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Skiing - one adult two kids

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello,

I’m a dad of two girls, they will be 9 and 12 next Easter when I am hoping to ski. Mum doesn’t ski and doesn’t want the expense of a ski holiday just to sit around and get bored, so it’s just me and the kids.

They have skied before when they were younger, will have been 4 years though when we ski next. I stopped talking them when mum had enough and when their ability got to the point where afternoon nannies after ski school weren’t enough.

My fear has always been going down a piste which splits in two, one goes one way, one goes the other, so which do I follow? I’ve thought about taking one but not the other but I wouldn’t get away with it. So I have gone with friends. However the friends I usually ski with can’t go the first week of Easter and my other skiing friend is a teacher whose Easter break doesn’t start until the 9th which seems a little late.

Wanted to see if anyone out there could share any similar experiences. Am I worrying unnecessarily?

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It has happened to me.

My advice:

- Make sure both have phones
- Have a backup plan if things go pair shaped
- Study Piste Map, so know where the danger spots are
- Explain exactly where going...stopping before a Piste split. This is often by a sign post - so tell them to ski to it and wait
- If you ski beside the one at the back, you can alter course if the other one goes in the wrong direction

When it happened to me, my Son took the wrong fork - but because I was behind with my Daughter, we saw what happened and we were able to follow. You need to set out strict protocols for skiing together - but everyone needs to know what to do, if it doesn't work out. Make sure each Child has the Name, Address, Room Number and Phone Number of the accommodation where you are staying.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sun 12-09-21 18:59; edited 1 time in total
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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?
No experience of skiing with kids but how about the snowHead family bash which just happens to be the first week of Easter?

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=155376
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Thanks, I didn’t know about the family bash, will take a look and thanks to Old Fartbag, very useful advice, although have been trying to avoid giving the young one a mobile until she’s older….oh well
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Oh just noticed that the family bash is a week later than I had planned Eh oh!
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kosciosco wrote:
...although have been trying to avoid giving the young one a mobile until she’s older….oh well

It doesn't have to be an expensive smart phone - just something cheap (£25 - £50) that she can communicate with while skiing. A while ago, I got a relaunched Nokia 3310, pay as you go, for not a lot.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@kosciosco, been skiing with ours since they were 3/4 and now 14 & 16 but 98% of the time that has been with my wife so can't exactly claim to have the full on regarding this. 9 & 12 is certainly a more manageable age. Although having said that when they are younger they go wrong through innocence and because they don't understand whereas when they get older they understand but ignore you or just do it anyway. The trees/forest are the worst. Even with me and the wife we've lost (sort of) them in the trees. And the problem is the trees are so much damn fun. The other worst is when you are cutting it a bit fine for the connecting lift and taking a wrong turn can be very costly. Having said all that nothing ultimately did ever irretrievably wrong and if you follow Fartbag's tips you will be fine. And ultimately it will be a fantastic experience/time with them.
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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!
@kosciosco, For peace of mind, if you do get them both smart phones you can get them to 'Share Location' on WhatsApp with you at the beginning of each day. This can be set to last for 8 hours. Google maps also has an equivalent feature but WhatsApp is more straightforward
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@kosciosco, worrying about your children is quite natural. Good advance planning minimises any risks and worry.

Very good practical advice above already. Familiarise them with a few key landmarks in the area you’re skiing. Plan and agree with them what they should do in the event you get split. Train them to stop and wait in a safe place just above major forks in the piste.
Familiarise them with the key lifts that connect one valley to another.

Be especially cautious on bad visibility days. Perhaps less ambitious about how far you travel from base and your ‘home’ valley. Easy even for the most experienced skiers to get split when vis < 50m. We carried/wore cyclist arm bands (fluorescent /LED lights) for when really low vis. Also carried a whistle, low tech way of helping locate someone and summon help.

