Kathy Buckworth

I grew up in Winnipeg, making the opportunities to ski or snowboard severely limited. Then I married into a skiing family. My husband is an excellent skier, and all four of our kids were on skis by the time they were four years old. Today, three out of four of them are certified ski or snowboard instructors. The fourth one? She’s a great snowboarder and skier, but she’s been busy giving birth to my three grandchildren, and she’s already started the oldest on skis, at the age of three.

Ski lessons with little kids can be onerous and exhausting, and ski trips even more so. Anyone who has had to wrangle a three year old into stiff ski boots and then clamp them onto the skis before getting them to move forward without falling down will understand this.

The good news? Ski resorts in North America are definitely family focused, and once you conquer getting the kids on the hill and down the hill, the activities surrounding the ski experience are fabulous. From horse drawn wagon rides to maple candy rolled in ice, and fairyland forests, you can experience the great outdoors and give your grandkids (and you) memories that will last forever.

Tips on planning a multigenerational ski trip:

  • Getting the ski/snowboard equipment: Little kids need skis, ski boots and a helmet. Poles are not required until they are a bit older. Explore the option of purchasing used skis as kids grow out of skis and ski boots as quickly as they do regular boots and shoes. You can usually pick up great gently used equipment at ski swaps at private clubs or trade shows.
  • Planning the trip: How far away is the ski resort? Can you drive there? I recommend this for a first trip as there is a lot of equipment and winter wear to consider bringing. (If you have to fly, renting the ski or snowboard equipment at the resort is normally your best option.)
  • Check out the Kids Programming: Many ski resorts have everything from daycare for babies as young as six months, to ski or snowboard lessons (group or private) from the age of three, which can be full day, half day, include lunch, etc. Think about your budget and how much time you want your grandkids to be away from you, versus skiing with you on the hill. Younger children will probably only last a few hours, but tweens and teens could go all day.
  • Evaluate your own ski level: If you aren’t a skier yourself or feel your skills are rusty, put yourself in ski lessons as well. I didn’t start skiing until I was 35, and the enjoyment of skiing with my family has been priceless. Do I hit the black diamond runs? Not on your life, but my kids are happy to join me on beginner or intermediate runs.
  • Be patient: Skiing and snowboarding can’t normally be conquered in one day or lesson. Stick with it and take it in small doses at the beginning mitigate the frustration (yours and the kids).

Above all, everyone will be exhausted at the end of the afternoon, so don’t plan any vigorous evening activities. Apres ski is famous for a reason.

Family resort recommendations:

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked