Anyone can go skiing. Whether you want to go with the family, a group of friends, or even solo, you’re sure to have an amazing time.
Going skiing can be a family affair. There are many family-friendly resorts all over Europe, and there are lots of fun snow-themed activities so little tots can get in on the action too. If the idea of taking the kids skiing with you sounds daunting, the good news is, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Is it difficult to go skiing with children?
Technically a child can begin to ski as soon as they can run and jump, however, every child develops at their own rate. The best time for children to start learning to ski would be around the age of three to four years old. If you’re dreaming of a family skiing holiday, here are some tips to help make your first trip a success:
- Book lessons: Many parents like to teach their kids new skills, but if you’re a beginner skier yourself, it’s best to book the little ones into ski school. Or consider a private instructor so you can all learn together as a family.
- Keep warm: Make sure you dress kids in enough layers so they can keep warm. They’ll need a good snow jacket, thick ski socks, and gloves. And let them practice wearing their new clothing at home. Kids love to play dress-up, and it’s a good way to get them feeling comfortable in their new gear before heading off on your trip.
- Wear a helmet: Most adults on the mountain now wear helmets, and for kids this is a must. Choose a helmet that fits your child properly. Goggles are a good idea too, to protect their eyes from glare and bad weather.
- Take breaks: Skiing is physically exhausting, and young children struggle to concentrate for long periods. Limit sessions to an hour, and take plenty of breaks for lunch and other fun activities to split up the day. Consider taking turns with your partner, with one being on childcare duty while the other skis, and vice versa. Then you can all go out together in the afternoon to practice what you’ve learnt.
- Rent, don’t buy: It might be a good idea to rent ski equipment for your first trip rather than to buy it. Kids grow so fast, and their interests can change from one week to the next. Just make sure you use a reputable hire shop, that everything fits, and there are no missing straps or fixings before you set off. Although, there are now more and more options for ski equipment that adjusts and grows with your child. The Pumzi ski boot covers four foot sizes, and the adjustable Push Pin ski poles will grow with your children as they progress, from a height of 1m to 1.45m.
Most importantly, relax and have fun! You’ll all be learning a new skill, and you’ll get to spend quality time together among beautiful snow-covered scenery. The kids will fall and will no doubt get some bumps and bruises along the way, but they’ll bounce back, and it’s all part of the learning curve.
How can I organise a group ski trip with friends?
Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday with friends is a fantastic way to spend quality time together. There'll be plenty of fun, laughter, and no doubt a few embarrassing stories to tell afterwards, but there are also a few things to consider and plan in advance to ensure your ski trip goes as smoothly as possible.
- Get the right group: You might like the idea of all your friends going away together, but a smaller group is sometimes better. You can’t really spend the whole day skiing around with 20 people, and there are bound to be disagreements along the way. It’s also important to consider the level of skiers in your group. It might be fun to go as a small group of beginners so you can all learn together. Someone who regularly skis could be a good teacher, but they may want to go off on their own.
- Choose the perfect resort: Once you’ve got your group together, you need to choose your ski resort. Look for places with a good ski school if you’re a beginner. And if your group of friends are of different abilities, make sure the resort offers enough slopes for everyone to enjoy their trip (even if you don't all spend the day together skiing). You also need to decide what else is important to your group, eg. being close to bars and nightlife, or getting the best value for money. Look for accommodation with large communal areas for everyone to hang out, like a chalet or large apartment. Some chalets even come with a chef so your meals are all taken care of.
- Plan in advance: If you need to hire ski equipment, or a car, or if you need to arrange transfers from the airport, sort those out before you set off on your trip. Most resorts will let you book ski lessons and order your lift passes in advance, and you can book meals at the best restaurants to avoid disappointment when you get there. Anything you can do beforehand will make your ski trip run more smoothly. And share the planning and organising among your group. Don’t put all the pressure on one person to make everyone happy, delegate different roles to different people.
- Talk money: It’s often an awkward discussion to have, so it’s best to agree on the money situation before you go on your trip. Decide how you’re going to be splitting the bills, and if you’d rather all pay your own way, or track spend and send bank-transfers when you’re back home. If everyone knows where they stand ahead of time, it will make the sticky issue of money much easier for your holiday.
- Stay hydrated: A week away with some of your closest friends will likely involve some après ski drinking sessions. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water too. Skiing with a hangover is no fun for anyone, and it’s easy to forget you’re actually doing relatively intense exercise. You’ll want to make the most of your time skiing, rather than nursing a headache. But having said that, it is good to take a rest day at some point in the week where you can enjoy some of the other snow-themed activities on offer, and so you don’t return home and feel like you need another holiday to recover.
Group ski holidays are all about finding the balance so that everyone has fun and gets to do what they want, while still spending time together. It can take some advance planning, but you’re sure to have a fun trip if you all work together.
How can I make new friends to go skiing with?
If your group of mates aren’t the type to go skiing, it can be great fun to go on your own. You can do what you want, when you want. But it can be nice to have someone to share a beer with at après time. If you’d rather go skiing with someone than alone, there are a few ways to meet new ski buddies:
- Ski lessons: You might meet a new potential ski buddy at your indoor ski slope lessons. Or taking lessons on the first day or your trip is a sure way of meeting new people you can spend a few days with. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re on your own, as they might be too. It’s a great way of finding someone to go for a hot chocolate, or cold beer with.
- The pub: It’s often easier to strike up conversation over a few drinks when everyone is relaxed after a day skiing. Find a friendly face and have a chat about your day, and perhaps invite them to breakfast in the morning, ahead of a fun day on the slopes. You can make conversation with people staying at your hotel too, and it’ll be nice to have someone to share a taxi back with after an evening out.
- Online groups: Post in ski groups, or put a post out to your social media friends to see if anyone is heading to the snow on your weekend of choice. Ideally look for other beginner skiers like you, so you can both share your new experience together.
Skiing is a pretty social activity, and it’s fun to meet new ski friends on and off the slopes. But don’t be afraid to enjoy some me-time too, so you can switch off and enjoy a well-earned break away from your usual busy routine back home.