Unless your plan of when to go is set in stone, consider the Family Bash. Not sure why you think it’s too late, but being based in the highest altitude resort in the Alps helps with snow conditions. Apart from that, you’d all have other people to ski with and support to minimise any concerns.

Then you can just relax and enjoy it. Smile
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Oldfartbag has pretty much nailed it. The only thing I would add is, until they know the pistes like the back of their hands, pick a point that you can see from where you are currently standing and arrange to stop there. It makes it a little stop/start, but you don’t have to stop for long.
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I write my phone number on the outside of their helmets with a Sharpie- has worked a couple of times.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@kosciosco, yeah sounds like your 2 are about the same as most of the other FAMbash kids (although there are a range of ages and abilities) so could be worth considering.

As @PeakyB suggests, some easily recognisable gear for them and for your so you can easily pick each other out in a crowd.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
kosciosco wrote:
...and my other skiing friend is a teacher whose Easter break doesn’t start until the 9th which seems a little late.


Some great advice about phones from everyone. Can I also add that, in the right resort, the 9th April isn't particularly late at all. We're going this year on the 9th April to Val Thorens, as that's when the kids break up this year. It's a week or two later than normal, but that's why we've picked VT - as it's as snow sure as you can get for that time of year. I've been to VT for a long weekend on the 30th April and the snow was fantastic - and anyone that has been on the EOSB will testify how good the snow is there in April.

So could skiing with your teacher friend still be an option?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Handy Turnip, good point.. I missed that.

We've been that late at least a couple of times. Here's my report from 2019:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3392252
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

I write my phone number on the outside of their helmets with a Sharpie

Brilliant!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I think there is a lot of good advice here but I would also say don't worry too much - they are 9 and 12 which is not 4 and 6. Obviously I don't know your daughters but in general kids that age can work a lot our for themselves. Even if they don't have a phone, if they have your number they can go to the next ski lift and the lifty will call you.

The dilemma you do have is whether to lead or follow. I skied quite a lot on my own with my kids at that age and I tended to lead being careful not to get too far ahead and stop somewhere visible. I'd also say "I'm going to ski to that bend / marker / rock etc and we'll meet there".

The issue is that if they have a crash you are not there to pick up the pieces but that is just how it would be in ski school and I think they are old enough to deal with a "yard sale" on their own. Frankly it's good for their independence.
If conditions were tricky I used to ask the older to sweep.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Personally . . .minimise the risk - just stick them in ski school and ski worry free throughout the day. If you do ski together in the afternoons at least they will have got their 'bearings' and will be more likely to end up at the bottom / on the right lifts if you do get split up . . .
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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?
jedster wrote:


The dilemma you do have is whether to lead or follow. I skied quite a lot on my own with my kids at that age and I tended to lead being careful not to get too far ahead and stop somewhere visible. I'd also say "I'm going to ski to that bend / marker / rock etc and we'll meet there".

This is exactly what I started doing - until I temporarily lost my Son...who was the only one I was skiing with that day - and was 11 at the time.

It was the Premier Neige week of the Val D'Isere Downhill and we wanted to go over to the ropes, to watch some of the skiers come down. The place I chose for viewing, was not that far from the Start and we were going to watch from an area that was a bit like a layby, just off the main Blue Piste, that ran to the left of the Race Course.

When we were about 30 meters from the beginning of the layby (on our right), which could be easily seen, I said I would ski in and meet him there.

Well, I arrived first and waited...and waited....and waited. I then went up and down the roped off area of the layby, in case I'd missed him. When there was was no sign of him, I could feel the panic rising in me, as I had no idea how to find him in all the crowds watching the race. He could be anywhere.

After what seemed like an age - but was probably 10 minutes, I saw the Red Jacket of an ESF Ski Instructor - so went up to him and asked his advice. He said that my Son had probably fallen over and if I skied slowly down the Blue Run, I'd probably find him.

