3 year old improve as the week went on was incredible. They’ll be better than us in a few years and then I will be left behind! If you are off to the slopes with your youngsters this half term or Easter, keep warm, stay safe but most of all, enjoy it.