1. Good Gloves
OK, this seems like a small one to start with, but cold hands, (and cold feet, cold heads and cold necks) all contribute to one thing, and one thing only – unhappiness. Make sure you pack them. Then get spares. Keep the dry spares in your mountain back pack and make it your daily ‘have we got everything’ mantra before you leave the chalet - gloves, beanie, neck warmer, good socks.
N.B. Thermal under layers are also included in this essential lists. Better to need to take layers off than be desperate for them when you are far far from your warm chalet.
2. Mountain Back Pack
You need one. Even if they really aren’t your cup of tea. If you can leave it in a ski locker or at a central meeting point ready for your breaks and lunches. In it you you’ll need all important water (mountain air is drying, sport dehydrating, hydration is a must), you need it for snacks (kids need very regular energy refills), you need it for nose cleaning tissues, and we’d suggest some thin but important extra layers. You could also pop some sunglasses in here but make sure you ski in goggles. It is also important to make proper use of the pockets on your ski jacket for mini versions of all of the above (mini water, mini snack, mini tissues). Eventually, one day in the future, everyone will be self-sufficient super skiers and the back pack will be redundant. For now, its great to have a central store for the little and big things that the family will need during the day.
N.B. Don’t wear it on the ski-lifts
Jackets might look nice. Salopettes might make you look slim. But if they do not posses many many functional and fully closing pockets, do NOT buy them. Good pockets are essential on the mountain We can’t stress this enough. They will determine the kind of day you have. They hold and keep safe mountain essentials (such as water and small snacks). For little kids it means you can put snacks and water on them for their instructors to easily use. For mountain safety essentials, like a fully charged mobile phone. Pockets. Pockets. Pockets. Say it with us.
Children’s energy levels deplete fast, and getting a child across an unfamiliar mountain to find a much needed restaurant or snack stop will not happy holiday memories make. Make sure you all have your own snacks (in your many pockets, see above) and more in the backpack, and consider getting yourself a mountain guide (see below). Nuts and dried fruits work brilliantly. We always have almonds in our internal pocket to snack on button and chair lifts. We tried bananas but they are not quite robust enough! Power energy balls such as are also great. If all else fails who doesn't love a mini Mars Bar?
5. Don't do too much
It’s easy to want to do as much as possible when on holiday, especially when in the mountains to ski, but in reality people get tired, kids even more so. The only people on the mountain all day every day are instructors and mountains guides and they do so as part of their job, are well trained and mountain adjusted. Expecting a family, especially young kids, to do the same as the professionals is, to be honest, giving them a rather unfair endurance challenge. Book in other activities. Break up the day. Arrange less and also stop skiing BEFORE everyone starts to feel tired. Book in a mid-week afternoon off the mountain, or slightly different snow activities some afternoons or afternoons to break up all the skiing, such as sledding, snow mobiles, aqua parks, the cinema, bowling, nature walks or hangout in your luxury chalet. There are so many things to do in a ski resort both on and off the mountain.