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May Skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am taking a week off in mid May to look after my son (three and a half) to cover childcare while his granny goes on holiday - I'm thinking of taking him for his first proper ski trip somewhere in Europe. The winter season will be finished for at least a couple of weeks by then so it's pretty tricky (who couldn't my mum go on holiday in April!). Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm perfectly happy to take on board recommendations along the lines of "don't do it you fool!" Puzzled
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Don't do it you fool
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Would normally say 'get high' but not sure you want to take a young'un on a first trip when it could be crap. Take him next spring when conditions should be a bit better.
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Presumably the child would need instruction - so you would be skiing the limited terrain by yourself... for a week.

I think you'd be better half doing something else.
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I'll probably do something else thanks for the advice Smile
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The Southern lapland resorts in Sweden close 1st May. The more northenly ones like Bjorkliden and Riksgransen should be open, but it looks like the children's lessons at Bjorkliden end on 7th May. Private lessons should be available. It could be lovely up there at that time of year, but it's quite a trek with a small child. You'd need to change at Stockholm probably for a flight to Kiruna, then take the train or hire car for a couple of hours.
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Henwc,

Why not try one of the Glaciers in Austria?

Conditions should be excellent in May. Very Happy

I would recommend Stubai, which looks like it has an excellent beginners area. Others may be able to comment on lessons for littleuns, I'm sure.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Don't listen to them. Do it! It is very rewarding...
Go somewhere with summer skiing - high gentle glacial slopes will be perfect. Make sure you take warm and windproof clothes for him and a big bar of chocolate. Buy a kids ski chest harness to hold him when you are on the chairlift or he is between your legs on the button. Take one of those begginners elastic ski tip grips to hold his skis in a snowplough. Take a rucasc to hold att the gear and snacks and drinks.
Take him up there onto the gentlest nearly flat slope and push him along so he gets his balance and learns how to turn. Slowly, very very slowly, you can increase the steepness. Somewhere with a magic carpet would be ideal for the first couple of days, but you carrying him back up will also work. Later you can move onto button lifts with him skiing up in front of you. The chocolate is for when he gets tired. But most of all take it easy. I did it - and I thoroughly enjoyed the shared experience. After 1 week he will be OK for blue runs, but a 3 day break might be enough. If you are not confident to teach, then get an hour private lesson and take it from there.
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Definitely recommend Stubai at that time.

Morning of skiing. Afternoon at village level playing in the sun.

Some hotels have pools too.
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Alps that time of year will be lovely.
Some years ago I went to Hintertux during the end of May half term and we had fresh snow almost every day.
Saying that, you have to think about practicalities and the lifts would be difficult with one so young that hasn't skied. A lot of lifts on glaciers are T bars.
If it is still open in May, Les 2 Alpes would be good for your youngster as they have a train access to the top so you wouldn't need to use any surface lifts on the slopes.
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Thanks for the Austria suggestions, I have only ever summer skied on the glacier at Saas Fee which is not great for beginners all red runs with an unavoidable narrow red on the way in. I was concerned that the terrain on all the glaciers would be similar.

I have had limited training as an instructor so I'm ok with the technical side of teaching him. I'm still considering paying for lessons though.

Stubai sounds promising - am I right in thinking that its pretty accessible by bus from Innsbruck?

I was looking at the kinder hotel at Hintertux too has anyone stayed there?

I'll have another look but if it doesn't work out I can always save the cash and spend it on a week next season
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Henwc, we've skied Zermat the week of the first May Bank Holiday. Conditiins were fine. Weather was changeable: went from Spring with blue skies and sunshine to winter with blizzards and back again.
But, with a three and half year old you wont get much skiing. At that age they ski a bit, but want to play more. You will get expert at toboganing, making snowmen, snowball fights and finding ice cream outlets.
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Henwc wrote:
Stubai sounds promising - am I right in thinking that its pretty accessible by bus from Innsbruck?

I was looking at the kinder hotel at Hintertux too has anyone stayed there?

I'll have another look but if it doesn't work out I can always save the cash and spend it on a week next season


Stubai is around 45 mins.

I have stayed in that hotel in Tux before it was a Kinder. However, the nursery area in Hintertux at that time of year is pretty hard to get to. Last time I had to do it with a friend, it involved lift to the top and then a piste basher ride. Once there there's no hut you can nip into for a warm up etc. Can't really recommend it. Stubai is definitely better suited.