So, that is what I did - and I hadn't gone far, when I saw him lying in the snow, enjoying the sun - and not in the least concerned. When I asked him what happened - He said he'd fallen over and slid to there....and thought he would lie there until I found him.

I learned a few lessons that day - and will never forget the blind panic I felt, when I lost my Son in the crowds watching the race.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 14-09-21 10:53; edited 1 time in total
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To be fair this sort of $h!t can happen anywhere. When my kids were quite little (4 & 2) - we went to Ikea and the 4yo "disappeared". We told one of the staff who radio'd out a "code 99" or some such. Within a couple of minutes 7 or 8 staff were with us. 4yo brown quilted jacket, all got assigned a section and off they went. 3 or 4 minutes later he was found. Apparently he'd wandered off to find the nearest little play/game stations they have or had. Without their code 99 procedure we probably would have found him eventually but boy did it reduce the panic time.

Another time (bit older) they ran off unannounced and without warning to the toy shop (which wasn't on the agenda or at least not at that point). We had no idea where they had gone but kind of stood there assuming that once they realised we weren't with them they would turn back. 3 or 4 minutes later it came up on the tannoy, would Mr and Mrs so and so please collect their children. Instead of heading back they'd grabbed a security guard and told them they were lost. Funny really as until then I always thought parents who lost their kids were idiots.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Ski school for the girls in the morning and you get to push the miles and learn the slopes for your afternoon jaunts. Agree on phone, if you worry about rolling the phone back for the younger one, get an old phone or a wrist tracker. Piste map in each pocket and make them learn to read it and the names of slopes. Phone number on helmet of the little one is a good idea, not sure if the older will let you? Mix it up, send them off in front with an end spot in mind and watch them and then go off and make them follow. Find the jam parks and let them loose. Really impress it on them before you go and quote what can happen. We were in Flaine when that young lad got lost/skied into the trees and mine now know it can happen.
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My wife and a friend were skiing with 6 kids all between 8 and 11 yrs old, an adult at the front and 1 at the back. Within 400m they had lost 4 of the kids; our 2 and the 2 of the other adult.

They tried to cut a corner off through a wood, but the path didn't emerge. 30 mins later I was on the phone to the rescue service wen I heard shouts from the woods to my right at the Ecudets base lift at La Rosiere. This was some 500 vertical m below where we lost them and they had come through woods and over cliffs etc etc one of mine had lost his ski poles up a tree. The kids all burst into tears on arrival, convinced they were going to die.

We thought we had nailed the safety aspect, but never underestimate the dangers of kids having fun. We howl with laughter now, but at the time.....
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I have been skiing by myself with one teenage child (who is a competent skiier no longer doing ski school) and it was fine. We went to Montgenevre which is a resort we know very well. I would enjoy it less skiing with two kids and no other adult.

In your position I would go somewhere like Sainte Foy which is small enough to keep track of the kids easily. English is also widely spoken there. You could book the children into morning ski school and ski by yourself in the mornings and as a family in the afternoons. Or meet up with other families with kids in the ski school.

Alternatively maybe do something like Club Med where the kids would have the option of morning and afternoon ski school and you could join an adult group with a guide so you weren't skiing by yourself.
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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!
Layne wrote:
... until then I always thought parents who lost their kids were idiots.
I don't have kids, but I never though that.

As a caver, sometimes you end up taking novices underground. Sooner or later they'll ask "are we lost", to which the strict answer could often be "well yes". It's more common and helpful to explain that although you possibly don't know precisely where you are, that doesn't mean you're lost. There's an entrance up there and a bottom down the bottom. Almost no one knows precisely where they are all the time. I've rescued many people who were truly "lost", but that's a different thing from now knowing where you are.

