How Do I Plan a Family Ski Vacation?

Sheri Cyprus

When planning a family ski vacation, keep ages and activity levels in mind. Some ski resorts are more basic than others and may offer only a room and a dining area with a fireplace in addition to the main attraction of skiing. Consider family-friendly resorts that offer ski vacation packages, as these are more likely to include fun activities to do after the skiing is done for the day. Pick the resort that offers lessons and trails to suit each family member's ski skill set. Also be sure to look for a resort that fits your family's style, budget and expectations.

Check past ski reports to see what the conditions are usually like at a resort before booking a room.
Check past ski reports to see what the conditions are usually like at a resort before booking a room.

For example, if you want a non-competitive approach to learning to ski, look for this attitude in resort brochures. If you're not even sure if your children will enjoy skiing, it may be best to plan a family ski vacation in a resort that has snowy hills for tubing as well as room just to play in the snow and build snowmen together. Some resorts also have sleigh rides or other recreational activities such as fishing. Choosing a resort with a pool can also be a great choice if your family enjoys swimming. This way, even if one of your children doesn't take to skiing and cold-weather activities, he or she can still have fun by enjoying other activities.

Find out what kinds of lessons are offered at each different resort.
Find out what kinds of lessons are offered at each different resort.

Planning the family ski vacation with your spouse is a great idea so that you can decide on activities to do together with the kids as well as individually or as a couple. Most family ski resorts offer activity clubs for kids to allow the parents to ski together or enjoy a lunch or dinner out or some spa pampering. Many family ski resort packages include arts and crafts activities in the main room of the lodge. There may be family movie nights as well with popcorn and hot chocolate.

Planning a family ski vacation with a spouse is a great idea.
Planning a family ski vacation with a spouse is a great idea.

Carefully compare the different offerings at ski resorts to get the best value for your budget. Make sure the lessons and at least many of the activities are likely to be something your family enjoys or you're not likely to feel that your money is well spent. Do careful research such as to check for age minimums and maximums as well as the availability of certain ski classes to avoid disappointment. It's also a good idea when planning a family ski vacation to ask the resort you've picked for a packing checklist so you'll know what equipment will be supplied with lessons and what you'll need to pack.

Many family-friendly resorts offer ski vacation packages.
Many family-friendly resorts offer ski vacation packages.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - I know what you mean! My mother loves telling the story of the first time she and my dad went on a skiing vacation. I was still quite little, so they had left me with my aunt and gone to go skiing.

Mum had never been on a ski vacation before and she was quite awkward on the skis, so when they went to get on the ski lift she didn't make it on properly. Unfortunately, my father is quite strong and when she just about fell off near the start, he held on to her. If she had fallen near the start it would have been a very short drop, but of course the drop got higher the longer he held her.

He kept hold of her until they managed to get almost to the other side, so she only twisted her ankle a little bit, but she still teases him about it.

She still calls it the best ski vacation she ever had though.


@Iluviaporos - I would add that you also need to beware of the opposite. You can wrap up your kids too well. If they are playing and sweating out in the snow, bundled up too warm they will sweat and it's possible they can become dehydrated. I remember one year at a ski lodge we had a girl faint and people were worried it was hypothermia but it turned out she was dehydrated. Luckily it had happened before and the people who were tending to her knew the signs, because of course, if you weren't expecting it, you might try to make her even warmer thinking she was suffering from the cold.

It's just something else to be aware of. I always try to make sure I know where the ski resort medic and the first aid kits are kept as well. I don't think I've ever been at a snow skiing vacation without someone having some kind of accident.


One thing to keep in mind when you've got young kids is that no matter how well you wrap them up, they might start getting cold after a while. It's difficult to block out an entire day for "skiing" if you have to keep coming back to the lodge to warm them up again.

I find it's better to mix up snow activities with other activities in order to make it easier for them to avoid getting too cold. I know my nephew in particular will stay out in the snow as long as anyone will let him, and he often comes in shivering. He simply won't tell anyone when he starts feeling too cold.

With young kids in particular you need to keep a strict eye on them to monitor this and it's best if you've organized it so that they are only in the snow in short bursts.

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