Hitting the slopes for a family ski holiday is an awesome experience and something everyone should try at least once. We’ve just returned from 3 epic days shredding down the slopes of Thredbo and we can now see what all the fuss is about! You gotta try this for yourself.
Here’s our top tips for your first family ski holiday –
When travelling with kids it’s a no brainer to make life as easy as possible for you and your family, and a ski holiday should be at the top of this list. Booking accommodation right on the snow is definitely something we recommend you budget for. Having to lug around all your ski gear and the kids is a major mission so staying as close to the ski slopes as you can is key. Our snow adventure was to Thredbo, so we booked the River Inn which had an easy walkway right onto Friday flat and it was heaven! Especially after a long day when a hot shower was calling.
If you are holidaying on a budget, there are loads of accommodation options further afield and in most cases you can catch a free shuttle bus to the slopes, or drive yourself. But, if you can help it – pay a little extra for on-snow accommodation you’ll thank us later.
Book ski lessons
This was the first time our kids had seen snow, let alone skied, but by the end of their first day in Ski School, our mini blondies were zooming down the slopes giving us a run for our money.
It’s amazing how quickly the kids can pick it up. To have a professional show them the correct techniques really makes a difference. I (Trace), also booked into a half day, 2.5hr lesson as I hadn’t been skiing in years. For $80 it was well worth the money for the confidence and techniques I picked up, not to mention the safety of everyone else on the slopes with me! Having a lesson also meant I had the confidence to chase my speedy kids down the hills ’cause man they zoomed!
Beg, borrow, steal …or hire your ski gear
It’s no secret that ski gear is not cheap and once you start putting all the pieces together it can really add up. We recommend borrowing or hiring as much gear as you can to help keep costs down, and to see if you actually like skiing before you invest in your own kit.
It’s a bit of a no brainer to hire your ski boots and skis / or snowboard etc, but it pays to do your homework on the clothes side of things. For instance, we discovered that hiring a ski jacket + pants for 3 days would cost $129, but the Aldi ski sale had jackets and pants for about the same price, and then you get to keep it, or sell it on once you are finished. Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are also great resources to find ski gear.
Book lift passes and gear hire together for a discount
Our ski adventure was in Thredbo in NSW and they had a deal for 20% off your gear hire if you book your lift passes at the same time. I imagine this is similar in other snow destinations too. The booking process was pretty straightforward on the website. You simply select each person, the gear you need and the lift pass and a discount is applied. You can also book your ski lessons here too.
Once you book all of the above, it all goes under your profile and is loaded onto a Thredbo Card. You pick up this card when you arrive at the snow. The card then lives in your jacket pocket and gives you access to the ski lifts as well as your lessons while you’re on the slopes. Having a Thredbo Card kept everything super simple and cashless, which is handy when you are a big marshmallow man out on the snow rugged up in puffy jackets and gloves, juggling ski poles and slippery kids.
Get the right gear
There is no point investing in an amazing ski holiday only to be let down by being too cold, having wet clothes, blisters on your feet or numb painful fingers from crappy gloves. Make sure you layer up and have the proper gear underneath, this includes: thermals, thick long socks that don’t bunch up, waterproof snow gloves and goggles (you will have to purchase gloves and goggles as you cannot hire these). We also invested in a pair of snow boots which allowed us to walk comfortably on the snow. These boots are waterproof, provide good grip and feel like you’re walking on a puffy cloud after having your foot in a ski boot all day.
Essentials for your daypack – Sunscreen, lip gloss + Hydra-lite
We found it handy to take a small backpack with us each day to carry a few essentials. This included snacks for us and the kids, usually a few protein balls/muesli bars etc.
You will also need sunscreen, as you can get very burnt on the slopes with the sun reflecting off the snow. Lip gloss is also a good idea as the cold wind will dry your lips out, try to aim for one with a SPF in it. You will also want your water bottle and even a few Hydralite tablets to make sure you stay well hydrated.
If you were planning on enjoying a few sneaky schnapps at ‘Schnappy hour’ on the mountain just remember that you are spending your days at high altitude doing physical activity so it will be easy to get dehydrated, limiting your alcohol intake is wise and keep up that water and food.
Keep it fun, don’t push it
As your confidence grows it may be tempting to jump on some of those trickier runs, and if you love that, go all in. But if it pushes you out of your comfort zone, and it’s not fun anymore, don’t be afraid to pull back and stay on those runs that allow you to have fun. Enjoy how it feels to ski freely and just cruise down the slopes, throw a few snow balls, build a snow man and take in the beautiful landscape.
Stretch those muscles
Skiing and snowboarding use a whole bunch of muscles, some you didn’t even know you had so at the end of each day make sure you take the time to stretch out those legs, calves, thighs and arm muscles. Even get the kids to join in. Taking the time to stretch it out certainly helps the old weary body the next morning as you jump out of bed ready to do it all again.
Go with a group to share the load
It’s always fun to share your travels with other parents and kids and a snow trip is much the same. We travelled to the snow with 2 other families which was great fun. This meant the kids had friends in ski school and us adults could swap and change who we skied with depending on our abilities and run preference. We also took turns in collecting the kids from their class once it finished so we got more time ‘on the mountain’ shredding up that POW POW (do I sound like I know the ski lingo yet?! Haha).
So, let’s be honest, a ski trip can be a lot of hard work juggling all that gear and also a tad costly too. But, fast forward a few hours (or days) to when you’re shredding down the slopes as a family yahoooooing together and feeling that amazing buzz and you’ll have to agree, the laughs, good times and memories are well worth it.
Do you have any tips to add? Please share them in the comments below and we’ll see you next time, cruising down those powdery slopes.