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First family ski trip

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thinking about booking first family ski trip for next new year or Feb half term. Kids will be 6, 5 and 1 so obviously youngest non skiier. Anyone been with kids this age? Practical? Or do we wait 3 or 4 years till everyone can ski and eldest are a bit more independent? Any advice on resorts was thinking Italy to avoid hefty in resort costs and perhaps less crowds but if new year would need to be snowsure. Any advice / tips would be great help, thanks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@BobbyO, welcome to snowHead

Perfectly practical for kids to go at those ages and to start skiing. Went with our twins when they were 1 then following year when 2 and a new born! Been every year since.

They're now 18 and 16 so I'm a little out of date

Christmas and New Year can be cold, Easter daycare longer and can be warmer, may be worth considering. Feb will be snow sure, but crowded and expensive!

Many companies are recommended with families, sure advice will be forthcoming soon. For us, taking grandparents helped!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Welcome to SHs, @BobbyO,

Your only regret will be... the cost of taking your family skiing, once they are hooked!

I would echo the comment about Easter - sunnier days, can be low season lift passes but still can be great snow if you go high.
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Thanks Boris. Easter not an option due to workload so perhaps Feb better for that all important 1st trip, shudder at the thought of those words " I don't like it, I never want to come again", which may be more likely if we got a very cold harsh new year trip. Looking for a resort that ticks as many boxes as poss, good value, good childcare (though I think in reality one of us would have toddler most of the time), snowsure nursery slopes close to accommodation, reasonable ski area for dad, reasonable transfer, not too crowded. Sorry I know that is probably an impossible dream.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@BobbyO, welcome to SnowHeads.

Went skiing with our son when he was 4 months old and every season after. 3 youngsters obviously more challenging. Doable but needs lots of planning and don’t expect it to be too relaxing for parents.

I agree with @Boris and @tomj that March onwards is likely to be a better time to go with young children. If limited to new year or mid Feb, I think I’d wait 3 or 4 years and start saving hard.
snowHead
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And thanks tomj.

Apologies if I'm a little novice like on the forum as it's the first of any kind I've ever been on.

Stick to major operator's or any mileage in doing it all yourself.... have done a few short trips with mates on budget airlines, own transfer and room but not so much at stake as the first family trip!

Any mileage in trying to straddle the holidays to have a couple of quieter days at the beginning/end and still only miss perhaps 2 days of school?
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Personally I would highly recommend Esprit.

Are you looking to take yours out of school? We did when they were that age BUT that was before the rules changed and we did get permission from the school.
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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!
@BobbyO, main resorts / operators are geared Sat to Sat. I would check your authority rules on term time absence - that age a week won’t make a difference. We used to go mid January!

Esprit always gets lots of recommendations
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Thanks.

Ideally not take them out of school for a full week. I don't agree with the way it is managed now, I feel it should be judged over the whole year, a 6 year old child that has 100% attendance should be granted one week having a family holiday that the family may not be able to afford during peak times.

Looking at the half term prices I do fear it may be a choice of waiting a few years and saving or taking them out of school whilst they're still young.
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BobbyO wrote:
Thanks.

Ideally not take them out of school for a full week. I don't agree with the way it is managed now, I feel it should be judged over the whole year, a 6 year old child that has 100% attendance should be granted one week having a family holiday that the family may not be able to afford during peak times.

Looking at the half term prices I do fear it may be a choice of waiting a few years and saving or taking them out of school whilst they're still young.


Esprit Christmas week prices aren’t horrendous, if you don’t mind going over Christmas.

Next cheapest is second week of Easter school holidays.
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@BobbyO,
I only took my children when they were older (all at primary school, some at secondary) and only went in school holidays because my wife is a teacher!

As you say that Easter isn't an option for you, then I'd think maybe about low season March. I'm really no fan of picking a fight with schools, but I would say at that age a week out is not the end of the world and will not permanently damage their schooling! As @PeakyB says, at February half term you pay top dollar.

Esprit have had great reviews from SHs. I self-organised our first family trip, but then I'd already been taking myself off on trips for the best part of 20 years, through package tours and DIY, and knew what I needed to sort out but was still grateful for having a catered chalet.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
If you can do Christmas or pre Christmas week, could be cheaper. Your kids are good age to start skiing. Also while many TOs are Sat to Sat there are lots of Sun to Sun options now and if you DIY you can sometimes do other days ( we are going Sun to Mon this half term). There lots of options depending on what you want to do - we have done self catering and brought a nanny with ( shared with other family), catered chalet and also Clubmed.
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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
Thanks to all. Lots of help.

