A ski trip can be quite involved – you have to factor in a long road travel to reach the mountains, you’ll be staying in an environment of high altitude and cold weather, and you’ll need to get accustomed to wearing different clothes and footwear. But with some planning, you can make it an enjoyable holiday for the whole family. Here are my top tips:
If it’s your first time doing a snow trip and everything will be new to you, consider booking via a family-friendly travel company. They’ll be able to give you tips for structuring your holiday and can put together an all-inclusive package.
I’d also suggest booking as much as possible in advance, so you can enjoy more time on the mountain. This includes ski and snowboard hire, which you can rent from my store Bumps. We can fit and modify the required equipment to suit your needs and have it ready to collect ahead of your departure.
While you can rent equipment at the ski resort, it’s not something I recommend as waiting times can be long, which eats into the time you should be enjoying skiing, and the equipment hire facilities often have limited stock available, meaning you may not get the best fit or the equipment you want.
If you’ve never worn ski boots before, ask the technician to show you the right way to do them up. Boots can be awkward unless fitted well – it’s worth taking the time to get it right.
Booking everything in advance also means you can get better prices on accommodation, travel, car rental, and gear hire, as these prices tend to increase the later you book. Consider pre-booking lift tickets too, as they sometimes place limits on daily allocations during peak times.
Importantly, make sure you get your car organised if you will be driving to the mountain. Ensure you have anti-freeze in your radiator and that you have tyre chains at the ready.
Consider ski school
For those with children that are new to the snow, ski school is a great option if you can factor it in. It can be costly, but it frees up time for parents to hit the slopes on their own. And there’s the added bonus of your kids learning from a qualified instructor. I find that kids tend to be more receptive to learning from an external authority rather than mum or dad, and it’s a great way for them to get the basics down pat.
When it comes to accommodation, there are a few different options.
The most convenient is ski-in, ski-out accommodation. It’s the more expensive choice, but it will give you more time on the mountain as you won’t have to factor in commuting in and out of the resort.
If you’re staying just outside this zone, there is generally a free shuttle bus that runs around the village that can get you to your accommodation.
Some people choose to stay off mountain in nearby towns, as this accommodation is cheaper, and they drive up to the resort each day. This can be a pain, as there is daily commuting involved, and you’re entering the resort every day which can mean paying more in fees and parking.
Take the right gear
You want to make sure all members of the family are comfortable, so getting quality ski gear is a must as you’ll be in a cold climate every day.
Your ski boots are your top priority. Make sure they are comfortable and that they have been fitted properly by a technician.
When it comes to your gear, ensure it fits properly – it shouldn’t be too tight or too baggy. I recommend good mittens for small kids and those who feel the cold, while gloves are okay for everyone else. For children under the age of five, a one-piece suit is a good option.
You want to dress in multiple layers – use thermals for your base layer, then a middle layer of polyester or wool (or a blend of the two), completed with your final layer, known as the outer shell, which should include an insulated ski jacket and ski pants that are waterproof. Look for a 5000-waterproof rating.
You’ve got to be warm and you’ve got to be comfortable, so I highly recommend taking the time to select the right gear and quality gear. If everyone is warm and comfortable, everyone has a good time.
By Peter Haley. Peter is the owner of Bumps Snowsports, a snow sports retailer located in Melbourne. The store stocks the largest range of snow equipment and gear in Australia, and offers hire and tuning services.
Visit the store at 481 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick. bumps.com.au