I am sitting here in the heat of summer, melting away and trying to plan activities for this winter. I promised the family we would experience snow this winter, so I am using it as an exercise to help my mind go to a cooler place. It isn’t working! We haven’t taken the kids on a ski trip for about 4 years. It think it was our trip to Wintergreen Virginia in February 2011. Look how small the kids were! So, it is time to hit the snow again.
Anyway, we will likely do a quick run up to the Sierra Nevada ski areas, as it is just 45 minutes from our place. However, I wanted to also plan a bigger trip for the family. Of course I am dreaming of Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland for snow and experiences. Then I remembered our awesome European Summer road trip and how gorgeous the Swiss and French Alps were. How fun would that be to go skiing in the Alps? So my focus has switched to those locations now, just feeling out options and budgeting what a trip might cost.
Of course when planning a ski / snow trip, there are many things to keep in mind. Here are 5 tips for planning a Family Ski Trip:
- Ski trip with kids? We highly recommend ski lessons for the kids. Even if they have been before, it is a good idea to get them familiar with European ski conditions. It may be a bit different from where you have visited in the past. We can’t wait to go this year and I always take lessons. I am that adult that will eternally take the ski lessons and stay on the kiddie slopes. I am not too fond of the chair lift. That said, our kids and Alan love it, so off they go.Shhh don’t tell anyone, but after my lessons I really like to just go hang out in the lodge!
- What to pack? Check with the various ski resorts and see what options are offered. I know in the Sierras in Spain there is one company who provides clothing rentals, so that is a huge win if you are trying to save on checked baggage fees. If they don’t offer rentals, plan to wear layers of clothing and reuse some of the outer layers. Check out this cute wiki how post on how to dress in layer for skiing.
- Where to go? Of course we are only 45 minutes away from the Sierra Nevada ski areas in Spain, so that is a quick and easy trip for us. That said, I did promise the family a big ski trip in the next year or two, so we are also looking into locations in the French Alps and Switzerland too. We can usually find inexpensive flights to both locations, so it is just a matter of a place to stay.
- Try to book self-catering when you can as it saves us loads of money. No matter where we go, our preference is an apartment or condo. This way we have food on hand for our growing kids and perhaps a midnight snack. This is especially important after spending a full day on the slopes and all you really want to do is shower and relax. Make a few meals in advance and then just heat them up when you return from your day out. Many times an apartment will also have laundry services, which would allow you to pack fewer items, if you can wash. Start checking around early and see if you can get those great deals.
- Reserve your skis in advance. Once you have selected your location and have it all planned out. Make sure you reserve your skis. Depending on when you plan to visit, it could be very busy and you don’t want skis or boots that don’t fit.
Hopefully this is of a little help to you. Have you been skiing in Europe? Where did you go? Tell us all about it. I still have a few months to research and plan.