Skiing with twins

By Tracey Nichols

Around about this time last year I was contemplating whether or not it was madness or genius to be taking our newly turned 3 year olds skiing.

I was all for re-discovering our travel life pre-children, but just how would it work out? Normally I needed another holiday to recover from our previous attempts with 2 kids in tow, and skiing can be exhausting at the best of times. Well I needn’t have worried at all as it turned out to be a brilliant decision.

My tips for a great skiing holiday:

  1. Consider your time of year carefully
    We went in March. The weather was beautiful, so no cold miserable children. Unfortunately for me skiing in the afternoon wasn’t always that good as it was a bit slushy, but I do think the lovely sunshine added to Emma and Sam’s enjoyment.
  2. Choose an excellent family ski company
    We chose Esprit Ski company. They are well renowned on Mumsnet for being a great family orientated company and in our experience they actually made the holiday a success. Emma and Sam had their own adjoining room to ours. Emma was in a top bunk, but bed guards were available.
  3. Go for a half board catering option
    This means you don’t have to worry about food shopping/cooking for anyone, or trying to eat out ridiculously early before the children go to bed.
  4. Go with a group of people
    We went with some friends that had kids, and a couple of couples that didn’t . It meant that being “stuck” in the chalet at night was actually kind of fun. Dinner was served at 8pm after the children had been put to bed, and so after a relaxing dinner chatting we could play games etc and generally enjoy our evenings. We also planned a ladies night out with the men staying in to babysit, and vice versa.
  5. Use the childcare available (just ignore the price tag)
    Skiing is never a cheap holiday, although there are often deals with free kids places from Esprit, and I’m sure other companies do this too. I would strongly recommend using the childcare available.

    1. First of all – it was excellent, the staff were really great. There were English childcare workers and Italian ski instructors where we went.
    2. Secondly, it means you actually get a chance to ski yourselves.
    3. Thirdly, our children made some lovely friends – mostly older children and I feel like they really grew up during our week long stay. They were like mini celebrities at the airport when we left with all these different children coming up to say hello to them.I was nervous about having Emma and Sam in for a half day of childcare, which included a ski lesson, as they had just started nursery only 4 weeks prior so didn’t have a lot of experience being left. We certainly did have some wobbles, as I left them crying, but it was only for the first day and they were fine 5 minutes later when I peeked back in. We dropped them at 12pm for lunch with their ski gear, and then weren’t required to “pick them up” until 6:00pm after they had eaten dinner. One of us would usually go back to help out at dinner, but they were absolutely fine eating with the older children.
  6. Buy their gear on ebay
    Ebay was a revelation. I do use it a bit anyway but it just makes so much sense for skiing stuff – most of the items listed have only been used for 7 days on one ski trip, so it’s all practically new. In fact even third hand stuff will only have been on 2 ski trips. I managed to get each item for around £5 and I never paid over £10, including proper ski jackets. I fully intend on re-selling it once they grow out of it.
    One thing I did find was that although in normal clothes Sam was a 3-4 year old, the 2-3 year old ski stuff was fine. It’s quite a lot longer
  7. What you need to take
    Per child from the top down
    • Hat and Googles
    • 2 x thermal tops and leggings (you can wash and dry these easily, so 2 sets are fine)
    • 2 x microfleeces (more for in the chalet than for skiing).
    • 1 x Jacket
    • 2 x salopettes (in case of toilet accidents) – I’d recommend using salopettes (trousers with braces) rather than full ski suits. Much better for going to the toilet.
    • 4 x ski socks (try MuddyPuddles.com)
    • Snow boots
    • Pull up nappies (handy as toilets are not easily available at times)
    • Small treats for their jacket pocket for their ski lesson. I had a whole lot of mini milky ways and freddo chocolates.

8. Negotiate ski days/lie ins with your partner
You can use childcare all day if you want too. But as we didn’t  we worked out, in advance, a system so we knew who was skiing between the two of us. The person who was skiing had to get up and do milk/breakfast and dressing of the children. This left other person for a bit of a sleep in. Then the person who had got up early headed out to the slopes. Once the children were dropped off at lunchtime the person who had stayed behind can meet the group for lunch, and afternoon skiing. We decided that for the first day we’d both stay behind to get the lay of the town, and how the childcare worked etc. Then we just took turns each day.

So ready to try skiing with your twins or multiples? Let me know if you have already taken the plunge and I’ve missed anything.