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What do you do with a 3 year old on a ski trip?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am interested in taking a Ski Trip to Canada or Colorado this year. We have a three year old. My wife says no way - she won't want to ski (which is true) and it won't be much fun having her along on a vacation. She doesn't really want to get stuck sitting in a hotel playing with her all day long for a week.

So, for those of you that have kids, what do the little ones who are too little to ski do on a vacation, and do both parents still have a good time on the trip?
post #2 of 25
Been there, done that - with three kids! Your options:

- bring a relative or friend familiar to the kid and let him / her watch him while you are skiing. Grandparents are a possibility.
- Ask the resort for baby sitting services - either hotel or slopeside. They won't be cheap and your kid at 3 YO won't like it. Anticipate separation tantrums given the new environment, person, and weather.
- Trade skiing hours with your wife. She does mornings, while you baby sit, and you do afternoons.
- Day care at the resort is another option. They know their stuff and will charge you a pretty penny. Just make sure your kid is alright with separation anxiety. My third one was not cool with this setup and we had to pick him up after two hours of non-stop bawling in the day care.

Good luck.
post #3 of 25
The only ski trip (aside from our condo on the hill years ago) that I ever took with a non-skiing tot, my parents were there. After that, she skied, too. As for non-skiing vacations, took a trip to Antigua once when she was two. I got NO vacation. After that, we always used Club Med until she was about 10. I don't blame your wife one bit. It's a total waste of her time and the family money to drag them along if she never gets her own time and activities.

Unfortunately, I don't think Club Med still has US-based ski locations.
post #4 of 25

I've been there too.  It's just not worth the hassle.  Both parents will have a bad time, especially the one who's not skiing.

 

Do a guy's trip and let her have her own trip too.  Start the big family trips when the kids are at least 6 and can get a lot out of ski school.  Until then keep it local with the family.

 

I guess a willing grandparent would change the equation but we never had such an offer.

post #5 of 25

3 is old enough to get her into a "Ski Wee" program on the mountain.  No time like the present to get the little one excited about skiing.  The programs for 3-6 yo's focus on fun and confidence more than skills - often with play zones on the hill, sleigh rides to/from the lodge, etc.  Usually plenty of breaks for hot chocolate, potty and warm-ups.  Sometimes they offer both indoor and outdoor play.  It can be pricey, but well worth the cost to get you time on the slopes while introducing her to skiing and playing in the snow.

 

As long as she's the least bit adventurous, she'll love it.  When my kids were little, we would take 'em along and put them in to a 1/2 day "Ski Wee" session. They're in a new area, seeing new and exciting things and having some fun on the snow. My wife would only ski 1/2 day and she was fine with baby sitting in the pm (she would read, my son would nap after a busy morning on the mountain).  I would probably start with a 1/2 day in the program and see if she's up for the full day.  Even then, you'll have to take time to stop in every couple of hours to check on her and make sure everything's OK.

 

Skiing with the family means adjusting your expectations.  If your goal is to go shred the gnar from first chair to last, it's not a family trip .. go by yourself.  But if you're willing to adjust your expectations to include spending time with the family on the slopes, you and your wife can still have plenty of time to explore the mountain while devoting some quality time to your daughter and introducing her to a great family sport.

 

You also need to set the expectations for your daughter before you go.  Get brochures and pictures from the mountain.  Tell her about the cool instructors, the fun zones, sleigh rides or whatever else the mountain has and get her excited about going.

 

As much as we all like to ski, make sure you have alternatives as well.  Dog sled or sleigh rides, pool or water park, a short snowshoe or hike.  Resorts with an active ski town usually have plenty of alternatives to a day on the slopes.

 

3 is on the young side, so her capacity for multiple days of Ski Wee may be limited, but there's nothing that says you can't have a great time with the family on a super winter vacation .. where you get to go skiing as well.

post #6 of 25

Is your child 3 or 3.5? Might make a difference.  My daughter was potty trained and ready at 3.5 to take 1/2 day lessons.  If that's a possibility, you can ski with your wife in the AM and take turns in the PM on some days. (This plan works best if you have season passes, so you don't feel like you wasted a full day lift ticket.) Other days, you can have one parent off slope handle your child, and/or have some time to relax while your kid is in 1/2 day lessons.

post #7 of 25
He said his wife won't ski.
post #8 of 25
Another option that I don't think I read above is to go on vacation along with some family friends who also have a similarly aged child. The kids stay back at the condo with one set of parents (or one "lucky" parent) and play together while the other grownups take turns skiing.
 

