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Crazy taking the family?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody,

I need some opinions on my plans for next winter. We're a family of four, with mixed skiing experience. I'm the dad, I have a lot of experience and I'm aching to go next winter. Last winter, I took our five year old daughter to Soelden and had a blast. So our daughter has enough skills and experience to handle any moderate slope. My wife has never had any lessons and has only skied a few times. Our son is now three and has only stood on skis once last winter.

Am I crazy taking this family to an alp resort like Serfaus next winter? The reason I chose Serfaus is that it seems to be very family-friendly and has a lot of activities for children. I realize that mom and the boy need some lessons before, during and after. But am I just crazy or should I go for it?

 

The thing I realized last winter is that I'm in my mid-thirties and for the rest of my life I don't ever want to spend a winter without a week or two in an alpine resort. So unless I take the whole family, it's going to be a week of quality dad&daughter-time, but I'd prefer to take the entire family. Also, I'm lobbying for my mother to come, as well as my sister with her son.

Language is also an issue in Serfaus, since my kids don't speak German or English, but that's another issue.
 

post #2 of 12

No, you are not crazy to take the family as long as it doesn't destroy your budget.  Don't know Serfaus, but it almost doesn't matter what ski area. In fact, a lesser known resort with smaller crowds will be better for your young family. Generally, achieving a smooth and hassle-free ski holiday while the children are very young is a challenge, but remain patient. Once they gain intermediate skills and can handle the vagaries of winter weather it will become more and more rewarding each time you ski/ride with them. If you get the kids hooked, mama will follow -for years to come. Bringing extended family to help with logistics and finances can be very beneficial.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Perhaps my concerns are mostly with my wife, since she is an inexperienced skier. Combining a new hobby with the enormity of an alpine resort and having to take care of kids (I'll do my part and more) may be challenging and stressful. As I said, I know that my daughter will be ok, but my  son is only three (will be almost four during the vacation) and inexperienced. I'm afraid he may require quite a lot of attention and that it may not be possible to get lessons for him.

post #4 of 12

My kid's have spent every Christmas of there entire life, in Aspen.  It can be stressful at times, but I've got it wired by now.  I bring friends for the wife and kids and lot's of money!

post #5 of 12

I think it's a great idea. If you make sure you are going to a family friendly environment, you can have a fantastic time. Of course your wife should be interested in learning how to ski or in relaxing in a nice alpine hotel.. I heard in the US children are accompanied by a parent during ski lessons. This is not common in Europe (there might be exemptions?). Sometimes kids are picked up at the hotels or you have to bring them to meeting point and pick them up again. That means, if you book your children into ski lessons. You are going to have time to really ski for  at least 2 hours. Your wife can take a lesson too without worrying about your children. I do not know how this is handled in Serfaus, but in Switzerland all instructors who teach English speaking kids have to know some English. Don't worry to much.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, my kids don't speak English (or German or French or Italian), so language is actually the biggest issue when it comes to lessons. My wife does speak it, so for her it's not an issue. When my daughter has taken lessons just about all the instructors have told me gently but firmly that parents should not be present during the lessons.

 

Perhaps my main concern is with my wife, because I'm afraid it may be very stressful and she'll hate it and never want to go again... or then I'm just worrying too much.

post #7 of 12

I'm sorry, I know it's none of my business, and it's not the least bit germaine to this discussion (or Marlon or Tito to it, but that's another issue), but just what language do your wife and kids speak? Just curious, that's all.

BTW, if it's any romance language, they'll get by in Italy. Native Spanish speakers, for example, do wonderfully here, and vice versa.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I'm sorry, I know it's none of my business, and it's not the least bit germaine to this discussion (or Marlon or Tito to it, but that's another issue), but just what language do your wife and kids speak? Just curious, that's all.
 


I was wondering the same. Anyway, my answer to your question is - you'd be crazy not to bring them.

post #9 of 12

I started taking my kids nearly 20 years ago when they were aged 2, 4 and 5. It is hard work at these ages and if you do it for them rather than just dumping them in ski school and forgetting about them you'll not get a lot of skiing time yourself.

 

Both my daughters were happy for the most part in ski school but my son never was. He never went into ski school but has ended up a ski pro. I was fortunate in having an instructor's qualification myself but you don't have to have one. There are some really good books about children learning to ski which will help you give appropriate support to them when they're not in lessons to complement the work of their instructors. Good foundations are vital and so many well meaning parents give cringe worthy advice to their offspring, so make sure you acquire some knowledge yourself.

 

All 3 of my kids are incredibly passionate about the mountains now as adults. One of them lives in the alps, another has been teaching in Canada for 2 years. They all ski and climb etc. They also regularly thank us for exposing them to the environment when they were young. This is incredibly gratifying.

