How to make the most of a ski trip with kids
My husband and I met working a ski season. Your textbook chalet maid and ski guide romance. We married in the French Alps, have sacrificed years of summer holidays in favour of the snow, and our oldest son took his first steps in a wooden- clad chalet overlooking the mountains. It’s fair to say that skiing is a major part of our lives.
In our twenties, ski holidays meant all day on the piste and all night on the piss. Long, boozy lunches in the Alpine sun and après-ski until dawn, then springing out of bed to start the whole thing all over again. Ski, eat, drink, ski, drink, eat, drink, sleep on repeat for seven days, going home more exhausted than when we arrived.
As we entered our thirties, the après-ski started to take its toll and springing out of bed was hampered by newfound aches and pains from the all-day skiing. Our friendship group began to reproduce, bundles of joy stealing hearts and our skiing companions couple-by-couple.
When we joined the ranks of new parents in 2015, we vowed that it wouldn’t stop us from skiing, that we’d bring our little bundle along for the adventure and that’s exactly what we did.
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top and not marvel at the sheer awesomeness of Mother Nature. Seeing a child experience that for the first time is a wonderful thing. Seeing your own child experience that for the first time almost makes up for the fact you only got to ski three days out of seven.
A slower pace: Having children has forced us to slow the pace a little. We now ski less but enjoy more actual downtime. First lifts are a thing of the past, but mornings are lazier and involve more pain au chocolat. Afternoons are spent pootling the nursery slopes and après-ski now means getting into your comfies and cosying up with a film and a vin chaud. It’s definitely not all bad. Ski resorts are not just for skiing: I know, right? Who knew? With skiing all day no longer an option we’ve discovered the other activities on offer, like swimming, sledging, nature walking, igloo building, ice skating, ice caves and dog sledding. The stuff of Instagram dreams. Holidays with friends: Ski holidays are made to be shared and now that most of our skiing buddies also have kids, it’s a great way to get together, all mucking in to share childcare and ensure everyone gets some time on the piste. The kids also have much more fun with ready-made playmates. Pride in shared passion: It’s incredible to watch your offspring discover something that you love so much. Last year, we put our oldest on proper skis for the first time and his squeals of pure joy were better than the adrenalin rush of any black run (side note: thank god he loved it, or my husband would have questioned his lineage). Top notch childcare: Yes, we all love our kids but there’s no denying that a bit of childfree time is a luxury we all look forward to. Most ski resorts offer excellent childcare options and from the age of three, little ones can start their skiing journey, freeing up a few hours a day for you to explore the slopes sans enfants. You get freedom, they learn a lifelong skill. Everyone’s a winner.
Of course, there are times when it doesn’t go to plan. Your three-year-old will lose his shit 2,200m up a mountain and you’ll lose yourself in a fantasy of free-flowing rosé and table-dancing in ski boots, but it will all be forgotten when you’re curled up under a blanket watching The Polar Express for the 86th time as you sip on a nice French red. So, yes, you CAN go skiing with kids, you just might have to make a few compromises along the way.
Written by Beth Roberts
Beth works in PR and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons, aged four and eight months.