When my teenage children: Lewis, 17 and Holly, 16 found out we’d be skiing with Mark Warner Holidays this year their excitement levels were through the roof. Obviously, the prospect of any holiday is going to garner enthusiasm but take a holiday and pack it full of action, adventure and fun, and you’ll be on to the winning formula when it comes to teens. My own feelings before the holiday were a mix of sheer excitement and nervousness: we’d never even set foot on the slopes before, in fact, we’ve never been on holiday where we’ve had to pack for winter so this was completely new territory.
I needn’t have worried, Mark Warner Holidays are brilliant at accommodating novice skiers. They are geared both toward the inexperienced skier that stands nervously atop a green slope as well as the person that can hurtle down a black run with ease. Anything goes. Teenagers don’t feel ‘The Fear’ like we do when it comes to trying something new. In all likelihood, your children will be better and more confident at skiing than you from the get-go. Nevertheless, the prospect of the unknown can be daunting so here are my top 10 tips if you’re taking your teenage children skiing for the first time:
1 Pack wisely: Borrow as much ski gear as you can and hire the equipment you need. I expect that your teen knows someone their age that always went on the school skiing trip and the great thing is, kids don’t mind lending their stuff out! If you can’t borrow what you need then wait for the supermarket special buys, we found some brilliant quality items that didn’t break the bank.
2 Go for a taster lesson: We only managed one taster lesson but it was enough for the kids to see how fun skiing is and a good way of introducing them to the sport so they wouldn’t be stepping into the complete unknown.
3 Book lessons for when you’re there: It would be daft not to make the most out of your holiday, so make sure you book lessons. The instructor will quickly determine what skiing level you all are and group you accordingly. Skiing is the most fun we’ve ever had as a family holiday, but it’s also pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
4 Choose a suitable resort: Part of the fun of a skiing holiday is the apres ski. We chose the Chalet Hotel Le Val d’Isere because it has a vibrant party atmosphere which is perfect for teenagers.
5 Book hotel suites next door to one another: By the time your kids are teens it’s unlikely that you’ll want to share a family room for a whole week on holiday. Instead, book a room next door to yours so you can keep an eye on them but you won’t have to put up with their smelly thermals on your radiator!
6 Give everyone a rucksack as hand luggage: When skiing, you will want to take out water, snacks, money, and a camera or phone. If you make sure you bring enough bags then everyone can be responsible for their own stuff out on the slopes.
7 Choose a resort with a variety of slopes for all levels: If your kids are anything like mine they will pick up skiing quickly but you still need to choose a resort that has plenty of green and blue runs. They will probably be super confident and want to practice their new skills so grab a piste map and get your instructor to mark a few places suitable for their level of skiing.
8 Find the good snow: If you’re booking during the school holidays it isn’t usually a problem in February half term but anytime before Christmas or at Easter the snow might be thin on the ground. Choose a resort that is high up and has snow canons so everyone gets a chance to ski even if you’re not kneedeep in the white stuff.
9 Offer a variety of activities: Val d’Isere was the perfect resort for us because even when we weren’t skiing there was always something to do. We had a lot of fun both on and off the slopes; there’s ice skating, ice driving, husky rides and even paragliding to keep everyone entertained. Oh and not forgetting the amazing outdoor heated pool at the hotel, it was the perfect way to relax after a hard day.
10 Stay fuelled: teenagers aren’t the best at getting out of bed in the morning but they will need to keep their energy levels up on the slopes. Make sure they take advantage of the cooked breakfast the Mark Warner chefs provide every morning. They won’t need an alarm for afternoon tea, though, I don’t think
my two were ever late for that. Thick slabs of homemade cake is possibly the best reward after all that hard work!
Most of all, enjoy your holiday and have fun, if you’ve never been skiing before then you’re honestly in for the time of your lives. I loved every single moment of our first skiing experience as a family. I felt elated skiing with my children and I could have burst with pride as I watched them mastering a new skill that will hopefully turn into a life-long love of skiing.
Amy Treasure writes a popular UK magazine style food and lifestyle blog. You can see more of her Mark Warner holiday adventures here.