As a couple, we have a total of 18 seasons and countless resorts under our belts. As a family of 4, we have one recent ski trip. The most exhausting ski ‘holiday’ in the history of ski holidays, even compared to the good old days of all-night drinking and dancing on tables (at least back then you only had yourself to account for).
We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but little did we know that taking children, particularly very small ones, to the snow is a whole new game in a world we thought we knew so well.
Of course, we allowed extra time to get ready, extra time to get anywhere, extra time for ski school hugs and had zero expectations for what the week may hold. But as with all things parent-related, just as you feel as though you’re there, you’re back at the start – do not pass GO, do not collect $200, in fact while you’re here you can part with another $200.
Fondly looking back at the moments of joy and trying to supress the daily mini traumas it somehow all seems worth it, but there are 5 definite fails we don’t plan to repeat next time.
The (non-existent) sick Bag
A winding access road is enough to make the hardiest of stomachs feel queasy. Just as we were on the last few kms, with the summit in sight, spew-disaster struck! And we spent the next 20 minutes cleaning up after our 4 year-old’s banana porridge for the second time that day.
Even if your child has never been carsick and has previously watched Bluey non-stop on the iPad during long journeys past, do not be complacent. We’re never leaving home without one.
The toddler faceplant
There is nothing cuter than a baby or toddler in a snowsuit, reason itself to take a small person to the snow.
But all those extra layers can make it quite hard to move, no sooner had I placed my 18-month-old freshly dressed bundle of cuteness down she promptly lost her balance. I watched in slow motion as she wobbled, paralysed by padding she made no attempt to break the fall.
Yep, she hit the deck face-first.
After that, to the detriment of our aging backs, her hand was held, or she was carried.
If I lived in the snow, I’d buy a pram with skis.
The crèche booking
The words ‘book in advance’ do not usually get my laid-back demeanour fired up. But this is one of those times they really do mean it. I was panicked when advised we were on the waitlist and thoughts of not actually skiing and riding together were a real possibility.
I have a friend who checks crèche availability before booking flights. #priorities
Luckily some of the days became available and we enjoyed some slope-side child-free time. Contact the crèche as soon as you know your dates, not just a week or 2 ahead of arrival.
The first chairlift
You know when you haven’t been to the snow for a while when you don’t consider that the weather at the bottom of the lift is not the same as the weather up top.
To keep my little first-timer as comfortable as possible I lovingly packed her ski boots, helmet, goggles and gloves in my backpack, planning to get her all geared up and ready for action when we got to ski school at the top of the mountain.
This rookie mistake meant that on her first ever chairlift up the mountain she was icily blown inside out crying ‘Mummy the wind is stinging my eyes and chilling me!’ Whoops, gear up.
The stuff – too much stuff!
Some things of course you can’t cull; the snow gear, the kid stuff, the family.
But seriously, next time I’m going to lay the clothes out and halve them, this applies to everyone. Even if you make it out for an après drink or meal it’s likely you won’t have time to shower first, and even if you do just wear the same outfit as yesterday.
It’s not like you’re out on the pull these days and will probably be home well before the table dancing kicks off and the tired tantrums begin (yours, not the children’s).
Pack less stuff and use the washing machine in your accommodation.
They tell me the first time is the hardest. The next time will be a doddle, right?