Snow+Rock’s ski hardware buyer Phil Gordon isn’t just an equipment expert and powder fanatic – he’s a family man, too. He loves escaping to the Austrian mountains on family ski holidays, and is a seasoned pro at hitting the slopes with the kids.
Stress-Free Family Skiing. Sounds impossible, right? Think again. The mountains are our escape and taking the whole family skiing shouldn’t leave you needing another holiday to recover. It’s all about being prepared, knowing everyone’s limits, and keeping in mind what really matters. Here are Phil’s expert tips for making your family skiing holiday a stress-free success.
Preparation is everything any time you head into the mountains, but especially when you do it with kids in tow. The key for kids is dry feet and warm hands; this means bringing four to six pairs of ski socks and two to three pairs of gloves on a week-long ski holiday to ensure you can always replace a soaked-through pair. For keeping everywhere else warm, layers are much more effective than one bulky coat, so a good system of baselayers, fleeces and a ski jacket will keep them comfortable all day.
One more gear tip: a visor helmet for kids eliminates the dreaded lost goggles. You’re welcome!
Family time and slope time – two of the most precious things there are. You won’t want to waste a minute, so keep in mind a few tricks to make the most of your time in the mountains. Consider booking your lift passes before you leave to make getting sorted when you arrive easier, and where possible, keep transfers to a two-hour maximum to avoid younger ones getting impatient.
While you’re there, consider getting the kids lessons in the mornings and then family skiing in the afternoon. It takes the stress off by letting the professionals teach the kids and strikes the perfect balance between individual learning and valuable time together.
We know life gets in the way and we don’t always get as much time as we would like to prepare physically for our ski holidays. Awareness of everyone’s size and strength, and how much preparation you’ve been able to do, is key to keeping the holiday as enjoyable as it should be. Everyone’s legs can get tired easily, which just ends up making it less fun and possibly more dangerous out there, so avoid pushing anyone out of their comfort zone and stick to what you know they can handle.
It’s also a great idea to choose a resort with plenty of activities off the snow, like swimming or hiking, so the whole family can still have a great day even if the kids aren’t up for skiing. It is a holiday, after all!
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF
How fast you can ski or how many runs you do are great benchmarks for solo trips to the mountains. But, as fun as they are, they’re not what family skiing is about. Ultimately, a successful family ski holiday is one where the kids learn to love the mountains and everyone spends time together – so make a conscious effort to slow the pace right down. Go with your kids to find forest trails and do jumps, take time to capture it all in photos and videos, and make sure everyone leaves the slopes with a smile. You won’t regret it.