You have skied for a few years with your partner as a couple, now you have children and you have decided to take them skiing. You look into holidays, ski lessons, lift passes, chalets and chalet hotels, and you realise…. there is a LOT to think about!
What resort? What amenities are there? Is it going to be suitable for your ski level and will your children enjoy it? Where do you have to take the children for ski school? Is it far?
Even when you have made the decision, then comes the process of actually leaving your home and entrusting your children to people you have never met before, to not only look after your children, but teach them how to get down the mountain… safely!
This is where Esprit Ski excels! We do family ski holidays, without hassle and stress!
So here are some helpful tips that help you have a hassle-free, fun family ski holiday.
What To Pack For Children On An Esprit Holiday
All children need snow wear so either snow jacket and salopettes or a snow suit, snow boots, waterproof gloves, goggles, hat, buff, sunglasses with dark lenses, sun cream small pocket size (2000 meters closer to the sun), lip salve and slippers with soles.
For goggles they should be dark lenses for sunny conditions as pink or orange lenses are for low light so in sunny conditions they could damage eyes. Always try to have sunglasses with dark lenses; if it is sunny they can swap them over (it also means they are not going to sweat as much!)
Babies also need sunglasses as their eyes are much more sensitive to the light. Baby Banz are great as they are more like goggles with the strap.
For a great packing list, make sure you have a look at our blog on “What to pack for skiing with Toddlers”
During Snow Clubs and lunches the children generally stay in their thermals. They are then dressed in their snow gear to go outside for playtime or on their ski lessons.
Please remember that children will paint and do messy activities so dress the children in clothing you don’t mind getting dirty as even though we do have full bib aprons, children are amazing at getting paint under them.
For our children on ski lessons we ask that you provide snacks which are nut free. Most parents give children a little chocolate snack such as a mini mars bar or Freddo as this gives them a little sugar rush on their lessons. For the Sprite Intermediates xtra and Sprite Improver xtra we ask that every morning you put 2 snacks in their pockets: one for the morning and one for the afternoon. If you have a little Spritelet just pop it in their bag and give to the Snow Ranger as if you put it in their pocket, when they go for their morning adventure they are going to find it and they are likely to eat it!
One final thing, just because you can never be too prepared – some form of Calpol and Ibuprofen for children just in case anyone catches a nasty cold. You don’t want to be caught short on holiday and searching for a European equivalent!
Success! You have packed for the children, now it is time for yourselves! This does depend on whether you are staying at a chalet or hotel… We think a couple of pairs of slacks or jeans and a lot of tops you can mix and match, means you should have plenty of space in your suitcases! Also check to see if you have a spa area as you will need bathing costumes. You should always take some slippers for all the family as for health and safety we ask that people in hotels have footwear on when downstairs in case of emergency.
Esprit Ski’s Top Tip: Don’t forget, you do get one night to eat out in the town, this can be a family affair or you could enjoy the benefits of our baby listening service and have a romantic dinner for 2 (children eat with the staff either at the hotel or at a local restaurant then are brought back for games before you put them to bed and we babysit for your child) meaning you get an extra 2- 2 ½ hrs of free time. This service runs until 11pm which after a hard days skiing will be late enough!
Arrival At The Airport
When you arrive at the airport there will be Esprit staff on hand to help you at every part of your journey, whether it is helping with luggage or keeping the children entertained they will escort you to your resort transfer bus and give you your resort welcome pack. This will have all the information you need about the resort.
Esprit Ski’s Top Tip: If you are travelling on one of our special BAT weeks, keep an eye out for Bertie the Bat who will welcome you with some big hugs and dance moves at the airport!
Arrival Your Resort
You will get a warm welcome from your childcare and Hotel/Chalet team and have your luggage taken from the coach to your accommodation. You will then be greeted by the Host or Hotel Manager and Childcare manager. Tea and coffee are waiting for you on arrival as we know your day has already been long before you even get to your resort. Next step is to get your skis! In the ski shop you will be met by members of the childcare team who are there to help keep the children entertained and to label all of the children’s equipment.