If we were to opt for school hols I presume sooner the better for booking?

I love ( used to love) a last minute deal as self employed and can sometimes ' drop everything and go' however this won't apply on school hols. Would it be wise looking at booking half term 2020 around now?

People say France is most crowded at half term but do Italian resorts close to French border still get the influx I.e la thuile linked to la rosiere or courmayeur etc.?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@BobbyO, really wouldn’t recommend it it - not with that many of you and not when you need childcare and ski lessons. For peak weeks these can be fully booked.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Half term will be busy, but early booking will help. Particular if you use Esprit or similar where you'll likely get lessons etc as well.

In On the Piste section there are links to school holidays for all EU schools, have a look who you clash with. The Paris week generally the busiest at half term
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
NickyJ wrote:
@BobbyO, really wouldn’t recommend it it - not with that many of you and not when you need childcare and ski lessons. For peak weeks these can be fully booked.


Just to confirm I was trying to say “I wouldn’t recommend last minute booking for half term”... just realised I wasn’t clear at all!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@NickyJ, Laughing

Agreed - if doing Feb with kids book early as you can!!!! I had assumed you were saying don't recommend half-term and was thinking bit harsh
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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?
Boris wrote:
@NickyJ, Laughing

Agreed - if doing Feb with kids book early as you can!!!! I had assumed you were saying don't recommend half-term and was thinking bit harsh


Yes suddenly realised how it came across Happy
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At that age I’d take them out of school to be honest. Not ideal I know. However you will have smaller/no queues so less banging around and getting bored and cold; smaller ski school groups and of course cheaper.

Ours are teens so wouldn’t consider skipping school, or even would have done so from year 7. However, primary age I don’t see a problem. You may get hit with a school fundraising tax, sorry, a fine, but you can factor this into your budget.

I do think early booking is best, and each year flights have gotten more expensive the later I’ve left it. However that’s diy as we don’t like packages, so someone else would have to comment on that. The only delay we’ve ever had skiing was with a package (Crystal), because Tui nicked our plane to use elsewhere, so it was “nicked” . We ended up with two younger kids, stuck in a Subway cafe for 9 hours!!! If you diy you can choose scheduled flights where this is far less likely to happen. Just a little thing I thought I’d mention.
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Quote:

You may get hit with a school fundraising tax

May be different for different areas, however in Northants the Education Authority issues and receives the fines - not individual schools. Again for Northants you can miss 10 sessions/5 days without any risk of fine.

Went mid-Jan every year when ours were in Primary school
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All useful thanks.

I've not actually heard of our school fining anyone, probably because in general people don't take the Mick. It's a small village school and very community focussed so probably just worrying about rocking the boat.

I agree it will have no affect on their schooling at that age. My parents took us out of primary school 25 years ago but it stopped once we got to secondary school.

Though I do remember some pupils being off for weeks with no apparent reason so I suppose it is a case of a few spoiling it for the many.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Boris wrote:
Quote:

You may get hit with a school fundraising tax

May be different for different areas, however in Northants the Education Authority issues and receives the fines - not individual schools. Again for Northants you can miss 10 sessions/5 days without any risk of fine.

Went mid-Jan every year when ours were in Primary school


I think that’s the most irritating thing to me; the fact that it all seems so arbitary. My daughter’s school didn’t charge, yet my friend’s daughter’s school charges £85 per week.
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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!
Check out Esprit Ski

They look after your kids all day if you want. EVen the 1 year old
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Out of curiosity, have any parents put 'ski lessons' or 'ski training' for their absence reason? It's a sport after all. Provided they're in organised lessons, training etc, maybe your school will authorize it?

