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At NINE & TENNE we specialise in organising luxury family ski holidays; in fact about 90% of our clients are family groups so we are well practiced in helping parents getting their children on the slopes.
In truth there is no hard and fast rule what age your children can start skiing as it all depends on the individual child. Generally speaking they can start between 3 and 5 years old, however don’t expect too much from the three year olds. It’s a great idea getting them going young but if they don’t have the strength, stamina or concentration to last very long on the slopes it will have an impact on their enjoyment and your ski time.
What to expect from three year olds:
- They will usually last 1-2 hrs on the slopes with a hot chocolate stop
- Should be able to balance on their skis but won’t be able to steer or control their speed
- Probably be on the green runs all week
What to expect from five year olds:
- Usually they’ll be able to ski all morning and maybe another run after lunch
- Better at controlling their speed and be able turn in snow-plough position
- They will love going over the little bump jumps on the side of the piste
- Be able to ski greens and easy blues
How to make a family ski trip successful?
Here are our top tips!
1) Choose a family friendly resort…
with a short transfer time and child friendly skiing, because some resorts such as Chamonix or Zermatt have very difficult access to the beginner slopes and they can be very exposed (cold and windy) for small people.
We think Chatel is a fantastic family resort because:
- It’s not too high or exposed
- It has lots of pretty beginner runs through the trees
- There is beginner skiing at the foot of the slopes
2) Choose the right ski school option
If budget allows, from our experience having a private instructor works really well with very young children. Having that personal caring touch from a good instructor works so much better than a large group lesson.
3) Ski with friends
If your children have friends of a similar age and ability to learn with it makes it much more fun, so it’s a good idea to book your ski holiday with family friends.
4) Don’t force it
The most important thing to remember is keeping it fun. If they are too small and not enjoying it, don’t force them. You want their first experience to be enjoyable so they want to ski again next year.
5) Snow dome
If you can visit (have a few lessons) in one of the English snow domes before your holiday it gives children a real head start on day one of your holiday. They will know how to walk in ski boots, how to put skis on and give them a general idea of what skiing is all about.
6) Don’t watch!
Whichever lesson format you choose it’s best to leave the children with the instructor and let him / her do their job. We know as parents ourselves that if we are around our children will play up. They will focus, concentrate and bond with the instructor much more if you’re not standing on the side lines.
7) Chalet with a pool
Young children are not going to be able to ski from 9am – 4pm everyday. We find that most children can manage one run after lunch so if your ski day is finishing at 2pm it’s a good idea to have an afternoon activity on your doorstep. Having a chalet with a pool is a great way to ensure the fun doesn’t have to stop once you leave the slopes.
Family ski holidays should be one of the highlights of the year so we hope this information helps you choose the right time to start skiing with your children. If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.