One thing's for sure, you'll be all alone because not many people bother at that time other than race teams and instructor courses. More atmosphere on the Moon.

Save the cash maybe but also think about just doing 3-4 days and see. Kids of that age get knackered towards the end of a whole week anyway.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for the really useful advice on Hintertux I had no idea what it was like (sounds similar to Saas Fee in summer) - hut is a must given how cold it can get up there all year round

I will look at Stubai in more detail although it's looking more like saving the cash at this stage

Thanks all
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I will also take a look at Zermatt with the Swiss transfer pass thanks
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Centre Parks in Holland has a proper indoor snowdome! A few lessons for the rugrat and a ton of other stuff to do. Seems to be about half the price of Centre Parks in UK.
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Ray Zorro wrote:
Alps that time of year will be lovely.
Saying that, you have to think about practicalities and the lifts would be difficult with one so young that hasn't skied. A lot of lifts on glaciers are T bars.
If it is still open in May, Les 2 Alpes would be good for your youngster as they have a train access to the top so you wouldn't need to use any surface lifts on the slopes.


I don't think Les 2 is opening until 24th June and not sure what they have for such small kids. Tignes also looks to be opening at about the same time for summer skiing.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hintertux is supposed to be open too. I will be there in May and will probably ski a couple of days, weather permitting. My youngest is 5 so will get her lessons but she can ski blues already. Rest of the time we will explore the valley and region.

I have skied early season at Solden with my kids (youngest was 3 at that time) and just arranged private lessons in the morning. It just meant short ski days and pool/other activity in the afternoon. Smile

I think you just have to change your perspective with the kids (especially when it's out of season) and think it's a ski plus other activities and be happy with that. Your 3 year old probably wo t be able to ski for more than a couple of hours anyway.
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Another option in Northern Sweden is Dundret. Small resort south of Kiruna where you would have to fly into. Hire a car and about 90 minutes drive south. It usually closes in May, so you might need to check if they are open when you want to travel. Accommodation close to the pistes, good beginner area. Just tough to get to from the UK

http://www.dundret.se/skidakning/alpint/
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Riksgrensen.

All the other options are compromises.
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OP you seem to be quite experienced. As long as you know what you doing and are experienced and confident on your skis and you are good with kids you will be fine doing your own teaching. I did it with my two starting at nearly 3yrs old - not both at the same time though - you can only safely control one. At first I hired an instructor, then realized what he was doing was more childcare than instruction. IMHO really young kids just pick it up naturally an are not aware enough to take instruction. At some resorts the nursery area is for ski schools use only so I found a quiet flat area beside the nursery slope and slid them gently along as they gained their balance. Kids that young can only take a couple of hours even when bribed with chocolate - after that they will be exhausted so you need to think about what you will do in the rest of the day. A pair of trainers will be easier than ski boots for carrying him around the nursery slope. You do need to find a resort with some long gentle runs to progress onto so do your home work - my second time was Saas Fee and as said above it does not have many blue runs and even those are quite steep - the main blue was closed on our first day leaving me and my friend slowly skiing down a red each carrying a 4 yr old child - and feeling a bit stupid. To ride the lifts you need a chest harness for him with a handle on the back and that way you will be able to ride buttons and t-bars with only minor difficulty if you have a dozen weeks experience yourself, lifting him up off the snow when you get off at the top. The harness will also enable you to lift him onto the seat and stop him from sliding off the chair lift. You can buy reins for skiing, and some people use these at the very start. As things progress and you start doing green runs together you should use no poles and use very short skis - like 140s - they are easier to paddle around in and will make it easier for you to ski beside him and then slide him round in front of your tips to ski between your legs. The perfect trip was when I taught my daughter in the morning and she was with a nanny for the rest of the day - best of both worlds, but not cheap. Whatever you do just chill out, don't push too hard and enjoy yourselves!
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Riksgransen would be a good option as a couple of people have suggested. There are a lot of drags s there though.

We've found flying into Narvick is cheaper that Kiruna.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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TheGeneralist,

I'm puzzled.

What would be a compromise about a large glacier area, with gentle beginners slopes & (covered) magic carpets, like Stubai?

