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Tips for Skiing with Kids: Ski School Survival Guide

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I never feel guilty about taking my boys to ski school because: 1) they love skiing with other kids; 2) they become better skiers with instructors who spend all day forcing them to ski challenging runs correctly; 3) the cost of ski school is only slightly more expensive than regular childcare; and 4) I love to spend some time skiing one-on-one with my husband and friends. For new initiates to ski school protocol, here are some tips for skiing with kids enrolled in learn-to-ski programs. Once you know the ropes, you and your children will be thankful for all that ski schools have to offer.

Tips for Skiing with Kids: Making the Most of Ski School

Standing outside Hilton Whistler in front of the Whistler Kids ski school.

Before the First Day of Ski School

  • Sign up in advance. It’s much more pleasant to enroll over the phone or on line, but those options are often only available until 48 hours before the date you would like to book. Plan ahead and avoid waiting in long ski school lines early in the morning.
  • Check in advance whether your child needs BOTH a ski school ticket AND a lift ticket to attend the program. That way you can plan to leave time to pick up the lift ticket prior to ski school, if necessary.
  • Remember you can typically book either a full or half day lesson for your child. The full day is nice because it usually includes lunch. The half day morning option offers the benefit of skiing some runs with your child after you’ve had a chance to explore the mountain on your own.
  • Label EVERYTHING your child will bring to ski school. That means writing his name on jacket, pants, long johns, helmet, skis, poles, boots, googles, gaiter, etc. If marking with a Sharpie isn’t an option, write the name on a piece of masking tape and attach it to the item. This is especially helpful for skis, boots, goggles, and poles. Sharpie, by the way, makes a great silver metallic permanent marker that works well on black or dark colored items.

Checking into Ski School

  • It is essential to arrive on time to ski school. Depending on the resort, the class may take off en masse promptly at the start time. If you miss the departure, there’s a good chance you will not be able to meet up with the class until lunch time.
  • Put a granola bar in your child’s pocket, just in case he gets hungry in between meals. Also include some tissues and a trail map.
  • Ensure your child arrives at ski school already wearing ski boots and all necessary gear. There is often no place to sit and exchange snow boots for ski boots in the ski school area.
  • When you check in for the first day of ski school, consider placing your child in one class level down from where he finished last season. It’s better to have a happy, confident skier than one who feels the strain of keeping up with a more advanced group.

After a Day Spent in Ski School

  • Many ski schools require the submission of a claim ticket before releasing a child to an adult at the end of the day, even if you are the parent. DON’T FORGET YOUR TICKET!
  • Take inventory of your child’s belongings BEFORE leaving the ski school area. If a missing item doesn’t come home with you that day, chances are it is lost forever.
  • Check to see if your instructor has filled out a card detailing your child’s progress throughout the day. These cards are wonderful mementos of a ski vacation, and are useful for placing your child in the appropriate class during the next ski season.
  • Remember to tip the ski instructor: take into consideration how long she was with your child, how many children she had in her class, etc. We typically tip $10 to $20 per child per day, depending on the circumstances.

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Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!

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