Adjusting one's expectations is so true. Fortunately my daughters are old enough to ski with us all day, however I still can't go as hard as I would by myself or with my guy friends. I just keep reminding myself that I'm on a family ski trip and not a ski trip.

post #9 of 25
My daughter started skiing at three as well, but she wasn't okay with long lessons with ski school. I think that ski trips until she LOVES ski school, should be just you. Once she does, just take her. I never forced my husband to come on trips with us. I let him take dogsledding trips to the Arctic or whatever horrid thing he wanted to do.
post #10 of 25

Our family skis.  It's part of what we do.  When our kids turned 3, naturally, they started skiing, too.  We put them in the kids program and before long they learned to ski.  Little kids learn from their parents (among others) what "normal" is.  In our case "normal" includes skiing in the winter.  They don't have to like it.  In our case, it took a few years for them to catch the bug.  Having skiing friends helps.

 

On the subject of the half-day programs, I'd avoid them.  In many places, they cost almost as much as the full day.  Keep in mind that transitions are difficult and slow with little kids.  Best to minimize them.  Also, what they will do happily and well for a trained instructor, they may not do for mom and dad.

 

Prior to age 3, we used babysitters/nannies in the room.  It adds expense and they don't like it too much.  Perhaps that might make them look forward to being able to ski.

post #11 of 25

Well, back in 1980, my son had just turned two,  We took a ski week at Killington.  My son went to the day care center at the base.  My wife and I took him out for a two hour lunch.  Next year he went back to the day care,  Again, a two hour lunch, and the center took the kids outside for an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon.  The kids played in the snow, and wore tiny skis.  At age four, he got two 45 minute lessons with the day care, and a two hour lunch with us.  At age five, we dropped him at the day care.  He took a two hour lesson and could ride the chair lift.  My wife and I took him to lunch, the skied with him until his afternoon lesson.  Then we skied with him for a few runs and went back to the lodge.

post #12 of 25

I love seeing these stories. Thanks everyone. This thread reinforces to me how great it is to be single ;) and gives me a bit of hope that if I become a parent someday, with the right attitude and preparation my family could be a skiing family (like Xela or OldEasternSkier).

post #13 of 25

I'm assuming that you mean your wife won't ski but that she is a skier, and would be doing so if your girl wasn't on her mind.

 

Drop your trip ideas bud, that is if you want to have the same wife in 15 years.  She's being cast as the parent/adult while you're out there having your fun.  Not a good scenario to establish.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post

I am interested in taking a Ski Trip to Canada or Colorado this year. We have a three year old. My wife says no way - she won't want to ski (which is true) and it won't be much fun having her along on a vacation. She doesn't really want to get stuck sitting in a hotel playing with her all day long for a week.

So, for those of you that have kids, what do the little ones who are too little to ski do on a vacation, and do both parents still have a good time on the trip?

Are you talking about flying for such a ski trip?  That really seems like it's not worth it if you live somewhat near a reasonably big ski mountain.  I waited until my daughter was 4, which was when the local Mid-A ski school would take her for full-day ski school.  She was very social and loved it.  Even so, I kept the ski trips short and she didn't ski every day.  In our case, it wasn't worth flying out west until she was 7 and knew enough to enough blue runs out west.  Plus I knew once we skied out west, then she would be somewhat spoiled after being in Utah powder.

 

I traveled a lot with my daughter ages 2-5, both flying and long distance driving.  Much easier on parents after Kindergarten.

post #15 of 25

Leave the car running with the heater on and some whiskey mixed in with the apple juice.  They will be fine.

post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
He said his wife won't ski.

