You want to get the kids out of the house during school vacation, and a snowy downhill adventure is just the ticket. That winter postcard of the family skiing together could be you and yours – with a little advance planning. But you don’t want to be the bickering family in the base lodge or the screamers at ski school registration, so make a game plan before you go. Here are a few hints to make your snow sliding go smoothly.
Find out the ski resort hours (most resorts have extended lift hours this holiday week), where to park, get tickets, rental equipment and ski lessons.
If you are putting your kids in ski or snowboard lesson or all day camp, reserve in advance as slots often fill during holiday weeks. Children’s ski and ride programs are pricey but worth it (this is the opinion of a mother of two who also once taught skiing). Your youngster receives pro instruction in a fun environment with other kids, and you get to ski free (not “free” of charge, but free of encumbrance).
Make sure everyone has their ski or snowboard outfit ready before the big day. You don’t want to discover on your ski morning that mittens are missing or ski pants are too small. If it’s an early departure for the slopes, let the kids sleep in their long underwear, one less layer to have to put on in the morning.
Run through the checklist: hat/helmet, goggles, mittens, ski pass, skis, poles, boots, with everyone so nothing is left behind. In the car ride, review the 7 point skiers’ responsibility code. It’s pretty simple, and plants that last minute safety seed that could come into play that day.
Talk with your kids about the ski day, prepare them for ski camp if that’s the plan, or discuss how many runs you are going to take before lunch, where to meet if someone takes a wrong turn and you get separated. Expectations are a good thing (versus surprises), and the better your plan is, the more likely your ski day will go as scripted. I know it sounds far from spontaneous but skiing has many moving parts.
Finally, remember skiing is supposed to be fun. So if someone is freezing, take a hot cocoa break. If someone is scared to try a blue square, then ski another green circle to build confidence before moving on and up. Take pictures, take breaks, enjoy the day. Make the most of your money and your time on the mountain with your family.
Photos of Sunday River and Stowe by Greg Burke