Coat, hat, mittens, extra socks, goggles, helmet, snow pants, skis. Oh and a base layer. He will need a base layer. Does he need a packed lunch? I can’t remember if they feed him there. I should look it up. Now where did he leave his ski boots?

Planning a family ski trip? This is the list of gear and questions that run through a parent’s mind every morning that they wake up on the mountain or get ready to drive out to their local ski hill. Getting yourself out the door can be a production, but when you add in the kids, you have yourself a second act. All you wanted to do was go snowboarding, and yet here you are looking up whether you need to pack a lunch for ski school and the resort daycare. Isn’t there a better way?

Yes, there is.

Plan ahead. Before you head up to the mountain, or fly to a ski resort, do your research. Make a list that you can print out or add to the notes section of your phone. This list should include all of the gear you will need for your child and what you will need to pack for ski school or daycare. Call the resort to ask if they have a list already. Many will require sunscreen, a change of clothes, and possibly a packed lunch.

Pack a backpack for each child if they will be in separate locations. Make sure each bag has your child’s name plus your name and phone number somewhere on or in it. This way, if it is lost someone will be able to contact you to return it.

Parents: You Can Still Ski On Your Family Ski Trip
Photo credit – Les 3 Vallées

Have your bag ready the night before you leave. No one wants to scramble to get out the door in the morning. Getting your child dressed and fed will take more than enough time. If you have to stop to double-check the daypacks than you are losing precious time on the slopes by yourself. 

Get out the door. Tell yourself you will be out the door by nine o’clock in the morning, understanding that this will mean you will actually be out the door at nine thirty and that is OK. Your end goal is to have the kids at ski school and daycare by ten. If you tell yourself that you need to get out earlier than you really need to be, chances are you will actually be on time, especially if you have younger children, or kids who take a bit to wake up on the morning.

On the first day you drop your children off at daycare and ski school, you will have to fill out paperwork. Make sure you leave extra time for this. It may take ten minutes to check your kids in the first day, but after that it should go much quicker.

Daycare: If you are traveling with a baby, take full advantage of resort daycare if it is available. It can be a cheaper option than a sitter, and can give you the flexibility to spend a few hours on the slopes without the worry that a sitter will cancel on you at the last minute.

Check with the center to see if there is a maximum drop off time. Some daycares have activities planned throughout the day, and may even take the children outside to play for a bit. If this is the case, you will need to have your child at the center before these activities begin so you do not disrupt the day.

Also check what the latest pickup time is. If you know that you lose track of time when you are on the mountain, set an alarm on your watch or phone. The last thing you want to do is forget your child!

Parents: You Can Still Ski On Your Family Ski TripPhoto credit – Aspen Skiing Company

Ski School: Ski school is a haven for many kids. It gives them the freedom to learn at their own pace with their peers, and should not be discounted as a place to occupy your child for the day. More than one child has cried when they have had to leave ski school  If you are not a confident skier or snowboarder, this is the perfect opportunity for your child to get on the slopes and learn from the experts.

Just like with daycare, find out what the drop off and pick up times are each day; the schedule may be different on weekends versus weekdays. Set an alarm so you are there a few minutes before lessons end. If you can find a ski school program that takes children for a half day or full day, your time will be much more flexible on the mountain, plus they will have more time to play with their friends.

Now that your children are safely tucked away in ski school and daycare you are free to enjoy the slopes at your own pace and spend some time with your spouse and friends. Keep your phone handy as you never know when your children will need you, but be rest assured that they are probably having a whole lot more fun at ski school than they would with you. It’s OK to run off and have a bit of fun on your own too. Your kids won’t hold it against you. Just don’t tell them you got to do that “super awesome amazing” run they have been dying to do, but aren’t quite ready for yet. No need to rub it in mom and dad.

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