 

As for your wife, while I have never skied in Serfaus, many of these kind of Austrian resorts have lots to do off the slopes making it a more all round winter experience rather than a full on ski experience which may be too much for her if she's not too keen at first. Look for a good instructor and maybe get her a couple of private lessons with a sympathetic teacher who will develop her skills at the right pace, giving her confidence. (I find the Canadian approach to be very effective but there are good instructors and bad everywhere)

 

Most certainly go for it. It may be a bit of a compromise for your own skiing but it is so worthwhile in the long run. The only problem is you'll never get them to stop wanting to go on holiday with you. Not a bad thing really.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

By popular demand...  We're a bilingual family, so my kids speak Swedish and Finnish. Sorry for not telling you right away. Since they speak Swedish, they're able to communicate somewhat with someone speaking Norwegian or Danish as well. This was proven last winter, when my daughter got lessons from two Danish instructors. She just loved it. Although she admitted that she didn't understand quite everything they said, communication went well and she had a wonderful time. She loves skiing with an instructor. I think it's because they're usually really good at turning it into a fun game.

 

Serfaus is not really hacked in stone as our destination yet, but it seems a good candidate, since it's so family-friendly. All suggestions are welcome.  We can get cheap flights to Munich and Zurich, so Austria and Switzerland seem like the easiest choices. I'm seriously considering keeping the costs down by arranging the holiday myself. I think we are able to keep ourselves entertained wherever there is snow. My wife is a good sport, so I know she'll give it her best shot, but I find a day off skiing can always be a nice change during a week's vacation. My wife has said that she'll go but that she doesn't know what she's getting herself into. That's probably very true.

 

Anyway, I think I've received all the encouragement I need. It's true, I'd be crazy not to go!

post #11 of 12

Glad to hear you're going to do it!

 

Here's a couple of things I've found useful when I arrange things myself.

 

1. If you book a car don't book direct witht the rental company. There are lots of agencies who can get you a much better price.

2. Consider the driving option if it's not to far. I love the excitement it engenders. It's not as onerous as it may appear and you can take lots of things you wouldn't otherwise be able to e.g. kids toys. Last Christmas we took all our food for a self catering week in France and saved a fortune. You can bring it from home or buy in a supermarket nearby.

3. Arrange lift passes, ski hire etc. before you go. Many resorts allow you to do this and it saves a lot of trudging around and waiting in queues.

4. Be careful of all the add ons with the no frills airlines. By the time you've added luggage costs (particularly if you take your own skis) what appears to be a cheap flight can really add up.

5. Check out the methods of payment if you book accommodation direct. Hotels are usually ok but apartment owners often don't have any means other than a bank transfer particularly in Switzerland and Austria. This can add cost and inconvenience to the trip.

 

Arranging it all yourself is more effort but it's also fun and if you're careful you can save a lot of money and tailor the holiday to suit your needs rather than fit into someone ele's formula.

 

Good luck!

post #12 of 12

What a great idea. My dad was in the exact same position, except I am one of two teenage daughters. My dad and I are big skiiers, but mom and my sister definitely were not. Mom wanted to spend more family time together, so we went on Christmas break to Nub's Nob for a couple days. Mom and sister got an hour lesson each and stayed on the green and lgiht blue slopes. We had a blast, but we really had to make sure that we didn't blow a ton of money. We minimized the cost by packing lunches and only renting boots for the mother and sister. We borrowed the skis and poles locally. I hope you have fun! :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiingDad View Post

Hi everybody,

I need some opinions on my plans for next winter. We're a family of four, with mixed skiing experience. I'm the dad, I have a lot of experience and I'm aching to go next winter. Last winter, I took our five year old daughter to Soelden and had a blast. So our daughter has enough skills and experience to handle any moderate slope. My wife has never had any lessons and has only skied a few times. Our son is now three and has only stood on skis once last winter.

Am I crazy taking this family to an alp resort like Serfaus next winter? The reason I chose Serfaus is that it seems to be very family-friendly and has a lot of activities for children. I realize that mom and the boy need some lessons before, during and after. But am I just crazy or should I go for it?

 

The thing I realized last winter is that I'm in my mid-thirties and for the rest of my life I don't ever want to spend a winter without a week or two in an alpine resort. So unless I take the whole family, it's going to be a week of quality dad&daughter-time, but I'd prefer to take the entire family. Also, I'm lobbying for my mother to come, as well as my sister with her son.

Language is also an issue in Serfaus, since my kids don't speak German or English, but that's another issue.
 

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