Tips and Tricks: Part 1
Here in Singapore, our kids aren’t the kind that are born with a pair of skis on their feet, and we’re used to spending our dream time thinking of winter wonderlands. Lightfoot Travel knows parents have concerns when sending their little ones out into the big white world for the first time. Turn your novice ski bunnies into powder whizzes with Lightfoot Travel’s tips and tricks for Skiing for Kids 101.
What’s a good age to get kids started?
Put a toddler in the snow and chances are all they will want to do is play. Instructors know this, so starter classes won’t be too strenuous, and things like snowball fights and snowman building will also take centre stage! It’s more about getting your little one upright on a set of skis and having a slide around on the snow.
When is the ideal ski season?
For ski breaks, definitely consider weeks other than New Year, Christmas, and Chinese New Year. Although these times are the most popular with families, they are the most expensive and the busiest – i.e. not the best in terms of value for money. So while the powder may not be as fresh as mid-winter, March and April are likely to be warmer which is important if you have young children who will be affected by the cold. There are also less crowds and availability at the best resorts and chalets is much easier to come by! If you have very young children, enjoy the lack of term scheduling and exam date constraints and ski during these less expensive off-peak dates. But of course nothing beats a magical White Christmas, especially for Singapore residents dying to escape the tropical heat. And we must say, a lot of resorts do put on all kinds of special events that make for a wonderfully cosy holiday atmosphere.
Apartment, chalet, or hotel – which is best?
We agree there are a lot of choices, but there’s definitely something for every sort of family! Here are the benefits of each type of accommodation.
Chalets: They really provide that home-away-from-home feel, allowing plenty of space for children to run and play. Best of all, chalets are great for gatherings involving several families, and the kids will have a ball playing with cousins or friends. Lightfoot Travel handpicks their chalets, and they usually come well kitted out with play rooms and media equipment that will keep children occupied, while the adults enjoy a few après ski drinks by the fireplace at the end of the day.
Apartments: These are much more convenient for single families travelling, giving you the option of preparing meals yourself, rather than hauling the whole family to restaurants every night. Apartments also tend to be a little more centrally located in the village than chalets if you do opt to step out for meals.
Hotels: Two words – kid’s clubs! Children’s clubs and professional childcare give kids the opportunity to meet and play with people their age, with a wealth of activities to take part in both on and off-piste. Lightfoot can recommend the hotels with the best activities for children, as well as child care facilities and services for infants up to those temperamental tweens.
What gear do I need?
Some items are certainly important, but you don’t want to be one of those with “all the gear and no idea!” Rent equipment on your first trip, and you’ll be able to get a feel of what suits you before committing to a big purchase. However, we do recommend you purchase the following items:
1) Waterproof trousers and jacket – Waterproofing is key as the kids will be up and down in the snow constantly throughout the day, and keeping dry (and therefore warm) is paramount.
2) A good pair of ski goggles and sunglasses – It’s a winter holiday, but it’s still going to be sunny! Sunlight reflecting off the snow makes it hard to see, and nothing is more painful than burnt eyelids (yes that can happen!) Goggles may suit little ones more as they are harder to take off and will fit more comfortably round the back of helmets.
3) Warm socks – Those ski boots may look chunky and thick, but without a good pair of socks, your feet will soon start to feel the chill. One good pair works better than layering socks, as cramped toes in tightly laced boots aren’t comfortable!
4) Gloves – Kids love falling and playing in the snow, so gloves need to be waterproof, warm, and not too chunky (if they don’t have the dexterity to make a snowball, you are not going to have a happy child).
5) Thermal Underwear – Hands down, the warmest layering you’ll get! And again, it’s a lot more comfortable for your children to have one good thermal than bundling up in multiple, lesser-quality layers.
6) SPF 50 sun cream – Like with sunglasses, don’t be fooled by the snow! Make sure the kids have it on all exposed areas before they head out for the day.
7) Comfortable snowshoes for walking to dinner – Insulated and water resistant. (Note: Uggs aren’t waterproof! We’ve learnt the hard way).