I’m a convert! Tips for a successful family ski trip.

According to The Bug…

Family skiing is easier than you'd thinkYou may recall that I was a reluctant skier. I was totally happy to sip a hot chocolate while my sister did the energetic bit. But my Dad insisted, and so my Mum set about getting me ready for our first family ski holiday. We spent last week in Val d’Isère with Mark Warner, and the person least inclined to come home when it was all over was me. So how exactly do you prepare a child to enjoy his first ski trip?

Tips for a successful family ski trip:

Book Lessons: I had several lessons at our local slope before we left. I found the group lessons intimidating at first, but a couple of private one-to-one lessons really brought my confidence up, to the point where I was brave enough to head out with the Mark Warner nannies on my first morning in resort.

First ski lesson with Mark Warner in Val d'IsereMark Warner use Oxygène Ski School in Val d’Isère, and they had all our booking notes on arrival. So they knew our experience, they knew that I was a bit nervous, and they knew that being in the same group as my sister was likely to make the first day go a little more smoothly!

Mark Warner ski school OxygeneLabelled up with every manner of contact details, and spottable from just about anywhere on the mountain, we even instilled enough confidence in our parents for them to head out to the black slopes. We waved them off and told them to be careful 🙂

Eating crepes with nutella is healthy on a family ski holiday!I tell you, that first 3 hour lesson flew by, and it was a different boy who marched his parents off to the piste-side crêperie for lunch. By the way, this brings me to food, and it is entirely healthy to feed a 6-year-old Nutella pancakes for lunch, ok?

I only cried 3 times! The chair lift freaked me out because it was so high up, but now I can get on and off by myself. Which is more than can be said for GG – do you know she fell over and they had to stop the lift?? Duffer!

Back on the piste - tips for family skiing

Contingency plans were afoot to take me back to the chalet – the Mark Warner nannies were quite willing to pick us up and take us back for lunch there, leaving M&D free to enjoy a full day on the piste. But I was having none of it. I wanted to ski. In fact, I wanted to ski every time we paused for breath that afternoon, “Shall we go then?” becoming my stock phrase of the week.

Chilling out - tips for a successful family ski trip

I did chill out momentarily, pausing to eat snow, or sneak ice down my sister’s neck – you know the obligatory behaviour of boys on tour. But it was never long before I was hankering to get back out there.

Tips for a successful family ski trip - ski school lessons with Oxygene

A conversation later that day had me describing my Oxygène ski instructor:

“He’s nice. He’s a bit French though…”

French or not, he managed to see me through a wobble in a white-out on day 2, where a patch of ice momentarily got the better of me, and by the end of the week I was high-fiving “King Julien” (it’s a Madagascar reference, made no sense to M&D either but I liked it) and taking receipt of my Polar Bear award.

Tips for a successful family ski trip - receiving our Oxygene ski school awards.

How to go from ski avoider to ski fanatic

  1. Book lessons – a good teacher is the only way to instil skiing confidence in children.
  2. Choose your resort carefully – you need a good mix of easy slopes (greens and blues) and a simple way to get back to your hotel at the end of the day. Val d’Isère doesn’t have a lot of beginner slopes at the bottom, but there are some fantastic learner areas on the mountain, accessed by a speedy cable car. And Actually Daddy was able to hurtle down the black runs!
  3. Make sure your hotel has everything you need. Mark Warner had all-day childcare, provided most of our meals, and made up our rooms daily, meaning we could focus on family fun.
  4. Take it at your child’s pace. Don’t push, and be ready to take some time away from the piste if they need it. Mark Warner’s crèche was available to us all day, to drop in and out of when it suited our needs, and the nannies were just lovely.
  5. Relax the rules. My mother is a stickler for vegetables, and manners, but for this week I revelled in Nutella pancakes. I may also have been allowed to lick honey off my plate…
  6. Let your child dictate the slopes. We spent a lot of time on one particular green slope in the afternoons, until I decided we needed more of a challenge and stepped us up to blues!
  7. Be prepared to carry more than one set of skis occasionally 🙂

If you follow the above rules, there’s every chance you’ll have a professional skier on your hands by the end of a week. Just watch this short video to see my progress:

Disclosure: our Mark Warner ski holiday and Oxygene Ski lessons were free of charge for the purposes of review. All editorial content and opinions are our own.

Mark Warner operate a variety of family-friendly trips, including ski and summer holidays. Explore the huge variety on their website.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. All opinion, editorial and imagery is our own, and may not be copied without permission.