Re Italian holiday, check out Gressoney with Esprit. The beginners are mini-bused to the hill, but great skiing for the grown ups. Super cheap in resort as there literally is no night-life!
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@Canuck, yes I did when I was taking my daughter out of school for 1 day (did a Monday to Monday one halfterm when my eldest was in yr 4). The request was still declined. However as it was under the 5 days threshold there was no further action or fine for taking her out for that one day (the only day of school she missed that year).
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Given the problems with New Year (horribly crowded and expensive and far from snow-sure) and other holiday times, I'd echo the advice about going mid - end January and taking them out of school when they're still young enough for this to have no impact on their future employment prospects. Even if money is no object, crowded slopes and lift queues are the biggest turn off of all, IMHO.
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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.
@Canuck, yes, did it once (in combination with work meaning I couldn't take a school holiday week). It was authorised, much to our surprise as the school had a new head and we'd been very vocally critical of her policies in the previous few months.
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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
This half term we are going Sunday to Monday so my two primary school kids will miss one day of school. I am planning to just tell the school that our flights got delayed ( “Ryanair ate my hamster”). Not feeling great about but know that it wouldn’t be authorised anyway if I asked.
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You know it makes sense.
Canuck wrote:
Out of curiosity, have any parents put 'ski lessons' or 'ski training' for their absence reason? It's a sport after all. Provided they're in organised lessons, training etc, maybe your school will authorize it?

Re Italian holiday, check out Gressoney with Esprit. The beginners are mini-bused to the hill, but great skiing for the grown ups. Super cheap in resort as there literally is no night-life!


We had both our boys leave approved for a rugby tour last year. The rugby club provided a letter to be presented to the school and they didn't bat an eyelid, and signed off a 3 day absence! I might try this for our ski trip next year, worth a try!

Though I think a child is "allowed" 10 unexplained absences, a single absence is either an am or pm, so a full day off will be 2 absences. With that in mind taking a child out for a full week will only "cost" 10 absences, and therefore no fine!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The rules vary a lot - you need to consult the specific guidelines for your LEA.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'd suggest looking at Austria too. We find half board packages are good value for money and easy to get family rooms or junior suites. The ski schools are brilliant and this year my 6 year old still gets a free lift pass. Some resorts even let parents share a lift pass so if you are sharing looking after the one year old that's a possibility though we always liked both having a pass and then meeting up on the mountain for lunch. A gondala ride is even more exciting than a bus ride.

Kit wise for the kids Aldi and eBay.

Skiing with them when they're little is brilliant just don't forget to pack a couple of small spades for snow castle building.
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@ Alicat sounds like great fun.

Thanks for the tips. A friend went with young family to alpbach last year and said it was great for the kids. Was his first trip to so I would imagine double hard getting used to handling gear etc with littlns to boot.

Am definitely leaning towards Italy/Austria for their first time.
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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?
We managed to put together a good value mid term trip for my sister's family's (5 year old twin girls) 1st ski holiday only a few weeks ago.

Strangely the Hilton in Davos didn't hike up prices, about £170 a night for a family room inc breakfast. Free lift pass for under 6. Picked up cheap Swiss air flights going out Tuesday home Sunday for Manchester to zuruch and hired a car, well less than 2k inc adults ski passes.

They had a problem getting into ski school mid week but as a family they have been going to the indoor in UK so they have booked a few private lessons when there.

Big down side area is bus served to small ski areas but plus side I got invite a invite prob to carry my neices skis!
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Sorry to change subject but has anybody used alps2alps for ski hire?

Booked them for a transfer from Geneva to chamonix in the near future and have seen they offer a ski hire service, that looks well priced and convenient. Just wondering if equipment and service is good?
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Do they just act as a booking agent for established ski rental and service shops?
Or do they actually operate their own rental shops?
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From what I can gather they pick u up and take you straight to hire shop which isn't to far from airport, get sorted then carry on up to resort.

At the end of trip you return skis to transfer driver on departure.

If you have issues or want to swap they have a few affiliated rental shops in resort.

Sounds convenient but just wondered if anyone had used them?
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Italy will be quieter than Austria for half term. New Year is busy everywhere! We always self organised Feb half term usually starting with flights to Milan & hiring a car as the UK tour ops charge a big premium for half term week. You'd just have to sort out child care for the little one.
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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!
BenTisdall wrote:
Italy will be quieter than Austria for half term. New Year is busy everywhere! We always self organised Feb half term usually starting with flights to Milan & hiring a car as the UK tour ops charge a big premium for half term week. You'd just have to sort out child care for the little one.


Not in my experience, though it comes down to individual resorts.
I've barely queued at all some HTs in Austria, straight on the lifts and I've had huge queues in Italy, sometimes.
This HT (16th Feb) should be reasonably good in Austria, only one small region of Germany is off that week.
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