You want your ski vacation to be happy and successful with no stress. Much of the burden comes on Mom to make sure the trip flows smoothly without incident.
I've polled some ski moms for tips on how to make it fun for the family, and they're loaded with good advice.
Anne Barounos, who has some ski racing sons, has some tips for those families learning to ski. "Don't try to squeeze every minute's worth of skiing into your day in an effort to make the steep price of the lift ticket seem worthwhile. You will only end up being exhausted, and your kids will be cranky and associate skiing with stress. Instead, plan on skiing for just two hours or so. Then plan on taking a long lunch break before you go out for another hour or so. Even if you only end up skiing three hours during the whole day, you will create a happier memory."
Elizabeth Park agrees not to expect a full day of skiing out of your kids. "They are young and get tired quickly with all the equipment they have to deal with. Just getting on the snow can be an exhausting experience. Carry their equipment if they are too young to do so and don't expect them to do it. Carry food, candy, and water in a Camelbak to keep their little bodies going. Do not be surprised when after one run they want to go in and get hot cocoa. You want their first few experiences to be fun so they will want to do it again. Patience is the word when skiing with your kids. Just enjoy being outside, bring a camera to document and have fun. Otherwise stick them in ski school and enjoy time with them in the hot tub afterwards."
Barounos also stresses the importance of professional ski lessons for anyone, no matter what age. She says, "Like teaching your wife to play bridge, teaching your child (or girlfriend, or husband) to ski is a recipe for disaster."
Blair Seymour says, "Always carry food or snacks. Pretzels, granola bars, fruit snacks, dried fruit, or M&Ms. Lower your expectations. Go where the child wants to go, not where you want to go. Kids don't get bored skiing the same run, over and over. We do. Carry hand warmers and a neck gaiter."
Finally, Karen McCarthy adds, "I propose having dad learn a new sport simultaneously. For example, my husband is a skier. He picked up snowboarding while our munchkins were learning to ski. The upside was that our three children and their dad had a new learning curve and were equally entertained. The downside was that I, the mother, was left to ski alone. Had I been smarter, I would have picked up snowboarding too."
If you have a tip that has worked for your family, zap it my way and we'll put it in "Mother Knows Best," Part Two. Dads, your tips are welcome as well.