As February half term approaches the ski resorts in Europe start to get much busier, as many families from the UK flock to the resorts of France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
Skiing holidays have always been expensive. These days, unsurprisingly, they are crazy expensive. When you have a family, the cost of a skiing holiday is eye-watering.
If you have a ton of disposable income, then of course this won’t worry you, but I don’t believe that is the situation for the vast majority of UK families right now. Life is expensive these days!
For most people, a skiing holiday will be something you have to save up for and meticulously plan out in order to save and therefore afford the experience. In this sense, it’s no different to the big trips to Disneyland that so many UK families make each year.
If skiing is something you fancy giving a go, I’m certainly not going to talk you out of it. It is without a doubt my favourite thing to do. Being in the mountains, the exhilaration and pushing yourself each day – it’s a wonderful feeling. Not to mention, skiing with my husband and four children – now that’s special! If I could bottle that feeling and keep it in a jar on my desk I would for sure.
So, what are the essential items you need to enjoy a family ski trip?
I’m not about to give you a full kit list, but what I will say is that when you are making a list of all the things you need, think down from head to toe, so you don’t miss anything out. So for example, helmet and goggles, down to ski socks and snow boots. It’s a really good way of not missing anything out.
I’ve listed below, some of the things that might be either less obvious, or those things that need some further clarification, in the hope that it will help you out if you ever decide to take to the slopes.
Decent ski socks
All ski socks were not created equal. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting decent ski socks. When you ski you need your feet to be comfy, whilst they don’t to the work as such, they do need to cope with being in ski boots all day.
Get well-fitting ski socks for the family that aren’t going to bag, wrinkle or start coming off the foot during the day. Whilst they need to be warm, it’s not necessarily about the thicker, the better. If you are concerned about foot and leg fatigue you can also try compression socks. Just make sure that whatever socks you get for skiing, that they are long enough to pull up higher than your ski boots as this will prevent any rubbing.
If you ski in January and February the weather can be cold. On windy days it will feel much colder. Cold hands and feet make for miserable children (and adults too for that matter). You can avoid this by getting good quality gloves and inner gloves (and socks), and then buying some heat packs to have as an emergency.
Hot Hands are the brand we’ve used for years. They make disposable heat pads for hands and feet. You can just pop one of these in an inner pocket for general warmth too. They last pretty well (several hours), normally enough for the bulk of the skiing day. There are other brands too these days, such as The Heat Company, and I’ve also purchased some rechargeable ones for this year, as the disposable element bothers me when we are using quite a few. I’ve bought a two-pack of INNOPAW this year. These are rechargeable and they also double up as a power pack, so ideal for charging your phone on the slopes as the cold temperatures can adversely affect the battery life of your phone.
I started skiing when I was five years old. Back then, the only time I saw anyone wear a ski helmet was when I watched Ski Sunday with my dad. The athletes wore helmets but no one else.
Fast forward 38 years and it’s incredibly rare to see anyone not wearing a ski helmet. Don’t risk it, make sure you have them and that they fit well. The bonus is that they also keep your head and ears much warmer than a hat and they can’t fly off when you are going fast!
Sun cream and wind balm
If you’ve not been skiing before and you are going in the depths of Winter you might think this is bonkers, but trust me when I tell you that you need SPF 50+ and a wind balm. The sun’s rays will reflect off the snow and you will be quite high up too. Skin can get sore and dry and burnt in the mountains so take care.
If you are going skiing as a family take a rucksack with body straps that you can wear. Throw in some snacks, spare gloves, a bottle of water, phone charger, sun cream and any other supplies and you can avoid skiing with bulging pockets.
Before you travel check what kind of resort you are going to. This year our resort is ski in/ski out which makes life easier, but we’ve been to plenty of resorts in the past where this has not been the case. If you are going anywhere where you may have to carry your skis, invest in a ski carry strap like the Trixski.
Sense of humour
The most important thing to pack for your ski trip with your family is a sense of humour. Skiing with children can test your patience and be stressful at times. The more you can laugh about the challenges and go with the flow the better for everyone!
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