Like many of my fellow Texans we trek to Colorado several times a year to enjoy the mountains and the snow. Last winter was the first year that all three of my kids (boys ages 3, 5 and 7 at the time) were officially skiers. Several years ago we bought our oldest used skis and boots on an off-season sale and every two years we have added a new set of ski gear and snow clothes and handed down the old. To date, it has worked exceptionally well.
The first year when our oldest was 4 we tried ski school. It was overwhelming to our child. Not only was he trying something new, but he was surrounded by a lot of people he didn’t know and was dressed in clothing that was unfamiliar. The ski school personnel were extremely helpful, but a group situation wasn’t a good fit for him. The next time we went we arranged a 1/2 day private lessons for our older two boys on the first two days we were there. That went well. The boys were together with someone who was able to teach directly to their level. They made fast progress. Later in the week we were able to ski green slopes with our older boy and hang out on the bunny hill with the middle. In subsequent trips we have used an occasional private lesson, but for the most part I have spent time on the bunny hill each morning with all the boys working on different skills.
The boys usually ski for half the day. It is exhausting for them and it frees up some time for the skiing adults to spend time on non-kid-friendly parts of the mountain. This brings me to a big recommendation:
If you have small children, travel with grandparents or a nanny.
Childcare on the mountain is extremely expensive. Traveling with an extra set of hands and eyes is invaluable. We love traveling with grandparents. When that is unavailable, we have brought along a babysitter. We cover their travel expenses and give them a small salary for the week. We also try to work out a system where they can have a full day or part of several days to enjoy the mountain on their own. It usually turns out to be great fun. The extra help also allows my husband and I the option to dine in the evening at restaurants that might not have a kids’ menu.
Getting our third boy up on skis last winter was a big adventure.
He believed he could ski.
He actually could ski…it was the stopping that was an issue.
The whole ordeal wore him out.
Coincidentally, it did the same to me.