Are you ready to pack up the family and hit the slopes for the first time? Last Christmas break we took our boys, then ages 12, 10 and 8 for a day ski trip. It had been over 20 years since I had last skied and close to 15 for my husband. Basically, we were both comfortable with the ski part of the trip, but we did a terrible job at being prepared with everything we needed for the kids. The carefree college days of skiing and the days of taking a family to the slopes are quite different!
After Christmas this year, we took a longer trip to ski at WinterPlace Ski Resort in West Virginia. I felt much more prepared…so much so, I thought I would share..
Top 10 Tips to prepare your family for their first time Ski Trip:
- BUY TICKETS ONLINE/LOOK FOR PACKAGES. We have used liftopia.com and literally saved hundreds in lift tickets/rentals. There are a limited amount of tickets available/day and there are no refunds, so you will want to make sure no conflicts will arise. We have bought our tickets the night before we ski. Also, in non-peak times, many hotels offer stay and ski packages. For example, the last hotel we stayed at offered 2 free adult lift tickets with our stay.
- SIGN UP EARLY FOR SKI SCHOOL. Every ski resort runs their ski school differently. You’ll want to check the website or call about the ski school options. Some resorts include the ski school as part of the lift ticket. If possible, make a reservation to get your kids signed up, as typically the spots are first come, first serve. Even though my husband and I both ski, it was definitely worth having our kids go to ski school as they learned a lot of tips and tricks we would not have rememberd to tell them.
- PRINT & FILL OUT WAIVERS AT HOME. There’s no reason to waste valuable ski time standing in the equipment rental line filling out forms. Check to see if the ski resort you are going to has their forms available online to print out and bring with you. The last ski resort we went to gave us an extra 10% off our equipment rental for having the forms filled out ahead of time.
- ARRIVE EARLY. Even if the resort says it opens at 10, most likely the lodge and rental area open much earlier. Skiing is expensive, so you want to make the most of your day out on the slopes, not in the lodge! Get to the lodge early, buy your tickets, get fitted for your equipment, grab your locker, etc.
- PACK YOUR LUNCH. Your kids will be super hungry by lunch time. Ski resort food can be expensive and not the healthiest. Save your family $40-50 by bringing a cooler packed with lunch and snacks. Mid-afternoon is a great time to head into the lodge to buy some hot chocolate and eat a snack you brought along. You’ll be glad for the savings.
- WEAR GOGGLES OR SUNGLASSES. You may not want to invest in goggles if this is your first time skiing, see if some friends or family have some you can borrow. Sunglasses will work well too. If it is sunny, make sure you put on some sunscreen. The snow
is reflective and can cause some major sun burn!
- WEAR DRI-FIT & LAYER. Have your kids throw on a dri-fit shirt under their sweatshirts. It’s perfect to keep them warm early on and then cool later in the day as they warm up on the slopes. The dri-fit works the same as the cuddle duds long underwear, but you’ll have a bigger chance of already having the dri-fit in your kid’s closets! Put on a few layers over the dri-fit. Remember, you can always remove a layer or two if you need to.
- DON’T LEAVE YOUR IPHONE ON TOP OF YOUR CAR. Yep! You heard me right! We spent 45 minutes looking for my sweet husband’s (yep, that’s him below) iPhone last year after we got to the slopes. Find my iPhone kept showing it in the parking lot, but we hunted and hunted and searched the van. No where, checked with the concierge and no one turned it in. so. sad. ….until finally he thought to look on TOP of the van. ugh. Use your smarts so you don’t waste time!
- BUY SOME HAND WARMERS. Some days you won’t need these, but on days when the sun never peeks out, they sure help take the chill out of your gloves. I love to stock up on these at The Dollar Tree (check your local $1 store).
- BRING EXTRAS! Everyone had a hat and gloves and coat. We were prepared! Until one kid lost a glove and another lost a balaclava (ski mask). Thankfully I had an extra pair of thin gloves in my pocket and the kids had ski helmets, so that had to do to keep warm. It never hurts to throw a few extra hats and pairs of gloves in the car, just in case!