Snowboarding... my approach is the same as it is to systems security. I start by assuming the bad thing will happen, then work back from that to make sure I'll already know how to fix it when it does. No doubt that's a bit tricky with four year olds. Hmm.
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Really left field suggestion but do you have a friend who loves skiing who could go with you...
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You lucky man....I took my two daughters at similar ages on my own and it is one of my most treasured trips......incidentally to Les Arcs.
Someone gives the tip of ensuring that you give the address of the accomodation - we just had a designated meeting place what ever part of the network we went, if we got lost or the eldest (who was and still is a great skier, we are just ok to good) went too fast or we went the blue route and she did the red/black option.
I think many are over-cooking it on here with precautions - relax and enjoy - but cast those meeting places in stone.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
oh, and stick more closely together if you're out in snowy/bleak conditions - if visibility is good it's less of an issue. Use your piste map to take them on runs that don't split or at least drop down to the same point
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My youngest, 7, loves skiing and I spend most of my time trying to rein in that enthusiasm (although it is lovely to see). He has lessons in the morning which gives me some ski time before we have lunch and then ski together in the afternoon.

Apart from all the advice above I make sure that he has a laminated photocopy of his passport in his pocket with all of my contact details printed on the back. I also take a photo of him in his ski gear so that if we were to get separated I can immediately show people what he looks like and what he is wearing (when there are loads of kids zooming about it's easier to identify them by their kit).

When my elder two were skiing with us we used their iPhones to track them and put What Three Words on it (as well as showing them how to use it).
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Ski slopes are actually quite safe with children as they are a very controlled environment.

On top of what others have already said:

- Making sure they know what the local EFS ski school coats look like and to just ski up to one of them and say "I'm lost!".
- How the piste markers work. If lost ski to the next marker post and you either get a piste number (Austria) or name and distance number (France). They can then phone you and you'll know where they are and can work out how to get to them.
- Almost every piste ends in a manned lift of one sort or another so if lost just ski down to the next lift and tell the attendant "I'm lost!".
- And of course make sure they have piste maps and teach them how to use them. As well as being a useful safety/adult skiing in later life skill it can make the skiing more fun, as you're no longer the "OK, follow me" dad but giving them some (guided) independence and control.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
This thread makes me feel guilty. I had a fatherly chat with my then 12 year old daughter about how no friends on a powder day works. Left her buried up to her waist off piste while I got a few laps in Happy

Can’t keep up with her now.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mjit wrote:
Ski slopes are actually quite safe with children as they are a very controlled environment.

On top of what others have already said:

- Making sure they know what the local EFS ski school coats look like and to just ski up to one of them and say "I'm lost!".
- How the piste markers work. If lost ski to the next marker post and you either get a piste number (Austria) or name and distance number (France). They can then phone you and you'll know where they are and can work out how to get to them.
- Almost every piste ends in a manned lift of one sort or another so if lost just ski down to the next lift and tell the attendant "I'm lost!".
- And of course make sure they have piste maps and teach them how to use them. As well as being a useful safety/adult skiing in later life skill it can make the skiing more fun, as you're no longer the "OK, follow me" dad but giving them some (
guided) independence and control.


Try telling Mrs A that, skiing nearly 40 years and is still in the "I'll follow you camp, until that is we approach a black" . More than my life is worth to accidentally (ahem) pick a route that only has a black as an option.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
ansta1 wrote:
Mjit wrote:

- And of course make sure they have piste maps and teach them how to use them. As well as being a useful safety/adult skiing in later life skill it can make the skiing more fun, as you're no longer the "OK, follow me" dad but giving them some (
guided) independence and control.


Try telling Mrs A that, skiing nearly 40 years and is still in the "I'll follow you camp, until that is we approach a black" . More than my life is worth to accidentally (ahem) pick a route that only has a black as an option.


There's a difference between being asked to lead and just telling others to follow Smile I was referring more to the controlling dad who basically does what they want and drags their family around behind them, ignoring requests to do a different run/stop for a drink/toilet except when THEY want a drink/need the toilet. From memory parodied nicely in the "why-figh"/"wee-fee", "walkie-talkie"/"talkie-walkie" video.
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