There’s nothing like floating down a ski slope, carving turns and enjoying the majestic mountain views. But nothing can burst that bliss faster than skiing with kids who are uncomfortable, nervous, or freezing cold. After investing years in teaching my kids to ski, I’ve discovered some tricks of the trade.
7 Top Tips for Stress-free Skiing With Kids
1. Ski When It’s Warm-ish
Whenever possible – and especially for the first few times out – ski with your kids on bright, sunny days. No one likes being pelted by snow and wind, and kids have even less tolerance for discomfort. Skiing on a bluebird day when the snow has softened up will leave them with warm, fuzzy feelings about the sport.
2. Make Sure It’s Fun
Don’t make the whole trip about carrying gear, taking lessons, and skiing, skiing, skiing. Get them used to wearing all that snow apparel by letting them play outside and taking breaks. My kids have less stress when we stop every couple of hours for water, hot cocoa and special snacks. And I make sure to leave time for fun, like having a snowball fight!
3. Look For A Smaller Resort
A smaller ski area will be less crowded and you can usually park closer to the lifts, eliminating the stress of carrying gear a long way or taking a shuttle. Prices can also be more reasonable, which is a plus if your kids get cold, tired or whiney halfway through the day.
4. Teach Them To Own It
If you want your kids to enjoy skiing for the long haul, get them into the habit of getting their own boots on, carrying their own skis, and clipping themselves in and out of their skis. I learned this the hard way, thinking I was making things easier on my daughter by helping her a lot. In reality I was encouraging her to take less pride and ownership in the sport. Seeing even younger, smaller kids carry their gear proved to both of us that she could handle the job.
5. Look For A Family Lesson
Most families find that their children learn more from a professional instructor who has plenty of tricks for making learning fun and who they are more likely to behave for. Conversely, kids are more likely to have a meltdown or want to quit at the first frustrating moment when they are taught by a parent. One of the best experiences my family had was with a family lesson where we all skied together with the instructor. My husband and I were able to observe what the instructor taught our kids and we could then reinforce his lessons when we skied with them. And the instructor gave us some tips, too – bonus!
6. Create Anticipation
Find videos on YouTube from the ski resort you will be visiting and watch them with your kids. Fear of the lift is common for beginners, so watch a video to make them a bit more familiar with how it workds. Go over the trail map and set a goal for what trails you want to check off your “bucket list.” If the resort has special trails or activities for kids, talk about them and get your kids excited!
7. Recruit Friends
Kids enjoy everything more when they are with friends. Ideally, this friend would be just a slightly better skier than your child to provide motivation for your child to improve and keep up with the friend. My daughter improved dramatically the year we skied with a friend a couple years older than she was.
Taking ski trips with kids can be a lot of work, but knowing how to make it fun will pay off years later when your kids are challenging you and leaving you behind as they race down the slopes.
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Shannon Entin is a family travel writer who loves adventure. When she’s not skiing, hiking, running, or taking a road trip, she homeschools her two children in northwestern New Jersey. Shannon shares her experiences at 100RoutesAcrossAmerica.com.