It’s Day 5 for us on the ski slopes.
And I’ve concluded that the best way to enjoy the mountains is to either hike it or ski on it.
And as silly as it may sound, I sometime feel embarrassed to share our travel itinerary with people because it usually looks like a scene from an old movie GroundHog Day where the same scene repeats itself again and again.
We either hike all day or ski all day.
I felt like a slacker when I found out that a friend spent months to plan for a 2 week vacation. Ours only has one activity, one place of interest.
This time round, being a ski trip, all we did was ski.
So far, I have only seen Salt Lake City when we first arrived and had to do our 1 week grocery shopping. Google map came in handy when it comes to finding our way around so you don’t even need a travel guide or map.
And we are leaving this place like how we left Lake Tahoe, not knowing how the rest of the place looks like except for its ski slopes.
And because we had done quite a fair bit of ski trips, I thought I’ll share my experience in planning for a ski holiday with kids
The main cost for a ski trip has to be the lift tickets and ski equipment
If you are rich enough to choose Club Med, you probably wouldn’t need to read this post, because everything will be included in the price. From food to accommodation to lift tickets and ski equipment. They may even provide ski pants, jackets and helmet.
If you are like us, want to save a few dollars you should probably choose a ski resort that the locals frequent instead of a touristy upmarket one.
If you are skiing for a week or more, it might be cheaper to get your own helmet, ski pants and jacket.
We usually stay in an apartment with a kitchenette to save some money on food, also because I have fussy eaters, including myself.
We also learned from past experience that it is best to consider the proximity of the accommodation to the ski lift.
Ski in ski out accommodation (with direct access to the ski slopes) is good only if you already know how to ski. It is painful if you can’t or if you have kids who can’t.
We made this mistake once and had to walk 15 minutes down the slope every morning and 25 minutes up the same slope every evening.
Trust me, a few hundred metres is not near when you have to waddle the distance with whiny kids in ski boots carrying not just your skis and poles but also theirs as well.
So between a ski in ski out accommodation that is a few hundred metres away from the slope and an accommodation that is a few kilometres away, I would choose the further one and drive, especially if parking is readily available. The one that is further would probably save you a few hundred dollars a night.
Unfortunately, the December school holiday also coincides with the beginning of the ski season in many places. Early season conditions usually mean that not all runs are open and even for those that are open, the snow conditions might not be that good.
So, it is essential to look for a ski resort that is higher up in altitude and has a history of good snow. Naturally the higher you go, the higher the chance of getting powder snow but that would also mean more laboured breathing because of thinner air.
And since you are choosing a resort high up in the mountains that has historically good snows, don’t skimp on the four wheel drive vehicle if you are driving. What can be worse than getting stranded in the snow or missing a flight because a blizzard has closed the roads to all but four wheel drive vehicles?
4. Ski Schools
I highly recommend putting the kids in ski schools. It is worth the cost.
The parents get to ski and the kids get to learn something new. They also learn to be independent and learn about ski safety.
If you ask me, skiing is the best way to enjoy the cold and snow.
Some ski schools take in kids who are as young as 4 years old while others only take in kids who are at least 5.
If you have younger kids, look for a ski resort with childcare service.
We realised that not all ski schools are created equal. I guess there are schools who believe that a 4 year old could be a serious skier and there are those who think a 4 year old is only good for playing snow.
Malcolm learned how to brake and ride over humps after 1 week of ski school when he was 4 but Marcus barely learned how to balance after his first week of ski lessons in Lake Tahoe last month.
This time round, he was up the mountain on Day 2. Did turns, rode over humps and skied through the forest.
I don’t think my kids are extraordinary, I think it’s the instructors who made a difference.
So if your kids are still playing snow in snow garden after a few days of ski school, you probably want to talk to the instructor.
5. Keeping Warm
I learned that the key to keeping warm is to minimise the area that is exposed to the cold. With proper clothing, we could stay out in the cold for hours.
We put on thermal underwear before piling on the fleece sweaters and ski jackets
It is good to get a neck warmer or even balaclava to cover the face and neck area especially when it gets windy and cold.
Goggles, helmet, wool socks and water proof gloves are essentials as well
If someone like me, who needs a cardigan in tropical Singapore, can enjoy skiing in the cold, I am sure anyone can.
Last but not least, look out for speed monsters and dare devils.
Be safe on the slopes and have fun.
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