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Heading off for a snowy holiday as a family and worrying if everyone will have fun? Discover ideas for making the most of snowy peaks at any age.
1-4 years old: Discovery
If your child is between 1 and 4, it's likely that this is going to be their first winter holiday in the mountains. You're finally getting to share the joy of playing in the snow with them!
Create a snowman with a carrot or a branch for a nose and pebbles for buttons. Why not create a whole family of snow animals and fantastic creatures?
The youngest ones will have the time of their lives touching the snow, discovering the noises it makes under their feet, and seeing their surroundings covered in a white blanket. Plus, you can teach them about animals who adapt their fur color, so that they can camouflage with this new landscape. Then, you can go hunting for paw tracks in the snow when you're out and about!
Maybe it's time to take on the first sledding descents. Head for the slopes with the younger ones, or practice on a flat area.
Little adventurers from 3-4 years will be so proud of themselves when they get onto a gliding kit on their own! The perfect activity, sure to create some memorable laughs and giggles in the snow.
For 3-4 year olds, you can offer them the chance to take their first steps into skiing. Snowblades are a great first step in getting used to gliding around with skis on your feet. Snow gardens are perfect for giving kids a fun introduction to moving over the snow. The magic carpet for getting uphill and little bells to ring along the descent will give them plenty of fun. Plus, you'll get at least half an hour of peace!
Together, you can create endless memories for years to come, plus you can give your kids "snow fever"!
5-9 years old: Their 1st bends and turns
If your kids are starting to get excited about skiing, they can take classes in groups and perfect their bends and turns with parallel skis. Their lower center of gravity and that fearless outlook typical of kids allows them to quickly find their feet (or rather their skis) on the pistes. The bolder amongst them may even take on their first small hills on the edges of the pistes.
If your kids aren't fans of skiing but love board sports they can try snowboarding. Guided by a teacher, they'll quickly learn to stand upright on the board and glide down the pistes. A great feat to show off about back at the playground!
Is the weather not on your side; looking for an indoor activity? Now is a great time to introduce your kids to ice skating! Ice rinks often have skating aids available for kids to push whilst they find their balance on their blades. Ski resorts often have outdoor, natural ice rinks which are perfect for kids who've already had some skating experience. You can even skate under the stars and enjoy the view over the mountains. Check out dance evenings or other events which are sometimes held on ice.
So, your day of skiing or fun in the snow is over, but the kids are still full of energy. A good old-fashioned snowball fight should help you convince them to come and settle down with a hot chocolate.
Need to keep the kids occupied for a few hours? Organize a snowman-building contest. Start off by asking them to draw snowmen, then to choose elements to decorate them with, either from in the house or outside. Carrots, pine cones, pebbles, pompoms, hats or sweets... The options are endless for creating snow masterpieces. Each little sculptor is rewarded after a vote of hands to choose the most original snowman. Enjoy these last years of calm before the storm!
10-14+: Thrill-seeking on the agenda
Your kids may be comfortable on the snow by this age, whether it's on skis or on a snowboard. I hope you're not faint of heart! They've reached the age where, in addition to challenging authority, they want to test their own limits. The good news is that you can suggest they take lessons to learn to go off-piste and freestyle safely. However, your nerves are still going to be tested when they show you their tricks, either live from the snowpark or in videos. Do you want to shake things up and suggest new activities for your teens and pre-teens? There are a plethora of options! If your kids enjoy skateboarding, they can try out their skills on a snowskate. The gliding sensations are similar, but the playing field is incomparable.
Do you want to see how you would fair as a Nordic tracker with your teens? Offer them a night in an igloo! These camps are organised by snowsport professionals and include a torch-lit snowshoe hike, dinner and evening entertainment around the camp-fire, etc. Whatever you fancy, you can choose the comfort level of your accommodation (some igloos are heated). They can even learn to build their own igloo.
Are you looking for activities that the whole tribe can enjoy?
Travelling with kids of all ages who want to do different things? Organize a sledding course that the little ones and the bigger ones can all join in on. By pairing them up by age, you can make sure that everyone has fun safely.
Strolls with or without snowshoes can be a great opportunity to organise a treasure hunt. Each child goes a little ahead to hide a large and visible toy which can be found near the path by the rest of the family. If they prefer, teens can hunt out geocaching tags, which are hidden along many hiking trails. The whole squad will be motivated for hours on end, will benefit from lots of fresh air, discover wonderful snowy forests, and will only want one thing afterwards: to head out on another adventure.
If you like dogs and would like to learn to drive a husky-pulled sleigh, this is for you. Discover the job of the musher, who drives their dog team. Little ones can stay warm in the sleigh with blankets, whilst older ones can have a troop of dogs and a sledge to drive. You can thank the dogs with some pets (after getting the all-clear from their owner) at the end of your adventure.
Cross-country skiing is an easy way of enjoying precious family time as everyone can go at their own pace, at their own level: whether you follow tracks with classic cross-country skiing, or try your hand at skating on more beaten sections of the piste... and everyone can enjoy the Nordic landscape over a picnic underneath the pine trees!
To really make the most of the snow, your kids need to have the right gear!
Base layers, a fleece and a waterproof ski suit will be your best allies out in the snow, guaranteeing that your bundles of joy are protected from the elements. Of course, mittens, snow boots and a helmet are also highly recommended, for both warmth and safety. Wearing a helmet is highly recommended for skiing and snowboard alike. For snowboarding, wrist and back protection is recommended by schools.