My wife and I recently had a baby, and having missed out on ski holiday last year due to the pregnancy, we have decided having a baby will not stop us hitting the piste this winter. So, hving gone through the extra planning five tips for planning a ski holiday with a baby.
Planning a ski holiday with a baby: Childcare
If you are going away to ski or snowboard and your child is too young to start learning, then you will either have to take it in turns to stay in and look after the baby or get some form of child care. My thoughts are that if you have paid to go skiing, then spending half the potential slope time babysitting is not an option.
I’m sure most resorts have creche services, but we were keen to ensure ours was run by a British company, to UK standards and staffed with English-speaking nannies. So, for that extra piece of mind, we looked into childcare through package ski holidays and found the Pepi Penguin Club run by Crystal Ski. It takes infants from 6 months to 4 years old and runs in Tignes, Flaine, La Plagne and Alpe d’Huez in France; Claviere and Val Di Fassa in Italy; and Kranjska Gora in Slovenia. All staff are fully qualified and CRB checked and referenced, so you know you are leaving your child in safe hands.
Luggage and baby equipment
On a recent sunshine holiday, we discovered that taking a baby away adds significantly to your luggage. With essential items like a travel cot and pushchair, more space was taken up for the little man’s stuff than we took for ourselves. So to pack my wife’s ski equipment, my snowboarding kit and winter clothing for all 3 of us is not only going to push the weight limit, but will also prove difficult for us to carry.
We normally book ski holidays independently, but package holidays with companies like Crystal Ski and Thomson Ski can guarantee to provide a cot and other baby equipment, such as baby monitors and bottle warmers. This reduces the ‘baby extras’ – meaning you won’t be paying excess luggage fees.
Flight times vs babys
It is difficult having to get to an airport for 4am for an early morning flight, but if it means an extra half-day on the slope, it’s something I am more than happy to do. However, babies have set routines and going on holiday is going to upset that enough without chucking in the middle of the night wake-ups we’ll need just to get to the airport on time. Plus, you need to factor in the extra hour or two it takes to leave the house with a baby… So, we decided middle of the day flights are essential to avoid extra disruption to our routine.
Planning a ski holiday with a baby: Transfers
Long transfers to ski resorts are something most skiers and boarders are happy to put up with. However, add a 4-hour coach trip on the back of a 2-hour flight – both with a baby in tow – and it’s not just an annoyance; it’s a potential deal-breaker! So we looked at resorts within a 2-hour transfer of the airport.
Self-Catered vs All-inclusive
This is a debate I have had many times long before planning to take our baby on a ski holiday. I have tried, and enjoyed, both options but most often we have gone self-catering to save on the up front cost. However the last thing you want to do after spending a tiring day on the slopes is cook dinner so we end up eating out most nights which gets expensive. And, wandering around the streets at night in the cold with a baby trying to decide where to eat does not sound like fun, especially as it is likely to be bed time for the little one. Well, all things considered, this year we decided to go for a catered all-inclusive option so we can stay in and he can go to bed at a reasonable time.
What did we book?
When booking previous ski holidays I have always been budget-driven, so it was a change this time making decisions based on the above factors. In the end we booked our ski holiday for a week in January with Crystal Ski. We are staying at the all-inclusive Terra Nova Hotel in La Plagne, France and our son has all-day membership in the on-site Pepi Penguin Club, leaving my wife and I free to enjoy the piste!
I hope these give tips for planning a ski holiday with a baby help you get out to the mountains.