When it comes to a family ski vacation, nothing beats New Zealand. In winter, the South Island is home to a variety of snow covered mountain ranges, perfect for adventurous families. If you are worried about the logistics of taking the littlies along or wondering about how to plan a ski vacation that everyone will love, read on.
Pack right for the kids
There is one thing I can guarantee: if your kids are cold they will be miserable. It is important to make sure you have all the right gear, but it can also be expensive. The best way to get around this is to hire gear before you go and have it ready to pick up on arrival at the other end. From snowsuits to ski pants, jackets to wrist guards, you can save considerable money by booking ahead. Be aware that goggles and gloves usually can’t be rented out because of hygiene regulations. So you can either purchase them before you leave (and keep them for future trips) or buy them en route to the slopes.
It’s no surprise that the biggest stress on a family ski vacation is generally how to get there. The good news is that there are now several direct flights from major Australian capital cities that can take the hassle out of air travel. Consider flying directly into Christchurch or Queenstown – depending on where your ski destination is – to save yourself the stress of taking the kids on several flights and cut down the possibility of delays.
Pick a nearby slope
When you are picking the slope you would like to visit, opt for one that is close to the airport to further reduce travel times. Two great choices are The Remarkables, which is just 25km from Queenstown, and Cardrona, which is a little further away at roughly 58km from Queenstown. Of the two, Cardrona has the reputation of being the most geared towards families, offering everything from a creche for babies to special ski areas for kids aged 3–5 years and 5–12 years. The Remarkables is much loved for its sheltered slopes, children-only tow and brilliant ‘kids under 10 years ski free’ policy.
Splurge on private lessons
If your children are new to skiing, the quickest way to see them gain confidence on the slopes is booking them in for some private lessons. These lessons can be specifically tailored to your child’s needs, ensuring their confidence is built up and that they can make the most of their time at the snow.
Think of non-ski days
When deciding on which resort you would like to visit, consider those that are close to activities off the slope, for a day away from the runs. Some of the best outdoor activities include hiking and adventure sports around Queenstown or visiting the fun Antarctic Centre outside of Christchurch.