Here in Malta we are blessed with all year sunshine and clear blue seas (except for the last couple of weeks), yet some of us crave crisp mountain air and the sound of fresh snow as skis carve a neat line on winding pistes.
That would be my husband.
I, on the other hand, have a fear of heights that’s getting worse as I get older and an equal disdain for not feeling my toes regardless of how expensive the thermal socks happen to be.
Yet – and on this we agree – nothing beats the pure peace and silence as the cable car or ski lift lets you off on what feels like the top of the world. And it’s this which led us towards a week-long ski trip with a six-month old.
So is it Yay or Nay?
A ski trip with a baby is unlike any other holiday and many people may feel wary about hitting the pistes with a little one, however if you are considering going for it, it can be a YAY with the following tips:
Research the best way to get to your destination
Travelling with a baby is very different to the travelling you might be used to. Try to avoid connecting flights as they’re an added hassle. Since ski resorts that are close to airports are not much of a reality, it’s wise to rent a car to reach the destination at your own pace and in comfort. Otherwise, identify a taxi service with a pre-agreed rate. Having your own car does make it easier to travel around should you decide to break the ski holiday with a town or city visit. More on that below.
Yes, winter clothes occupy a whole lot more luggage space. Vacuum storage bags are a lifesaver when it comes to packing ski suits and thermal underwear. You’ll also need sunglasses for you and – more importantly – for your baby. The glare of the sun as it reflects off the snow is very strong and may harm your little one’s eyes. Avoid the cheap fashionable ones – wrong lenses can be harmful. Pack plenty of hats and sun-cream too.
Layer up baby in thin but warm clothing. Avoid woolen items close to skin as it’s very warm indoors but atrociously cold outside. The sweat from the warmth will end up ice cold once you’re outdoors. Invest in a ski suit; if you’re buying one online be very careful about sizing. A small ski suit is uncomfortable but so is one that your baby gets lost in.
It takes a village
Travel in a group if possible, especially if you wish to also ski as a couple. Needless to say, you can’t ski whilst baby-wearing; having someone you trust and who is accustomed to your baby’s needs can give you some precious couple-time on the pistes. If you’re taking turns skiing, the person killing time in lunch rooms and coffee stops will find the company a God-send. Which brings us to:
Spending days in cozy lunch rooms isn’t possible
Lunch rooms and cosy cafes don’t appreciate guests spending hours occupying tables. Expect glares if you intend to finish a novel with the chips you ordered whilst baby sleeps. It’s order, be served, eat, and straight-out-the-door service.
Child-friendly resort or lodge
Who wouldn’t love an indoor heated pool with killer views over the mountains? You can take turns exploring the resort whilst the other skiis. A hotel children’s club or a baby minding service is great if you wish to explore the surroundings together.
Proper travelling system
Were you thinking of packing the lightweight pushchair with the tiny wheels? Well, you can, but you might very well end up carrying the stroller and the baby. Large wheels are a must, and so are foot-muffs and a good waterproof canopy. Plastic? Not so much. The difference in temperature would be too much when you do pick up your child. Baby wearing can also be a life saver for exploring the little villages. Simply ensure that the baby is warm enough, and that you’re well aware of how treacherous black ice is. Proper snow boots come in handy here.
High Altitudes aren’t always safe
Not all altitudes are safe, especially if your baby is still under 3 months. Whilst most cable car operators will let you know if it’s safe or not to go higher up the mountain, it’s best to speak to your pediatrician prior to the trip to check what’s safe for your baby.
Hydration is super important when up in the mountains. The air is much more dry, especially when indoors. It’s common for babies to end up with a blocked nose; offering water often is important. It’s also wise to leave a glass of water in your room to help humidify it.
Add a city-trip
Breaking the ski holiday with a city trip midweek ensures that you get some un-distracted family time, especially if you’re taking turns skiing. It’s also a good break from the cold mountain air, and sweet relief for your aching joints.
We had a great time, and the memories made are definitely keepers. Skiing is a great sport and the landscapes that come with it are amazing. Nothing beats the fresh mountain air; it makes a great place for re-energizing before hitting daily routine once again. Enjoy!
About the author:
Daniela Grech Sultana is an introvert, book-lover, writer and – most notably – a mother to a very energetic two year old who loves dancing, princesses, and all things pink. A researcher from childhood, she spends her days writing about maternal health, pregnancy, and childbirth. Writing saves her sanity, so she’s been doing a lot of it lately. Read more from Daniela at www.faeryode.com.