No, by "she" I meant my 3 year old daughter. My wife will ski. Daycare is required during the day for my daughter, of course.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
 

Leave the car running with the heater on and some whiskey mixed in with the apple juice.  They will be fine.

 

I know that was meant as a joke.... but it reminded me of this really sad story from a year ago.  Please don't anybody leave their kids in a running car: 

 

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22094375/mom-visited-male-friend-while-2-kids-were

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

 

I know that was meant as a joke.... but it reminded me of this really sad story from a year ago.  Please don't anybody leave their kids in a running car: 

 

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22094375/mom-visited-male-friend-while-2-kids-were

Yes, it was most definitely meant as a joke, and i guess a bad one at that.  Sorry if it offended.

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post


No, by "she" I meant my 3 year old daughter. My wife will ski. Daycare is required during the day for my daughter, of course.

 

If you get ski in/out, one parent can play with kid while the other skis.  Then maybe introduce the child to daycare/ski school a little at a time, so that you can ski together.

post #20 of 25
Haven't read all the posts yet, but we took my 2 1/2 yr old daughter with us to steamboat last year. She went to kiddie corral (daycare) every day and loved it. Dropped her off at 8:45 and we skied all day. She really enjoyed it, they even took them for a ride up the gondola.

This year we plan to go somewhere with a combo ski/daycare option. She will be almost 4 in march. She's ready to get on the snow I think
post #21 of 25

Ours is younger, but we ski all the time. Generally, we buy one pass and stick it on a jacket that both of us fit into, and then we take turns, a few runs at a time, while the other is in the lodge. We only do this at smaller areas where most of the runs end at the same place. Then the one in the lodge can either play with him or take him out in the snow -- we bring a sled, toys, and baby skis. We also have gone with another couple who has a same age baby -- then we buy 3 tickets for four skiers and rotate one skier out.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post

Quote:
He said his wife won't ski.

No, by "she" I meant my 3 year old daughter. My wife will ski. Daycare is required during the day for my daughter, of course.

Totally different answer then! If your daughter is potty trained, I'd certainly stick her in daycare. Much better than being stuck all day with mom in a hotel room.

I will say, though, that flying is no fun. Make sure you buy a ton of cheap, never before seen toys to pull out and say, "Look what I have!" at critical moments.
post #23 of 25
Some of this advice is really conservative (don't go until they're 6, etc.). My kids both started at 3. With two working parents they were used to daycare. We picked places like Jackson Hole that give all day lessons at 3. Most don't start until 4. It's not much and it's not cheap! They have a little magic carpet and then progress to a really flat beginner hill. Make sure they're having fun - vacations should be for the whole family.

Last year at age 5 my younger guy was skiing blacks at Snowbird (not often and not the hard ones) and even did a double black bump run or two in the Catskills. "Skiing" is of course a relative term. This is just for example. Don't push them into more than they can handle or it can end in disaster - both emotionally and the possiblity of severe injury/death.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

Haven't read all the posts yet, but we took my 2 1/2 yr old daughter with us to steamboat last year. She went to kiddie corral (daycare) every day and loved it. Dropped her off at 8:45 and we skied all day. She really enjoyed it, they even took them for a ride up the gondola.

This year we plan to go somewhere with a combo ski/daycare option. She will be almost 4 in march. She's ready to get on the snow I think

what he said.. In Utah, Deer Valley wrote the book on child care, even babies. With the tiny ones, a bit of play, a bit of skiing, hot chocolate... Also, you can spy on the kids over coffee from the Snow Park Lodge- the kid lift is right outside, and it's easy to buzz by the bunny hill during the day just to check.

Not all resorts can handle a three year old. At DV, there's a whole wing of a lodge dedicated to a nursery, a daycare, and a children's ski school. Potty trained is a prerequisite for skiing. Do your homework, choose a resort with outstanding childcare- and have fun. When my youngest was in childcare/ ski school (about six years ago) it cost about as much as a lift ticket.
post #25 of 25

Our kid we have now is 94 years old, my wife's dad we take care of.  I would love to take my wife on a trip to Tahoe I am going on, but the one friend we can get to baby sit is going on the trip with me. I will take my wife to on a different trip. 

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