Esprit Ski’s Top Tip: We organise the children’s skis all you need to worry about are the boots and helmets.
First Full Day
Ski lessons: in the morning the children will be met at the chalet or meeting point by the Snow Rangers where they will take the children off your hands! Things to remember: sun cream, snacks and any lift passes should be in either the sleeve pocket on the left or in the upper breast pocket. For the children in afternoon ski lessons, we ask that parents drop off their snow boots in the morning so they all have the opportunity to play outside after the lessons.
Esprit Ski’s Top Tip:The most important thing about lift passes is that you tell the children not to touch it for the week and to note down the number for each pass. That way if pass is lost, you can just go to the lift pass office and for a nominal fee they will replace it for you.
For Nursery and Spritelets: on arrival one of the nannies will have had a chat about your child and fill out the routine sheet. This gives everyone a chance to meet one another, for you to get to know your childcarers and for the children to start to break the ice! When the children are dropped off the best method we recommend is, the “Dump and run technique” (This is hard but our staff are trained and experienced at distraction and giving cuddles!)
Some of the children WILL cry, this is unavoidable as this is a new environment with new people but the children generally settle quicker if you aren’t there. If the children don’t settle then we will call you to let you know, so trust us when we say that no news is good news! Children are born with the ability to make parents feel guilty when left, but believe us (and our previous guests) that they will have an amazing time, and your only issue will be getting them to go home at the end of the week!
What To Bring Per Day
For nursery A bag containing a day’s supply of nappies, wipes, pre-made bottles, spare clothes, outdoor clothes and boots, sun cream, sunglasses and any comforters.
For Spritelets A bag containing spare clothes, outdoor clothes and snow boots, snack, sun cream, sunglasses, ski boots, skis and helmets.
For sprites A bag containing snow boots, sun cream, sunglasses
Please label everything.
FOR ALL CHILDREN WITH ALLERGY MEDICATION (PIRITON AND EPI-PENS) THIS NEED TO BE WITH THE CHILDREN AT ALL TIMES SO PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING IT WITH YOU WHEN SIGNING THEM IN EVERYDAY
The staff will write a daily diary for all children in our care letting you know what they have eaten what they have done throughout the day, because we all know some children when you ask them will likely tell you “I can’t remember”. We ask you to sign and date it when you have read it either when picking up the children or at High Tea.
For children in our care who are not ready to go to bed we operate 2 evening clubs, Mini Cocoa Club for children 3-5yrs and Cocoa Club for children 6+ and in larger resorts and peak weeks we offer Cocoa Club Plus for children 8+ (3 nights a week) running every night except the chalet day off.
Mini cocoa club runs 7:30 – 9:30 in the nursery or ‘snug’
Cocoa Club runs 7.30pm – 10pm in the snow club room
Every evening, 7:30 – 11pm in hotels and larger chalets and on catering day off, for all chalets, we offer baby listening service during this time Child care staff will remain in the chalet/hotel on each floor and check on the children at least every 15 minutes.
Parents are not allowed to leave the building unless on catering night off (where they can leave the building from 7.30-11pm.) Staff will look after the children to give you opportunity to enjoy your meal, date night or even a little time in the bar! This is a wonderful option our parents really enjoy so they can spend some much needed time together knowing their children are safe and sound in bed!
This is for all children up 12yrs (in our chalet hotels we now offer the option for children over 8 to dine with their parents for an additional fee) where the children will be taken to the dining room and offered a choice of dinners. There are vegetarian options available every night and plain or tomato pasta. Children who are 3 and over will sit with a childcarer and all nursery children will be escorted by one of their parents. This is a good time for the older children’s parents to shower or have a drink at the bar or use the spa facilities!
Esprit Ski’s Top Tip: All children are signed into our care and when you collect them you have to give the “password”, this is a test and generally dads do tend to struggle with this so practice before you arrive!!!!
Most Important Thing To Know
You can be flexible about how you use the childcare, it’s your holiday too! We are proud to say our Childcare team are the best around, super approachable and very helpful. Just explain what you require and they will do their best to accommodate you and your family as much as possible!