In February we were guests of The Hidden Valley Club in Vernon, NJ and I got to take the girls skiing for the first time ever. We had a great time! The girls were quick to pick it up and I tried not to panic. With a little planning, you too can have an experience like this:
The problem is that The Mister has had more than one surgery on his knee and his shoulder so he was, OUT.
Knowing I would not have The Mister along didn't discourage me. But I knew logistically it's IMPOSSIBLE (and I rarely use that word) to get me and two kids on skis, up a hill, and back down.
Tip #1 have one adult per child
Luckily my brother and his family live only an hour away from the Hidden Valley Club. He was more than happy to join us so we had three adults and 4 kids. My neice is 9 and already solid on skis. Plus, she's a trooper and didn't mind taking the lift alone so that the three adults could each take a little one (the Twofer and my nephew). I knew now that we had enough hands to help, but how about the mountain?
Tip #2 pick a family-friendly mountain
The Hidden Valley Club is perfect for families. It's not a huge mountain but has a good variety of trails and has a great beginner slope. The guys running the beginner lift were quick to help the kids on and pick up the skis that came off in the process. The ski rental process took only about 30 minutes for all of us. And when we took a break for lunch at the lodge we saw this...
Speaking of the lodge...you see how crowded it is in the photos?
Tip #3 bring lunch
Anyone who's ever been skiing knows the lodge at lunch can be scary. And that goes for any lodge, at any mountain on any Saturday where there is snow. First of all, it's difficult to walk around in ski boots. To balance a tray with food while walking in ski boots takes poise, agility, and some ballet lessons for balance.
Plus, learning how to ski makes everyone hungry for lunch at 10:30 am. Better to bring lunch or at least a bag full of healthy and filling snacks to take the edge off.
Besides food, what other items should you bring?
Tip #4 bring a backpack
Knowing I was going to stick to the beginner slope, I decided to ski with a backpack so that I had all the important things ON me throughout the day: wallet, phone, camera, Flip video , chapstick, tissues, Hothands , extra gloves, and bottles of water.
Tip #5 Don't forget
Don't forget to pack extra gloves and socks because a cold and wet kid makes for a whiney ride home.
Don't forget to ask if the mountain has ski helmets for rent. Some only have a limited number but after El had another little kid crashed into her (it's always the other crazies on the mountain) and she banged her head, I'll never take them skiing without a helmet.
Don't forget to have reasonable expectations. After waiting in line and working up a sweat to get all the equipment...kids might already be tired. Slip them a snack (chocolate works for us) and get them out on the snow. Remember there is always the chance they could HATE skiing...try and be patient, keep it at their level, and I bet they'll love it.