The Ultimate Family Guide to Skiing With Kids

family playing in the snow

The Ultimate Family Guide to Skiing With Kids

As a parent, I truly thought I had seen and done it all. Facing the dreaded school pick-up lines? Easy. Toting my kids and their cousins up the East Coast on a holiday vacation? No problem. So when it came time to plan a family ski trip for our rambunctious party of six, I thought: I’ve got this. Friends, let me tell you, I did not have that. No friendly messages of encouragement or wise words could have prepared me and Bobby for the craziness of the Schaffer Family Ski Trip. Missing items, running back and forth from the cabin to the slopes, trying to get the kids into ski classes—it’s a miracle that we made it out in one piece. So next time you, or a loved one, get the crazy idea to take your family on a ski trip, please read this blog of my family skiing tips. Like five times. And then print it out. And read it on the drive up the mountain. Then give everyone in your family a copy.

The word “ski” is derived from the Norwegian word “skíð” which means a split piece of wood.

skiing couplemom skiing with kids mom and daughter skiing

What I Did Know (Let’s Start With the Positives)

Skiing Is So Fun!

Me and Bobby, hailing from the East Coast, naturally love snow. Since living in Southern California, our kids don’t have the same memories we did of snow days and sledding. Thankfully, there are so many great winter escapes just a few hours out from our home in sunny San Diego. Whether it’s Big Bear, Mammoth, Mt. Baldy, or June Mountain—each is a popular getaway with established slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and everything in between.

The first recorded downhill skiing race was held in Sweden, in 1879.

family in the snowsnowman in the woods

Plan Your Accommodations!

Especially if you have a big family like mine. We opted for renting a cabin, which is great for longer stays or large families. That way, you can cut down on costs by cooking your own meals, ensure that everyone has their own space and enjoy a more “homey” feel on your getaway. That being said, we’re no strangers to hotel living and love it just as much! Check out nearby hotels for large suites so that everyone can stay together. Plus, at resorts, you have the option to schedule a much-needed couples massage for après ski living (without the kids)!

Alpine skiing made its first debut in the Winter Olympics of 1936. German-born Franz Pfnür became the first man to win the gold medal in the championship.

kids at ski resort mom and son skiingmom and baby at ski resort

Go In With a Game Plan

If there’s anything I’ve learned as a mother of four, it’s that not everyone will want to do the same thing at the same time. Someone is going to want to try snowboarding while others will want to ski, some will want to move to bigger slopes, and some (like my Boss Baby) will want to just dance it out in the restaurant. My advice is to figure out what each kid wants to do, plan around that (i.e. decide who can team up, who needs to stay with a parent, etc.) and then make room in the schedule for last-minute meltdowns.

St Bernard of Montjoux is the patron saint of skiers. Bernard became a patron and protector of skiers as a result of his four decades spent in missionary work throughout the Alps. St. Bernard dogs are named after him.

mom and daughter on ski lift mom and baby hugging at ski resort

What I Didn’t Know (But Now Very Much Know)

Kids Lose Items

They lose stuff all of the time. Gear, gloves, beanies—you name it, a Schaffer kid lost it. After one too many times of running from the car to the cabin and back again on the hunt for the left-hand glove, missing helmet or goggles, I’ve come to understand the importance of checklists. Seriously, make a checklist for each kid and make them responsible for it! Each morning before they head out, have them show you the completed list with all of their must-have items.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced skiing to Switzerland. After returning from one of his ski trips in Norway, he brought with him some skis as he felt Switzerland had the perfect terrain for it.

kids hugging at ski resort mom and yawning toddler

Invest in Backpacks

This goes along with the above point—buy each of your kids a backpack to keep all of their must-have items in it. Get an inexpensive one (in case they lose the whole backpack) and assign each child their own color. Goggles go in the backpack, gloves go in the backpack, jackets go in the backpack—seeing a trend? Again, make them responsible for their things so you aren’t dishing out more money on replacing lost items. 

Many skiers invoke the name of “Ullr,” the Norse God of winter, and make small offerings to get him to unleash a powder dump on selected ski hills.

woman skiing father and son skiing

Ski Gear is Expensive

Take advantage of hand-me-downs when you can so you’re not shelling out money for new items each year you go. Also, check out second-hand sites like Offer Up or the Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is selling the items you need. Often, they are offering those items at discounted prices.

Taking a skiing trip with the kids is never easy! Expect missing clothes, disorganized schedules and lots of running around. Plus you’ll never yell pizza and french fries as much as you do on a ski vacation with the kids. But keep yourself and your littles organized and you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.

Skiing is the only six-letter word in the English language with a double “i” exactly in the middle.

  family building snowman in the forest



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