What to expect and handy tips on a family overseas snow holiday

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What to expect and handy tips on a family overseas snow holiday

Does an overseas snow holiday with your young family seem daunting?

So you have taken the kids skiing and snowboarding in Australia in the hope that they will love it just as much as you do. At some point you have entertained the idea of taking them on an overseas snow holiday (and lets face it, for you to do some skiing as well!!) but what can you expect?

I interviewed a family recently who took their two boys, aged 5 and 4, to Whistler in January. Kids and snow, is it worth it? Yes it is! Although here is some practical advice on what to expect.

Q. What skill level do you suggest kids need to be in order to enjoy their overseas skiing?

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A. “Our boys had already had some limited experience skiing before going, which was handy. They knew what to expect with dressing up each morning and could shuffle around with their skis on without falling over in the lift lines. We roughly knew how they would cope with the cold conditions though we did underestimate this due to extremely cold conditions when we first arrived. Apparently the cheap ski jacket from Coles isn’t quite up to scratch for -17 degree temperatures and it is best to invest in some more expensive base layers”.

Q. Did you put the kids into ski school. Half day or full day?

A. “Whistler offers 5 full day adventure camps that run Monday-Friday. We arrived on a Tuesday the first week, which meant they couldn’t start till the following week. These programs are specifically designed for kids with the 3-4 year old group having some off snow time each day playing indoor games, while the 5-6 year old group are on snow all day. The instructors were all wonderful and our kids absolutely loved them. They were graded on the first day from level 1-4″.

Q. Did the kids make improvements to their skiing?

A. “Amazing improvements. They started as a grade 1-2 and by the end they were both high grade 3 and had started doing parallel turns on blue runs (and I mean proper blue runs not the Australian kind). Each day they could look up their GPS tracker (each kid wears one so they don’t get lost) online and track their day. Our 5 year old was doing 18km of skiing a day and the 4 year old 12 kms day, no wonder they were tired!” 

Q. Were there activities for the kids other than skiing?

A. “Whistler has playgrounds hidden on the ski slopes with tree forts to climb and slides to come down on.whistler-with-kids-tree-fort (Word of warning to parents that have a crack at them is that these are very fast , you tend to shoot out the bottom into the snow). These playgrounds broke up the day well. The younger kids also had indoor time playing games, drawing and colouring in. 

Off the ski slopes Whistler had a playground in the village to play on, ice skating, tobogganing, indoor rock climbing, and an excellent heated pool, which was a short bus ride away, and plenty of good bakeries offering hot chocolate”.

Any tips to make for a more enjoyable overseas family holiday?

Snowy trees on Whistler“The worst part of the day was getting them dressed in the morning. We laid out all their clothes in the evening so we knew where everything was but it was still a chore to get them out the door. 

Bribery with hot chocolate at the end of the day worked a treat. The boys were told if their instructor told us they were good boys and listened to instructions, etc, we would take them out afterwards. Our youngest one played up on the first day, which the instructor was very good telling us about. We had no further issues once we established the bribery. 

Stay close to the kids chairlifts if you can. Our accomodation was 150m away from the kids chairlift, which was awesome. 

Always carry lots of food if you are skiing with the kids as it seems to keep them going”!

About Whistler

Whistler is undoubtedly one of the world’s best ski resorts, especially for families. Whistler offers world-class skiing with two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, offering over 200 runs in 3306 hectares. Kids as young as three can learn to snowboard at Whistler.

Video: Whistler’s Hidden Trails and Tree Fort!

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