Originally written for Little London Magazine; By EJ Adam
We have three ski bunnies’ ages 13, 11 and 8. They are all better than me!
Of course with our eldest, we were out on the slopes with him as soon as we thought possible…which was obviously way too soon, because we were clueless over eager first time parents! Trying to teach a two year old to ski in plastic skis with a scary clown printed on them is generally not advisable!
We have since become more sensible with each child as they reach the right age to ski.
Max (13) and Ben (11) started off having private lessons when they were really little (3-4). However, Grace has never had a private lesson and has subsequently learnt to ski in the ski school groups from the age of 4. We realise 3 was probably a little too soon to be out on the baby slopes. Max is however quite the demon skier now!
As far as where to ski, everyone has a favorite place and ours is Lech in Austria. Despite having tried out many ski resorts (lucky us!), Lech arguably has the best ski school in Europe and is a fantastic place for kiddies to learn to ski (…and me when I was 25). It is also stunningly beautiful! Most of the people I know that have been there always go back…we’ve been going back for over fifteen years!
My husband even dragged us over there when Grace (our youngest) was just 9 weeks old. To this day she is still the hotels’ youngest ever guest!
Our Favourite Hotels in Lech
I think my top tip overall would be packing…with three kids I am slightly obsessed with travelling as light as possible and we still look like we are moving house when we go skiing!
- Two pairs of ski mittens are essential because they always get one wet within 30secs of going out in the snow. I say mittens because they are much warmer, you can also add merino liners for extra warmth.
- Base layers – of course our superfine non-itchy merino Smalls are the perfect moisture wicking base layer for skiing…our kids live in them when we are away (and when were not!) – they even wear them to bed…. and they don’t get smelly, promise!
- I try and pack one t-shirt for every two days (and the same for socks ) then one Smalls merino base layer for every five/seven days– that way you’re not laden down with gear
- Also in the evenings they don’t need much, even for going out to dinner, but try and take a spare coat for going out at night so the ski one can dry overnight.
- Bright coloured ski outfit so they are easy to identify on busy slopes
- Lucas’ Papaw ointment for chapped lips
- Hire your skis the night before…. its chaos in the morning - this is my husbands most important piece of advice
- Use the ski schools because the kiddies can make friends, and it’s also a little bit of safety in numbers
- The physical dressing of your little ones
- I do a Smalls base layer, long sleeve for winter or Raglan for Spring skiing or both if its extra cold!
- Then fleece if needed, then ski-jacket, because they do end up standing around a lot when they are little. That’s why merino is so wonderful, it regulates your body temperature, whether you’re inside or out, drawing moisture away from the skin to stop you getting cold when standing still.
- I try and put a bandana around their neck as they are good for just about everything – but my older two now usually pull them off!
- Smalls 24 Trouser obviously essential! They can wear these on the slopes, then run around in the hotel THEN sleep in them…I know this to be true, because my son Ben did exactly this for ten days straight one year!
- Merino socks are amazing as well because they don’t smell and are ultra warm (I wore mine to the summit of Kilimanjaro!)
- Helmet and liner, our Smalls snood is actually the perfect liner, you pull ti up over their head creating the perfect all over liner and snood – I wear also wear a helmet and Smalls snood, its more about people skiing around you not how good you are
- Goggles - whatever you want, we usually go cheaper because they always lose them or stand on them with their ski boots!
- Hats are more for the evenings as they are always in a helmet during the day.
- Kids pocket essentials – sweets, lip salve, sunscreen, tissues and the obligatory 10euros for lunch, which will always be unhealthy.
- Always try and spend some time skiing with your kiddies, regardless of how painful it is for your lower back…they will be forever grateful and it makes for great memories.