Skiing With Kids – All You Need To Know
Skiing with kids at the Learn-To-Ski Zone at Serfaus, Tyrol
Hello, kids, goodbye, skiing? Please, don’t give up – skiing can be an enriching experience for both children and adults! A family ski holiday is one of the most satisfying, fun and memorable ways to spend time together. It’s great to share the mountains and the snow you love with the people you love. However, planning a family ski holiday can feel overwhelming. At what age can kids start skiing? How should they dress? What equipment do they need, and should you rent or buy it? Although there is a bit of planning involved, it’s well worth it for the incredible family memories. Parents have a lot to consider before hitting the slopes with the family, so here’s a how to plan a family ski vacation guide by our guest blogger Dani who will help you get to the slopes with less stress.
Planning a Ski Holiday with Toddlers & Young Kids in Tirol
The list of items that you need to take on a family skiing trip is huge and there’s an extra degree of difficulty when packing for a winter stay. Bulky clothing and gear can test the limits of any suitcase. Fortunately, many hotels or holiday homes offer transfer services to and from the airport or railway station.
Packing for a ski trip with a limited baggage allowance is an art form – so arriving by car means less time dragging you and your kids’ gear and more time enjoying the mountains. It also gives you more freedom to come and go as well as flexibility for non-skiing activities on bad-weather days.
Another option for families is arriving by train. Most of Tirol’s ski areas are easily accessible by rail, while. Within resorts and valleys you can get around using the ski bus.
Last but not least, here is a free printable colouring page for children that you can print out and colour in – a checklist to guide you what to pack for your ski trip.
Packing List for Your Ski Holiday with the Kids
Obviously, skiing is a winter sport. That means it can be cold! And while braving the elements is part of the fun, you and your family will have a better ski day if everyone stays dry and warm. Here is a short checklist of the most important things your kids will need on the slopes:
- Warm ski clothing (jacket, trousers, socks, gloves, hat, etc.)
- Warm base layer / thermal underwear
- Helmet plus sunglasses or goggles
- High-protection sun cream
Dressing Appropriately: What Are the Right Clothes?
When it comes to ski gear, you generally get what you pay for. Therefore, high-quality clothing will be better at keeping you warm and dry. When it comes to base layers next to the skin, natural fibes are better than artificial ones. It is also a good idea to use layering instead of having one big jacket on top of your base layer. Layering has the advantage that if you get hot or cold you can take off or put on a thin layer and thereby regulate your body temperature much better.
One-piece ski suits are only recommended for children who are fully potty trained.
The Right Gear – Renting Skis, Boots and Helmet?
If you only go skiing once or twice a year, consider renting. This approach is definitely better than buying for young kids who grow fast. It is best to hire your equipment from a shop in the resort so you can pop in and make any changes if needed. Ensure sure your child’s boots fit correctly. While the toe buckle should be snug, the buckle over the top of the foot should not. One pair of wool socks is all you need. Don’t ever, ever layer several pairs of socks on top of each other.
Ski length should be chin to nose high, with shorter skis being easier to turn. Got an old pair of kids’ skis at home? Today’s relatively wide skis allow easier learning than in years past so renting new skis is a smart option to give your children a fun experience on the slopes.
Getting ready for skiing with the kids at the Snow & Fun Center Ski Rental in Serfaus
Getting everything from the car park to the lifts can be a pain, so I strongly recommend renting a ski locker – especially if you’re skiing consecutive days. Stow your gear and your boots in the lockers and have them ready and warm the next day. Ski boots that travel in the boot of your car start the day cold. There are few things worse than pulling on cold wet boots before a day on the slopes!
Buy a helmet that fits your child properly. Don’t get a larger size for them to grow into. A good helmet should feel snug but not tight. Goggles are a good choice either, but if you prefer you can also use polarised sunglasses. The sun’s reflection on snow is brighter and more intense at high altitudes. Don’t forget suncream and also use a protective winter cream for your little one's sensitive skin. Although you may not realise it due to the cold temperatures, the sun is extremely strong in the mountains. Bright snow reflects the sunlight, and higher altitudes means the sun’s UV rays are ultra-powerful.
