One of the great Aussie traditions (well, for us NSW’ers) is to pack up the car, and drive many many hours south to where the snow sometimes falls and is topped up with great big snow making machines. All so we can slide down some snow covered hills on slippery poles that are attached to our feet. Yes, the ski trip.
My mother claims to be a natural skier, something I guess she assumed she passed on to me. She assumed wrong. My only memory of skiing is when I was around 20, we went to the snow, I attempted to ski. I permanently damaged my shoulder and perfected the art of falling without elegance on a pair of ski’s. Or as I like to call them…”who the fuck thought this was a good idea?”
Fast forward many years and my husband and I decided to take the kidlets to the snow this year. And the whole idea made me extremely nervous! While I consider myself to have almost perfected the art of traveling with three children in tow… where to stay, what to pack, how to pack, what to bring, where to go, what to eat…all that jazz, when it comes to a snow holiday I am completely lost.
I found myself wandering around the house asking my husband for advice on what I should pack for the children, will we be needing jeans? Where do people eat when they’re on a snow holiday? What do people wear to the snow? Do you wear normal clothes and then put snow clothes over the top? At the end of the day he was not very forthcoming with the advice…until we got to the snow when he turned into a snow holiday expert giving out all the advice. So helpful.
So here is my beginners guide to a snow holiday.
All good holiday planning starts with your accommodation. After you’ve chosen a destination of course. A snow holiday is no different. For me, I desperately wanted to stay as close to the snow as possible. We had decided to go to Thredbo so the village was where I wanted to be. And my justification of this was that I had two children who would love the snow, and one 17 month old baby who I know would quickly get over the cold and ice and oversized snow suits. (I was right, once she worked out that the snow was not ice cream…she was done). I wanted the option of being able to take her back to a warm room with a bed (for napping purposes) without it being an inconvenience for everyone else. However, on snow accommodation is very pricey and I unfortunately lost that battle. We stayed in Jindabyne, which was around half an hour or so from Thredbo and it was fine. And for childless people or those with older children (say 3 and over) who love the snow and are going to be skiing all day it is an excellent and less expensive option. However after actually going down there, if I could rewind time, I would push harder for on snow accommodation. Because it would have been so much easier with the baby.
What to pack
OK, so here is where I got so lost and confused. I don’t know what threw me, but it’s as though my brain stopped functioning when it came to packing for the snow.
My first tip – over pack. Don’t play it safe, especially when it comes to the children, because snow is wet and cold, and wet and cold is uncomfortable!
My children wore two long sleeved shirts or a shirt and a jumper, and a pair of tights (thick stockings or footless tights) underneath their snow gear. So to play it safe, times that by two, then times that by days you’ll be on the snow and that’s what you should pack. They’ll need a change of clothes when they’re done skiing. If you’re hotel has dryer access you can go a little less, but don’t assume you can put clothes out to dry for reuse the next day, because there’s a good chance that they won’t.
Socks – so many socks. If I could turn back time I would literally pack every pair of socks that they own. You can’t pack too many socks.
For your ski clothes, most of them you can hire. But you can’t hire goggles or gloves so you’ll need your own. For the children we bought some from Aldi who have a great range of ski clothes (if you’re lucky enough to get in quickly!) and borrowed the rest from friends. For all our ski gear (and when I say we I mean the children, because I didn’t ski!) we hired from Jindabyne. Snow boots are a must. Again we picked up a good pair from Aldi and borrowed the others. For the adults we hired some snow boots, but I’ll definitely be investing in my own for next time. Cute ones, with frills or something.
And don’t forget your winter accessories, scarves beanies and gloves. Pack extra because the motto of the snow is cold and wet. Cold and wet.
What to do
We went to Thredbo, they have a nice little ski run there which was perfect for the children. The first day we spent getting acquainted with the place, we went to the snow play field and made a snow man and went tobogganing. The following day we enrolled the girls in a full day skiing lesson. Thredbo has a full day and half day option and the full day was well worth it. They became excellent littler skiers by the end of the day. I was very impressed. Thredbo also has a daycare option for the little ones who don’t want to ski, to allow the parents some adult snow time. However, our adult time basically involved us hanging out at the bar in the village, eating wedges and drinking warm apple cider. So we just brought the baby with us and she napped in the booth! So good.
Keep an eye out for special offers and deals. Lift passes and accommodation are so expensive so if you can get a good deal, grab it!
When booking your accommodation check if they have a breakfast option. Our hotel had a full hot buffet breakfast included which made things so much easier when it came to getting organised in the mornings.
I’m a little 50/50 on whether to book ski lessons or activities in advance. On the one hand it saves time, but on the other hand the weather is so temperamental. So if it’s looking like a storm is coming, you can make the decision on the day.
When it comes to gear hire, stick to Jindabyne or outside the ski villages. It is crazy the difference in prices. Do some research before you leave to get an idea of where you want to hire from.
When we do big driving trips we like to break it up and do a stop over on the way home. For this trip we stopped over at Canberra which was around 2 hours north on the way home from the snow. I have debated whether to include Canberra in this post, but we had an awesome time there so I think it deserves its own post. I will hyperlink that one once I am done writing it.
That’s about it! I truly enjoyed our trip and learning to ski or snowboard has definitely made it to my bucket list. Can’t wait to go down again!