Skiing with the kids

Picnic, Skiing -

Skiing with the kids

Keep it fun. Don't get nervous. Don't show you're nervous. Enjoy it.

If you're lucky enough to be going skiing with the kids for half term I'm sure it will be great fun, rewarding but really hard work. Here are a few tips from our experience of tired monkeys on the slopes.

They will need a lot of refuelling. Eating in cafes on the mountain can be expensive. We always take picnic. Nearly all ski areas have indoor picnic areas for when the weather is cold. If you can't find one just ask. They can be hidden away. And when the weather is good it's fabulous to eat out in the fresh air, with a view. The kids like to have something warm so we take hotdogs in a thermos along with a baguette and a small container of tomato ketchup.

If we're boarding we turn our boards upside down to use as a seat but of course I always have a PACMAT patch with me too. Even if I'm not sitting on it it makes a good table cloth to lay the picnic out onto. Make sure you carry some water. Skiing is thirsty work. If you need a refill there is normally a water fountain in the cafe area at the lift station. If you give into sweet and fizzy drinks they can really add up. Not just on your pocket, but the sugar load too. If you're skiing with other families it's useful to all have the same rule about drink stops agreed in advance.

When you do stop for a break outside it's a good time to pop on some more suncream block. Don't forget to put something on their lips too. I try to get our kids to keep their helmets and goggles on to save their eyes and keep their heads warm but if it's very sunny I'll normally have a peaked cap in my back pack.

Small kids burn energy quickly. Make sure you are loaded up with lots of snacks. I keep a tupperware tub full of various fruit bars. They like to dither and choose their own and it stops the snacks getting damaged. I always have a few emergency toffees in my pocket just incase of a tired shouter. Pop one in for a few minutes peace. Okay, I'm not going to get into the green parenting book, but its only occasionally and it's worth it for those precious few moments of peace on the lift.

A pocket full of stickers can be great rewards to hand out and fun for decorating gear.

The grown ups tend to need more rest time than the kids so it's handy to have something with you to occupy them when they get fidgety. A couple of sets of top trumps are easy to pop in the bag. And kids love to dig and muck about in the snow. It's not just about skiing. I carry a shovel in my bag (part of my avalanche safety kit). Great for snow holes!

    

We normally always have the back protector argument. But I won't budge on that one. They give in pretty quickly. Don't believe them when they say it's too small. Also, when fitting boots make sure it's not the colour causing the problem. If you take the liner out of the boot and get them to try it on without the outer shell you can feel where their toes really come to. When the kids were very tiny I used to dress them up in ikea fluorescent vests so I could spot them in a white out. Now they wouldn't be seen dead in them, but these days I'm less worried. I just hope they stop and wait for me occasionally. I keep the biscuits in my pack just to make sure.

When you load up the car to go home do a final check. We've often left things behind in that last minute, tired bundle. Go back to where you're staying for a play. Kids just love mucking about in the snow, don't make the skiing too serious. It's just a lot of fun.