02.12
2011 Family

Getting your child dressed and keeping them warm are two of the greatest challenges. After that, it’s all downhill as they say; well, allowing for the occasional tantrum when they fall face first in the snow.

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Getting your child dressed and keeping them warm are two of the greatest challenges. After that, it’s all downhill as they say; well, allowing for the occasional tantrum when they fall face first in the snow.

Taking a family skiing can appear to be a rather daunting project. However, with just a little organisation, you’re in for the best family holiday ever, whether you are heading to one of the better known Alpine resorts like Méribel, Chamonix or Tignes, or one of the quieter, smaller family ski areas in the Pyrénées.

Before heading to the snow, it is best to sort out all your children’s ski clothes. You may be lucky enough to have hand me downs from friends, find cheap ski wear on the internet, or head to the shops to try before you buy. Whatever option you choose, good quality ski equipment is essential to keep your child warm and happy on the slopes.

French ski schools will not accept children into classes unless they are wearing a helmet, and given the nature of the sport, you would be unwise to allow your child onto the slopes without head protection. You can either buy a helmet or one from the ski hire shop.

You can also organise ski lessons, ESF being the main French Ski school, (they usually have some English speaking instructors) crèche and ski hire online before your holiday, or on arrival at the resort.

For ski hire you need to know the weight and height of your children (metric measurements, as the ski technician will just give a gallic shrug of the shoulders if you start talking in stones and feet).

And do check out the various options to ensure you get the best value ski passes – there are various reductions for children (the under fives usually have a free pass, but you do need to present a passport for proof of age) and family groups. Some resorts still have photo ID, so best to take passport photos with you if unsure. Make sure your children have somewhere secure to keep their pass and have local insurance for the slopes.

A snowy mountain is one large winter playground for children and when the ski lifts shut at the end of a day of thrills and spills, they will be reaching for a toboggan, building a snowman or throwing snowballs. They quite simply love it!

This article first appeared on FrenchEntrée.com.

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