(See also: Money-Saving Tips for Family Skiing, and Family Skiing: Where to Go?)
Below are tips for making the most of your trip.
Get The Most Out of Your Day on the Slopes
- Look for the magic of "ski in/ski out": it's a lovely convenience, when kids can put their gear on right outside your lodgings, and zip to the lifts -- and also a major time-saver.
- Look for "Fresh Tracks" programs, that provide access to the mountain early in the morning. (These do cost extra, though!)
- Rent the night before: if you're renting gear, try to do the actual rental the night before you want to hit the slopes. Rental shops are busy in the morning, and the process of getting a family fitted with boots, skis, boards, helmet, can eat up prime skiing time.
- Get gear and clothing fully organized the night before: suiting up with kids can take an incredible amount of time.
- If you really want convenience, stay at a resort with a "ski concierge" or ski valet service, which has your boots, skis, boards, etc., ready and waiting in the morning in the lobby or some other convenient spot.
- Be sure to book kids programs in advance, at popular family ski resorts where there's a risk that registration may be full.
Practical Tips on the Slopes with Kids
Once you're on the mountain, the good times roll much better if everyone's comfortable.
- get those helmets on! Start young, and the habit will be unquestionable.
- don't push the pace too much.
- with small children, ask for assistance on lifts. Often, a sign in the lift line-up will specify where kids should sit, so the liftees can lend a hand.
- dress in layers: temperatures on the mountain heat up and chill down fast.
- bring cell phones along, to keep in touch.
- agree in advance on a place to meet if you get separated.
- kids should be able to recognize mountain patrol staff and volunteers.
- For older kids skiing or 'boarding on their own: NEVER go out of bounds. Those of us who live near ski areas hear all to often about tragedies that happen when teens take off.
- Always stay in control. You must be able to stop, or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- Do not stop where you obstruct a trial or are not visible form above.
- Before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use proper devices to help prevent runaway equipment. -- and more.