43 thoughts on “I’m a convert! Tips for a successful family ski trip.”

  1. I loved skiing when I was a little younger, I would love to take Max skiing when he is a little older. Looks like you all had a fab time.

  2. Great tips thanks for sharing. I’ve been when I was a kid and look forward to taking my daughter when she’s old enough 🙂 x

    • We waited a few years Kerry and we were apprehensive, but it really couldn’t have been better. Now they’re hooked though!

    • Thanks Sarah, I think it really helped him to know that he was capable once he got out there. We’d forgotten how overwhelming the first experience of a real mountain can be – so huge, and beautiful – and high! But he really came into his own by the afternoon.

  3. Wow this looks like an amazing holiday! I remember going skiing with school and college and I loved it x

  4. Oh Helen it sounds like you all had the best time ever. We’ve only done sun holidays with Mark Warner in the past – seems they do ski just as well. Resort sounds awesome. Brilliant post and I love all the photos – especially the first and last ones. Bug being cool in the video is pretty great too!

  5. Great tips. I adore skiing, but MadDad not so much. We went to Chill Factore and now the boys want to learn

  6. I’ve never been skiing myself, let alone with my children. My boyfriend would like to take them so we shall use these tips one day, if we do go. I think lessons will be a definite must for us! 🙂 x.

  7. That sounds like an amazing experience – I’m so pleased you all enjoyed yourself. I’m not sure how my two would take to skiing but I’d love to try it with them x

    • Honestly Cass I was nervous that there would be a lot of moaning and that it would be hard work, but it couldn’t have been easier, and it was so exhilerating seeing them take to it and love it as much as we do!

  8. Bug you’ve had me giggling away.
    Your poor sister falling off the chair lift!

    It sounds like you’ve all had great fun. Well done for getting over the avoidance and becoming a real pro

  9. Wow what an amazing opportunity! I’ve only been skiing once, very hungover in Slovenia. I was pretty terrified, but then I just ended up having fun throwing myself into the snow! I would love to take T skiing though, and hopefully his fearless personality would help!

    • GG was pretty fearless until she accidentally went off piste (more on that tomorrow). It’s good for teaching them self-control as well as for having fun 🙂

  10. None of us have ever really wanted to go skiing, it’s just not something we’re interested in. Great tips though 🙂

  11. I can’t wait until Dylan is big enough to ski, looks like the bug had a great time and I LOVE GG’s outfit, the spots are fab x

  12. Great tips. In my family it’s not the kids that are the problem skiing, it’s me, I couldn’t do the ski lift and can’t handle speed. So if we ever do go, I’ll be firmly at the bottom watching, rather than firmly on my bottom watching!!

  13. Well done to the Bug, that’s amazing! They often surprise us don’t they? What a little trooper. Glad to hear you all had fun 🙂

  14. Wow this looks like an amazing holiday. I’ve never tried skiing before so I would probably cry on the chairlift too! x

  15. What a fantastic post, informative, humorous and great pictures. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip. I’ve never been skiiing, never fancied it at all, until recently. I’ve always thought I’d hate the cold weather, find it boring and I’d have no idea where to go anyway etc. I’ve also always had a young child but now my twins are getting older I think I have definitely got to go… this post has given me a bit of reassurance actually!! 🙂 x

    • Oh good! I say it’s worth a try. If you hate it you hate it, but most people are hooked! Actually we were too hot rather than cold, and the thrill of the scenery and fresh air more than matches the thrill of skiing.

  16. I love these tips – I honestly wouldn’t know where to start and as daft as it sounds thinking of ski-ing lessons beforehand wouldn’t have occurred to me, I would have thought ‘they can learn there’ and brushed that aside – but now I can see just how benificial feeling confident pre-holiday is!

  17. Looks and sounds absolutely amazing so glad the bug took to it all so well. Would love to take my boys one day as I have never even been myself! X

  18. Wow, sounds like an amazing experience. I’d love to take the kids skiing but I’m worried that I’d have to carry more than an extra pair of skis. How about additional ski boots? But looks like it’s worth it.

  19. I cannot wait to do a skiing holiday with my girls. We are hoping to in a few years once Mia is a bit older. I know it will be something that we will all love and cherish the memories 🙂 x

  20. Great tips! Skiing is something we would love to do with the boys one day. Nutella pancakes sounds like the perfect skiing food to keep you fuelled up for an adrenalin filled day on the piste! x

  21. What a fabulous experience for the whole family, but even with my body issues, I would still be waving from the chalet. 🙂


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