Where to Go Skiing With Kids?
With 3,400 kilometres of pistes, Tirol offers some of the most epic trails and thrilling slopes in the Alps. Nearly all of the region’s ski resorts have family activities. Looking for the best ski resorts for toddlers and young children? Here is a list of the top family ski resorts in Tirol offering easy learn-to-ski zones, rental shops by the slopes, group lessons for kids and even childcare services for babies.
What is the Best Age for Kids to Start Skiing?
Age is not a number but an attitude. If your child loves the snow and can stay outdoors for a decent length of time, they may be ready to ski. Four years of age is generally recommended as a rule of thumb. If you make sure your child is having fun, they’ll be on the right track to learning how to ski. The youngest age that most ski schools will accept a child is 4-5 years old. They will soon find plenty of new playmates and be whizzing around the slopes in no time!
The extensive learn-to-ski zone at Berta’s Children’s Skiing Land in Fiss-Ladis
Is My Kid Ready to Ski?
If your child is excited and shows an interest in skiing, make the most of this enthusiasm. If your child is fearful of skiing, step back and try again later. Sometimes children need a year away from the slopes but come back the next season and love it. Remember that it’s always a good idea to start small, familiarising your child with snow first. Take your child outside to enjoy winter activities. Build snowmen and make snow angels, go sledding or tubing, or just play in the snow – there are many non-skiing activities that are guaranteed to keep everyone occupied on your next winter family holiday.
Should I Enroll My Kids in Lessons?
It’s a good idea to book lessons with a professional instructor. Tirol's ski resorts offer acclaimed ski-school learning programmes that are the perfect springboard to a lifelong love affair with the slopes. The experienced and patient instructors know how to engage and charm your child into learning the right technique to have fun and stay safe on the slopes. Moreover, kids of a certain age learn with group of peers rather than on their own.
Your child will get the most out of his or her skiing experience if they are able to follow direction and listen to adults, like in kindergarten. While a young toddler might like playing in the snow, in order to get the most out of ski school, your child should be able to take direction from instructors.
Don’t plan on having the little ones on the snow from first lift to last lift. Skiing is fun but young kids don’t have the stamina to stay on the slopes all day. You might only get a couple hours on the hill before they’re tired and ready to go home. So be realistic and keep the sessions short.
Children’s Ski Lesson in Pitztal Valley, Hochzeiger Ski Resort
No Fun on the Slopes Today? It’s Not All About Skiing.
If a young child would rather eat snow, roll in it, or just play around, let them. The point is for them to have fun in the snow. The skiing can come later, don’t force it. Snowball fights, snow angels, and building snowmen are all free, fun and easy things to do on the hill. All Tirol ski resorts have a full slate of activities beyond the slopes like snow tubing, sledding, ice-skating, winter walking, swimming and visits to local attractions like show mines which provide a great break for kids and parents alike.
What’s better than skiing with the kiddos? Well, sometimes, skiing without the kiddos, that’s what. While cruising the slopes as a family is a cherished pastime, you’ll be happy you made prior arrangements for the kids to be dropped off at a childcare center, allowing yourself some time to explore the mountain without the entire brood in tow.
Skiing with kids beyond the slopes in Pitztal Valley, Tyrol
Dani grew up skiing in the mountains near her home city of Munich, often with her mother, who wanted her to become a professional ski racer. Dani's design, travel and lifestyle stories appear in her blog butterflyfish.de. Since moving from Munich to Berlin, and since becoming a mum, Dani's focus has switched to sharing her love of the mountains with her daughter, who is now 10. They live in Berlin, Germany, together with her husband and his son. Each winter Dani looks forward to the annual ski trip with her family.