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Tips for a family trip to the snow

Winter is here, and what better way to enjoy the season than a family trip to the snow, which can be as simple as sliding down the slopes on plastic garbage bags or as extravagant as resorts and skiing schools for the children. Whatever you choose, a holiday to the snow is one that is usually enjoyed just as much by the parents as the children.

Ski School
Much more fun than real school, ski school will teach children how to ski or snowboard and give you some time out to hit the big slopes (or just the spa!). The instructors will put your children in classes according to age and skill and they will be given all the safety equipment, such as helmets for first timers. Classes can run for a few hours on one single day, but it is probably better to keep the consistency and momentum going and have the children booked in for at least two to three days.

Know the rules
Children should be aware that they need to look out for other skiers, ski on a slope that is within their ability, not wander off into the snow and how to get on and off the ski lifts safely. As always, children should be supervised by an adult at all times. It is wise to have a meeting point so if you lose someone or get separated or you and your partner take different children on different slopes, you can all meet back in the one spot easily – there is no guarantee that you will have mobile coverage, battery life or that you will hear your phone.

What to wear
The weather on the slopes can change very quickly and varies from skiing in the height of winter, to the end of the season in spring. Make sure you and the children are layered up including thermal underwear. Wool is a good choice for keeping warm and dry, as is fleece and in spring, you may even be able to ski with a t-shirt under your suit, especially if you find you’re always on the go.

Ensure the outer layers are waterproof. Sunglasses and goggles are important in the snow to avoid glare damage to the eyes. Most important are items such as gloves/mittens, and thick woolly socks. Warm hats or thick head bands are a must and consider using a helmet for your children if they are skiing or snowboarding. The weather may be cold but the sun can be very damaging, so keep applying the sunscreen and lip balm even if it is overcast or a blizzard – you can still get burnt from all angles!

What to eat
A hot chocolate at the end of a session out in the snow is a fabulous treat and energy booster, but low GI snacks are best on the slopes to maintain energy over a longer period, including apples, dried apricots, chopped celery and cucumber, and wholegrain breads and crackers. Don’t forget to keep a good supply of water with you.

Building a snowman
A trip to the snow is not complete until you have built the perfect snowman! Firstly, you will need a decent covering of snow, at least a few inches on the ground. Don’t forget the gloves or mittens.

1    Packing snow is best, the type of snow that clumps together easily and isn’t too wet.
2   Shape a small handful into a ball and keep adding more snow until you can’t hold onto it any longer.
3   Put the ball down in front of you and slowly start rolling it away from you. As more snow sticks to the outside of your ball, pack it together by pressing on it with your hands.
4   Continue rolling and pressing down more snow on the ball until it is the size you want. This will be your snowman’s bottom section.
5   Repeat this for your snowman’s middle section and his head. The snowman should be getting smaller in size as you go up. Don’t worry if your snowman isn’t perfectly round, no two snowman are every the same and this makes it more special!
6   Pack some extra snow between the layers to make them stick together. If your snowman is a bit wobbly, place some sticks down the centre where the sections meet to help it stand upright.
7   Now your snowman needs a face, which is the fun part! Use round rocks, buttons or anything dark and round for its eyes. A stick or twig will make for a good mouth, or some thick wool. A carrot is a traditional choice for a pointy nose but you could also try a banana or even a ball to give it a rounder look.
8   To keep your snowman snug, give him a nice woolly beanie. And for accessories, use sticks for arms with mittens on the ends, boots at the bottom for his feet and a scarf around his neck. You can get as creative as you want and really dress your snowman for some silly fun. But remember everything you put on him will get wet from the snow!
•         You could spray coloured water on your snowman for rosy cheeks
•         If you are having trouble with the snow, try three buckets of different sizes turned upside down, with the largest at the bottom and pack with snow
•         Explain to the children that the snowman will melt so they don’t get too upset when he starts falling apart. Keeping this in mind, take lots of pictures of your creation whilst he is looking his best!
•         A snow lady is also a nice idea, and lots of fun to dress up!

About the author
My Travel Angel Website wrote this article

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  A quick tip - when putting your pre-teen or little kids in lessons, make sure that if you ski, they learn to ski. If you board, that they learn to board. This means you can ski with them and help them to learn and also that you can ski together as a family.

Of course teenagers won't want to ski with you or take your advice!
Posted on Jul 06 2007 at 06:15

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