Ski holidays are so much fun for the whole family and with planning can be an amazing experience for all age groups!
With young children, travel to any new environment may result in changes in sleep patterns, appetite, activity and mood.
Here are a few ways to help making the most of your family holiday:
If you're driving to Val Thorens then you may find that the rapid drop in air pressure will cause problems for a young child’s ears. Take a 15 minute break on the road up to the resort and give young children a drink or something to suck to help them equalise the pressure in their ears. If you are worried about the altitude try to take regular short breaks to give your body the time to slowly acclimatise. Some paediatricians recommend not taking children under one year old to altitudes of over 1200m. Babies cannot equalise their ear pressure as easily as adults and they may suffer acclimatisation problems due to the drop in air pressure and decrease in oxygen level. You will need travel insurance and specific ski insurance for all the family so make sure that any existing policies include ‘winter sports cover’. For more information on insurance, visit our dedicated travel insurance and ski insurance sections.
Skiing & Ski Lifts
Helmets are essential for skiing and snowboarding. All ski schools insist upon them and your child will not be permitted to join the lesson without one. Helmets can be rented from all ski hire shops in Val Thorens. Try to keep children's skiing and ski lessons to a practical level; it is much colder and 2 hours outside may be more than enough in one day for little ones. Waterproof clothing & boots, good quality mittens and hats are essential to protect from frostbite. Remember to protect your child's eyes and skin from the sun - not only are the infra-red and UV rays less filtered by the atmosphere at altitude, but 85% of the rays are reflected by the snow. Use category 3 or 4 UV sunglasses/goggles, and reapply SPF30 sun cream at least every two hours.
If out skiing with your children, always make sure they have a contact number and address for you because if you were to get separated the children need a means of contact on the mountain side. It is always advised to keep your mobile with you to ensure you are contactable in this instance and it is worthwhile storing the local emergency numbers in your mobile phone for the duration of your holiday - 112 is the main emergency number in France.
Be careful with child under three years on high altitude gondola or cable car lifts as they may find the change in altitude too sudden. Do not take a baby skiing with you on your back; immobilised, she/he will quickly lose heat, and the risk of collisions or falls on the piste is always present.
Don't dehydrate!! At altitude it is recommended that you drink double the daily amount of water compared to at sea level. Mountain air is very dry so if your baby is having trouble sleeping, try putting a bowl of water in the room on the radiator to add humidity. Fatigue also plays a role in the mountains so remember to relax and take a little down time. It is a big change of environment for children coming on holiday at altitude, skiing and the cold and fatigue will set in quickly so remember to break up your days with a coffee or juice break for some cool down time.
Frost nip is also something to watch out for; if you notice a patch of skin looking pale and waxy often in the cheeks, nose, chin and hands of children this could be frost nip which can then lead to frost bite. If you notice frost nip, try to get inside as soon as possible. An adult should simply place the back of their hand on the affected area and DO NOT RUB. By placing the back of your hand on the area of frost nip you will transfer enough body heat to reverse the affects.
A final tip is to remember to bring lots of passport photos with you on holiday - you will need them for lift passes and also if your children are attending a kids club as photos are used on the ID badges for drop offs and pick ups. There are so many fantastic things to do on your ski holiday other than skiing! In nearly every ski resort you will find plenty of activities to do, take a look at our Winter Activities in Val Thorens Guide.
A big thanks to t4 Private Nanny Service for providing us with these expert childcare tips. The T4 team are specialists in the Espace Killy and 3 Valleys. And/or check out our full list of childcare providers in Val Thorens.