Puzzled Puzzled

Can you explain further, please?
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Bergmeister wrote:

a large glacier area, with gentle beginners slopes & (covered) magic carpets, like Stubai?

I never skied Stubai, but to me that sounds like the perfect place
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@anarski, Thanks for the great teaching tips

Thanks all for the other advice - does anyone know the name of the village at the base of Stubai is it Mutterbergalm?
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Henwc wrote:
@anarski, Thanks for the great teaching tips

Thanks all for the other advice - does anyone know the name of the village at the base of Stubai is it Mutterbergalm?

Mutterberger-Alm
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
^Not really a village though! Most will want to stay in Neustift, a few km down the valley.
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@TheGeneralist, Riksgransen looks great. The Scandinavia Big Mountain Championships is on while I was thinking of going so I guess this probably rules it out - I'll keep it in mind for future trips though thanks
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
We were at Riksgransen last year during the Big Mountain Championships, it was not busy at all. Indeed whilst the competition was on the slopes were deserted. Very few people skiing the pistes whilst we were there, though the prices for accommodation was a little bit more.

And if you were worried about that you could go and ski Björkliden which is about 40 km east on the day of the competition. Same lift ticket and easy to drive to.
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clarky999 wrote:
^Not really a village though! Most will want to stay in Neustift, a few km down the valley.

Yep, Neustift is where we stayed the only time I've been ~Christmas 2003!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Zermatt, Switzerland.

Flat glacier, easy to get to, and plenty of other stuff to do in the afternoon and evening.

No other glacier town open in May offers so many options.
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Thanks - does the route up to the glacier in Zermatt start with the Furi lift?
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Quote:
Riksgrensen (or even Riksgransen??...). All the other options are compromises.
Having been to Riksgransen and Stubai (plus about 8 other alpine glaciers) in May-October, I would strongly disagree with the above - and agree with the plus-points of Stubai highlighted by Bergmeister. There's every chance of decent snow conditions on the glacier and lovely weather to boot.

While we really enjoyed Riksgransen, it has about 15km of piste at best; most lifts are draglifts; prices/accommodation are sky high; and there's nothing there in terms of a ski resort.

I'd definitely go for Stubai - and stay down the valley in the gorgeous village of Neustift.
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Hi all thanks for all the advice and info - there are a few good options - unfortunately when I discussed actually booking something my OH she wasn't that keen on the trip going ahead - I will keep note of all the suggestions for future trips - also does anyone know if there is a kinder hotel in Neustift? I couldn't find one in Zermatt but they seem to be an Austrian/German thing
Thanks
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@Henwc, late reply as I've come to this thread digging for info on Riksgransen where I'm off shortly. However, I recommend you look at Kaprun/Zell (in April/May you'll likely be skiing exclusivey at kaprun but could stay in either place). There is a kinder hotel in Zell and the area has way more off-piste activities than anywhere else I see mentioned in this thread (having just been with a 2-year old I know how important these are with young ones!). The new Tauern Spa in Kaprun is fantastic.
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@Deibitto, I presume you mean skiing at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier (that will be spelt incorrectly)? Can't see the Maiskogel in Kaprun being in nick then, nor most of Zell (though, to be fair, I've never been except in late January).

Recently out in Mayrhofen and asking locals about Hintertux glacier in May or even later and was told that it's usually very useable for skis or boards. The top bits are all pretty wide nice easy-ish reds, and I fancy it as part of somewhere quiet and open when I finally get my ski/board legs back. The bus from Mayrhofen runs all year they say (I haven't checked), so a morning on Tux in the sun and an afternoon resting somewhere in the sunny mountains or the town mit Bier .... Sounds awful rehab wink - but not this May Sad
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@Grizzler, exactly what I plan to do last week of May! Maybe some biking,swimming or cycling in the PM. I understand in the summer it's only 3 or 4 runs open but I am hoping they have a good May and some more is still open May/June. Locals said season pass lasts until end of May at Hintertux.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I have been to Hintertux at the end of May three times, had fresh snow twice. Don't remember stopping before late afternoon.

A fair bit of the pistes are reserved for race training at that time of year, probably a smaller proportion of the available area than at Tignes though
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@rjs, how far down the mountain could you go?
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@Bennyboy1, Down to the Tuxer-ferner-haus. There was snow below this but the runs were incomplete.
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