By Ceri Temple
Even if you were an avid skier before having kids and are dying to get back to the slopes to share the winter love with your little ones, do the logistics of a ski day suddenly become ten-times as complicated as it previously was and you start to question if this is something you did for pleasure?
Over years of repping and ski instructing I’ve observed many a melt-down from one to all family members before they have even hit the ski slopes, but thankfully by the end of the week most are all smiling and joyous – the initial hurdles a distant memory … until the next time!
With this in mind and the snow already on the mountain-tops, I thought I’d put together a few strategies for your family ski day or break to help keep the calm, so the enjoyment factor flows from start to finish…
- Forewarned is forearmed.
As parents, you are masters already of this phenomenon- you know what works for your child and the correct drip-feed of information to help them adjust to a totally new environment. One big thing that comes with skiing is the multiple layers of clothing- often a battle in itself. Get them into their ski gear and having fun in the outdoors in it a few times before the holiday. This goes for trying on the helmet, goggles and boots too- do you remember the first time you tried walking in those things? Hopefully by the time you need to get them to ski school for 9am, they are then dying to get it all on and they and you know which boot goes on which foot…
- Layer up!
Being a comfortable temperature on the slopes is a science in itself and so hard to get right at the best of times. The key is layers- a thermal vest, fleece and ski jacket should be enough to keep most skiers nice and toasty. Carry extra layers in a rucksack if need be, but more often than not, the little ones are overdressed rather than underdressed and overheating is no fun either! If you are planning to spend some time with them on the nursery slope running up and down- then think about your own clothes too- you are going to get a lot warmer than if you were skiing a few runs.
- Advance order
Most ski rental shops take advanced orders and this dramatically speeds up the process. Some will also deliver to your accommodation which is a massive plus- releasing you from the atmosphere of general panic and chaos that descends upon ski shops on Saturday mornings.
- Keeping it all together
As an adult, I find it challenging to keep an overview of all my ski gear – gloves, goggles, buff, helmet… In particular, a relaxed lunch break in a nice alpine hut can end in a frantic search when little one discovers he or she suddenly has two left gloves or the skis are missing. Day care has probably already taught you to label every single item and strategies like elastic to keep gloves together. Additionally, carrying a light weight IKEA bag in your rucksack has a multitude of uses- it can be pulled out at lunch to throw all the gear in one place and if you do have to go into ski store hell before hitting the slopes, throw in the extra layers first to avoid overheating and dress when you are ready to go. Additionally most ski rental services will provide stickers for skis and boots so you can personalise them too.
- Be prepared
As well-travelled Moms you have probably mastered the art of packing for every occasion- skiing with a rucksack is pretty much a must to keep the troops happy – include snacks, water and sun cream, as well as extra layers, a change of gloves is also a definite bonus for cold wet hands. Also, the combination of travel, a new environment and means of movement means a whole lot of excitement and energy- don’t forget in all the buzz that you and especially the kids need plenty of breaks.
- When to leave it to the experts
If you have experience skiing it can be a great help before the start of ski school, to spend a couple of hours on the nursery slope playing around on the skis together and having fun in the snow. However if you are new to skiing or are nervous yourself, the best thing is to hand them over to the ski school. As well as getting top instruction from the start, the kids really have a lot of fun together in the group and you have a couple of hours to ski for yourself. Remember kids have super powers that pick up parental nerves- if you are trembling at the thought of heading down a blue slope, put on your brave and confident skier mask and keep all your language about skiing positive!
- Let it go & go with the flow
We all have expectations as to what the perfect day should look like. When little ones are introduced to the equation, in particular in this environment, we sometimes need a reminder, to let go of all expectations. With that in mind, if it’s not working, then take a break – do something else and come back to it another day or even at a later point. Remember that the reason you are out there is probably to have a good time! Keep positive and enjoy the precious moments together in the winter wonderland!
I hope that these few tips can be of some help- do feel free to share with me and the rest of the Übermoms any other tips and tricks that work for you too!
With a passion for adventure, the great outdoors, travel and education, Ceri has built her career across all of these fields. Following several years in the ski industry, Ceri trained as a UK qualified teacher, teaching foreign languages and outdoor education. With a desire to share her love of outdoor sports and adventure in nature, Ceri started her own business in 2012. Two years ago she launched www.girlsski2.com to inspire a love of outdoor and alpine adventure amongst women: building confidence and friendship, fostering personal growth and well-being. In winter Ceri still ski instructs all ages with local ski schools.