1. Harness & Ski Tips
Your little ones have hit 3 years old and you’re frothing to get them on skis for the first time. We understand. We’ve been there.
Girls have more co-ordination at 3 years old so it can be easier for them to get the hang of skiing quicker. Boys are normally better from 4 years old, but, as always, it depends on the individual.
Our top tip for safely getting your kids used to the motion of skiing is to use a harness and ski tips.
Speed is always going to be your enemy at first and flying into the fall line is enough to scare your kid senseless. A harness is brilliant for controlling speed on a baby slope. Ideal for 2, 3 or 4 year olds the harness fits around the body with an easy grab handle, which means you can pull them up quickly if they start to go too fast.
Ski tips are always brilliant for first time mini skiers. Buy them online or in a local ski shop, they simply fit onto the tips of the skis so they form a fixed triangle so your child automatically assumes the snowplough position.Rather than trying to control speed and 2 legs at the same time, your little one can simply slide down the baby slope in a stable fixed movement and get a feel for the motion.
2. Pocket Note
Put your child’s name, your accommodation telephone number and address & your mobile number in a pocket of your child’s ski jacket. A no-brainer really but how many of us actually do it? If your child does get lost, at least someone can help get back in touch with you or your hotel. Remember to put the +44 (0) in front of your mobile number if you have a UK mobile with you.
4. Don’t let kids ski too far ahead
Never let your kids ski ahead in bad weather. This is a golden rule. We’ve all heard the horror stories of children going ahead in bad weather, skiing off-piste and going off a cliff. The truth is, if bad weather comes in – and it can come in quickly – it can be really hard to distinguish where the piste edges are. It can be very disorientating in a white out so ski close together. Shout out if necessary, to make sure you all stay close. Look for the piste poles to follow and take your time to get down the mountain slowly or if you come across a mountain restaurant, hole up for a hot chocolate – a white out can sometimes pass as quickly as it comes in.
5. Use sunglasses or goggles + sun cream
6. Know your kids’ limits
Don’t ski all day, everyday with your children. Yes you’re on holiday and you might want to ski every last inch of that piste before the lifts close but bear in mind little legs can only take a couple of hours skiing max before they’re done. Remember skiing uses muscles you haven’t used all year or may have never used, so times that by about ten and you’ll realise how shattered your little one might feel. Fatigue leads to mistakes and potentially to injuries so quit while you’re ahead. Think about whether you really need that one last run. For smalls who’ve been at ski school all morning, take time out to sledge in the afternoons and stoke them out on just being in the snow. The more you force skiing, the less they’ll embrace it. Top tip: book an exciting snow highlight such as husky dog sledging – something your kids will never forget.
6. Piste map love and meeting points
Have a conflab before you all set off down the piste. Grab a piste map for everyone in the family and pour over it, making sure they understand where the main lifts are and restaurant/meeting points. Make a plan to meet at a particular restaurant on the half hour or hour if you get separated. As above remember – mobile phone batteries die quickly in cold conditions (especially iPhones) so don’t count on being able to call each other if you get lost. ALWAYS have a back up plan.
7. Ski slopes suitable for your child’s level
8. Getting on and off lifts
9. Ski boots and helmets
10. Hand & foot warmers
We don’t mollycoddle our girls so we would never pack them off with hand and foot warmers automatically. BUT in the event of a lift stopping (which can happen) for up to 10 or 15 minutes in -20 temperatures, the risk of frostbite is very real. We’ve got a couple of emergency packs in our backpack should that eventuality happen. Something to think about.
11. The rules of the piste
Make sure your little rippers know the basic rules of the piste. Read them here in my last blog post ‘Does your child know piste etiquette?’