Always wanted to learn to ski, and finally plucked up the courage to book your first skiing holiday for yourself and the little ones? Great – you’ll have an amazing time! But OMG, you might be thinking – what should you pack? How to get ready for the piste? What do you need to do when you actually get there? Don’t worry – there’s no need to panic! Skiing is one of the most exhilarating experiences for all ages, and you’ll come back wanting to book your next skiing trip before you get off the plane back! Just to ease that initial panic, though, here are one or two helpful tips…
What to pack
You can be sure of one thing: it will be cold up there in the mountains. So your check-list should include thermal underwear, fleece, jumpers, ski socks, waterproof gloves, a ski jacket, ski trousers, a balaclava to protect you against the cold and possibly the wind, ski goggles and – if you’re very sensitive to the cold – glove and boot warmers too. There’s no need to buy a helmet in advance, or bring one helmet along, as you can hire them in the resort (unless you prefer your own, of course). There are so many ski shops to choose from nowadays (Snow and Rock is a good example) as well as online providers and outlet stores like TKMaxx that you can find quality ski wear at good prices pretty well anywhere. There really is something for every budget when it comes to skiing these days. And for young children in particular, who will have grown out of their ski wear by next year, or teenagers, who will be demanding a different look – it’s almost always a good idea to go for the cheaper options available.
Personally I wouldn’t buy ski boots or skis if it were my first time skiing, as these can be rented at reasonable cost at the resort’s hire shops. This will give you a chance to try out different models and types of skis and boots for the first couple of years before investing in your own set. Most hire shops across Europe stock high-quality ski sets with different types of performance carver skis to choose from.
How to prepare for the Piste
If you and your children are sporty types, then you’ll take to skiing very quickly. If you prefer lifting a glass of wine in the bar to weights in the gym come the evening, on the other hand, you might want to change your routine for a few weeks in the run-up to your skiing holiday, to avoid those aching muscles after your first day on the piste. Some gyms offer ‘ski fit’ courses and exercise programmes during the skiing season specially geared to get you ready for the piste. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the gym, though – any regular exercise will help get you fit for your skiing holiday – from swimming to hiking, jogging, aerobics classes, and putting on fitness DVDs in your living room and joining in. Children tend to be fit anyway, so it is really us mums and dads who need to get back in shape!
On your arrival at the Ski Resort
OK, you’ve landed, your transfer has taken you to your hotel or chalet, you’ve checked in and your first day’s skiing starts tomorrow. I recommend you get your equipment hire and ski lessons sorted out on the day you arrive if possible, have a relaxing evening over dinner and an early night, so you’re rested and ready for your first day on the piste.
If this all seems rather daunting on your own with children, the specialist holiday company Single Parents on Holiday offers escorted skiing holidays with experienced tour guides who are there to give you a helping hand. They’ll organise equipment hire and lessons for you in advance, organise group dinners, help with ski lessons, and even offer ski guiding for the more experienced skiers. The company is offering a great 4-star single parent skiing break at Easter from 28 March to 4 April next year in Zillertal, Austria.
This post was supplied Sandra Martinz-Lywood, co-founder of Single Parents on Holiday. You may meet Sandra in Zillertal or Schladming this ski season.