Having a baby needn’t mean you miss out on a mountain holiday. Thanks to specialist operators and family facilities in ski resorts, you can bring your baby along and enjoy a super time on the slopes as well as quality time together.
1. Make it a group trip
Ski with friends or family who love or have children. If they have tots in tow too, you can take turns childminding and skiing and schedule an evening out for each parent – it soon feels a lot more like a holiday all round. Another option is to bring the grandparents along, who might not want to ski as much as you do (if at all) but will delighted to spend time with their grandchildren. The result is a marvelous mix of time on the slopes, time with your partner, time with friends or family AND time with your little one.
2. Pick a family-focused property
Once you start to look for them, there are more specialist family chalets and hotels than you may have realised. The best ones have family rooms, cots and a bundle of baby necessities like changing, sterilising and food-prep equipment. Some come with an on-site creche where experts will care for your little one while you enjoy the mountains. Babysitting and baby listening services are often available too. It’s not just the child-friendly facilities that make family-focused properties so great – the fact that other guests will have children too makes the atmosphere a lot more relaxed.
3. Find a chalet at the foot of the slopes
Staying somewhere moments from the ski lifts, slopes and base restaurants means you can easily pop back for feeding, nappy changing or swapping over the childminding. It also saves you having to lug too much around the resort, which when you have ski gear and baby paraphernalia is a godsend! The base area usually marks the centre of the resort, which means anyone staying off the pistes can easily head out and explore.
4. Book your accomodation early
Accommodation with a convenient location, family rooms and childcare facilities gets snapped up fast, as do the most convenient flight times if you’re travelling by plane - so get your holiday secured well in advance. You can often benefit from early-booking discounts with family ski specialists like SNO.
5. Pack the usuals
Unless your operator can order it in for you, pack enough of your usual brand of formula, baby food and nappies for the week. To save suitcase space, you might be able to get an Amazon delivery to your hotel or chalet. Another option is to pre-order and collect your essentials from the airside Boots store at the airport.
6. Consider driving
If there are two or more travellers who don’t mind taking turns in the driver’s seat, this can be an easier option than packing for a flight. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a baby that sleeps through, you’re probably used to power napping anyway, so can set off in the early hours and arrive in good time. A huge bonus is that there are a lot less limits to what you can pack – just chuck it all in the car – and you don’t have to haul buggy, baby stuff and baggage around the airport. You can stop when and where you like along the way, and won’t need to worry about bothering other travellers.
7. Be altitude aware
Tots won’t be able to tell you if they’re feeling poorly from the altitude, so it’s best to avoid the really high mountain stations (above 2500m). Feeding or giving them a dummy as you travel up the mountain (and when the plane takes off and lands if flying) helps relieve pressure on the ears. Make sure everyone stays hydrated too which is extra important in mountain climates.
8. The great outdoors
Fresh mountain air does wonders – being linked to better sleep for starters. Pop your nipper in a snowsuit and get them out and about rather than keeping them cooped up indoors. Hire snow buggies and sleds for getting around the resort and bring your baby to slope side restaurants for al fresco lunches. For bad weather days, look out for leisure centres and play rooms.
9. Stay sun safe
The slopes get a lot of sunlight and like with a summer holiday, you need to guard against sunburn. Buy infant sunglasses with 100% UVA protection (the ones with adjustable straps work well) and slather on broad-spectrum SPF 50 sun cream every couple of hours.
10. Check their sleeping environment
Though the thought of staying in the mountains makes you want to pack their thickest thermal PJ’s, ski accommodation can be incredibly warm! It’s worth bringing a thermometer to make sure the temperature stays between 16-20°C. The climate is drier, so to keep air humid, some parents recommend leaving a mug of water on a radiator overnight. Sticking to your normal routines and using the usual sleeping bag and any other sleeping aids will also make sure they feel comfortable.
And above everything else – enjoy yourself! The exercise, good food and spectacular surroundings of a ski holiday will do you the world of good, and your baby will reap the benefits of fresh air and happy parents.