Got the skis, poles, glove and lift passes… forgotten the kids. Yep, co-ordinating children and snow can be tricky. Hilary Doling reports.

Here are 18 survival tips I wish I’d known before I took the kids to the snow for the first time. Read these and you may just keep your sanity.

  1. BEG, BORROW OR HIRE if you can. Children grow fast and ski gear is expensive.
  2. MORE LAYERS THAN AN ONION. Kids get cold on the snow, then they get hot in the café, lots of layers are the key.
  3. TIE ‘EM UP. Put small kids ski mittens on elastic through their jackets otherwise they CAN and WILL lose them
  4. NEVER buy cheap ski socks. Warmth and comfort are key.
  5. INVEST IN SKI SCHOOL. Don’t waste time trying to teach your own child to ski – are you really that good? Or that patient? Plus kamikaze boys and girls can get into trouble FAST without some basic know-how.
  6. PRIVATE, SMIVATE. Don’t get private lessons for kids – meeting other children is half the fun.
  7. EARLY BIRDS. Arrive at your destination the afternoon BEFORE you ski and get all the ski hire organised then. Queues are always larger in the morning (see 8).
  8. MILITARY OP. Get everything ready the night before…every night, including lunchboxes if needed.
  9. PACKAGE IT. Family ski holidays are ideal for a package: accommodation, lift passes, even ski lessons, bundled together saves money and hassle on the slopes.
  10. LIDS ON KIDS is the message. Enforce the No helmet, no snow rule, ski school demands it. Even ‘cool’ teenagers have fragile skulls. And by the way, where is your helmet?
  11. STAY CONNECTED Keep your phone in an inside pocket, iPhones don’t like zero temperatures.
  12. CHOCO-STOP. Go in for a hot chocolate before you think you need to. Chill seeps into the bones -it is hard to warm up once you’ve got too cold.girl-hot-cocoa
  13. ONE LAST RUN? Resist the temptation -stop before the kids are tired and miserable and you’ll grow the next generation of snow-lovers.
  14. BUS BLISS Take the free shuttle buses where they are available, they’ll get you nearer the base station than a car parked in the far corner of a snowy car park can. Less distance for kids to walk in heavy boots …”mum my feet hurt”.
  15. PAPERWORK. Check you travel insurance (especially if going to the USA). Skiing isn’t usually covered on a normal family holiday policy. A sick or injured kid is enough to worry about.
  16. DRIVING TO THE SNOW? Make sure the car is in good order before you go. Bad brakes and ice don’t mix. Practise putting on ski chains before you have numb fingers and are attempting the manoeuvre in a blizzard.
  17. DRIVING TO THE SNOW TAKE TWO. Frequent Stops (and an overnight stay half way if you are a Sydneysider heading south) are the key. Games, toys, iPad movies – whatever it takes, you take it. But be warned they are STILL going to get bored … “Are we there yet?”… “are we there yet? …”are we there yet?”
  18. REMEMBER TO BREATH. Ski holidays can be hectic when getting kids ready for lessons and coordinating gear. Slow down –it’s a holiday.

Read more: Surviving a ski trip without killing the kids

Read more: These kids ski and snowboard better than you do


  1. Great points, agree with every one. Just add to the first one, do buy a quality ski jacket and pants – then they can roll around in the snow and have fun without getting wet. If they’re very young, get them an one-piece so snow doesn’t sneak under their clothes. We got out son a Spyder one piece which is fantastic, and as he gets bigger the arms and legs have stitches we can unpick to get extra length for another season. He’s now going to use it for three seasons!

    Oh, and go to Japan! Friendly, awesome food, great slopes and snow and great ski school. Here’s our son having one awesome time there:


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