Well, the winter holiday is booked and the kids are coming with you: have you thought of everything and what tips and reminders will guarantee nothing has been missed? If you want to ensure you have it all covered look no further.
Before you go:
Insurance: you may have an annual multi-trip policy but make sure you all have adequate cover for winter sports. Beware some companies exclude certain activities such as off-piste or freestyle in the resort parks. As a family we have just amalgamated all our insurance onto one winter sport specialist policy which was fortunate, as I discovered, after delving deep into my old policy, that I had not been covered for riding in the parks – whoops. Try ERV who won the 2014 Telegraph World Snow Awards for ‘Specialist Insurer.’
Appropriate clothes: either beg or borrow clothes for the wee-ones or alternatively buy from retail outlet stores or online for cheaper deals. Trespass had a great sale over the festive period and others to try are Dare2Be, T.K. Maxx, and even Sports Direct. If the kids already have their own ski/ snowboard clothes check they still fit, especially for older children. Don’t forget snow boots for kicking about in resort too, as trainers will result in wet, cold feet unless it is at the back end of the season and spring has well and truly sprung.
Hats, gloves and scarves: take spares as these get lost, mislaid and forgotten. For little ones do not fix the gloves or mittens onto a string that goes through their jacket like you may do with the school coat. I was told by my daughter’s instructor that this was dangerous as they could get caught on poma tows or chairlifts and cause injury to your child.
Suncream, sunglasses & goggles: protection for the skin and eyes are paramount so ensure you have some to take away. You can obtain small, solid, stick variety sunblock which you can pop into your child’s jacket pocket for reapplication during the day without fear that they will douse their specialist ski wear in the stuff!
Snack bars: take a favourite from the UK and put one every day in their jacket pocket to munch during ski school break. For obvious reasons do not make it a chocolate snack!
Travel sick tablets & sick bag: airport transfers can be lengthy depending upon the location of the airport in relation to your chosen resort. And mountain roads by their very nature are twisty and vomit-inducing for some poor souls. I give my daughter travel sick tablets (as well as myself), and fortunately, so far, there has been no need to produce the sick bag ‘en route’ but I always carry one just in case.
Portable DVD player & headphones: these are useful when travelling on the plane or alternatively load up your tablet or smartphone with games for distraction allowing peace and quiet for the adults. Also great for evening ‘quiet-time’ before the children are ready to go to bed at the end of a tiring day.
Book before you go: get lessons booked when organising your holiday, as most, if not all, places will be taken by the time you get into resort; hire equipment which should be arranged at the time of booking; and think about what childcare you would like as most will need arranging, particularly for those in nursery, well before you arrive in resort. Quite often babysitting can be arranged once you arrive. But don’t forget your Jägermeister of yesteryear holidays pre-children will not be the same when early mornings with babies or toddlers are thrown into the mix!
So what should you expect?
Tears and tantrums: getting the kids ready with all their kit present and correct can be stressful. Either something does not feel right: gloves too tight, goggles too loose; or the tissues or snack bars cannot be found; or a wee is needed just as you get everything on (despite asking if they needed the toilet two minutes ago). And at the end of the day when they are exhausted and tearful do not be surprised when the tears flow and the tantrums start. Remember it’s normal and all families experience it.
Longer time to do everything: I still struggle with this one and forget how long it all takes. After getting the kids organised and ready for ski school we usually collapse for 10 minutes before re-grouping and getting ourselves sorted. It often feels like you have done a day before you have even started! Try and build in extra time. Patience is a key virtue and you will need it by the bucketful.
To become a packhorse: you will carry everything to and from the slopes – get used to it! As a snowboarder I am used to carrying a bulky board under my arm but throw in skis and poles and sometimes a helmet it feels like I need an extra pair of hands.
Memory-making experiences: this is the best bit. At times you will inevitably shout, argue and question your logic about booking a winter holiday but as you watch your child take to the slopes and make their first turn, successfully negotiate the nursery slope and start to make progress you realise it is worth it. Snowboarding and skiing doing what you are passionate about with the people you love is magical – enjoy it and the memories will stay with you forever.
Ta ta for now,