Tips for family ski and snow holidays from those who have gone before you


Think kids at the snow and think snowmen, hot chocolates, roasted marshmallows, toboggans and grommet skiers ripping up the slopes. A family snow holiday is certainly an active one but it does come with added challenges when managing colder conditions. Like a good scout or girl guide, if you come prepared then chances are you'll go home smiling.

As the mother of four kids aged 10 to 16, Emma Worsley knows all about ski family holidays. The family of five have been annually skiing at Thredbo ski resort in New South Wales for almost a decade and her kids now ski race competitively.

"All of the kids loved skiing from the start," says Worsley. "Lucky for me there was nothing too disastrous, though plenty of not making it to the toilet in time. I would say if you're taking kids skiing for the first time then don't let them overheat, make sure you bring chocolate and lollies to bribe them, make sure they have good gloves and make sure their boots are on the right feet."

Worsley also says it's important to ensure you are in a good mood as skiing with kids for the first time can be super overwhelming for them. "Have your smiley pants on," she says, and be prepared that it may get off to a rocky start.

If your child does have a dummy spit you can always take them to the Thredbo Snow Play Park to introduce them to the concept of "snow play" first. The park is free and you can ride toboggans, build snowmen and experience a safe snow environment. 

When they're ready, they can join a Learn to Ski program with more snow time, a warm lunch and snacks and fun indoor games. Thredbo even has a mini flare run for the kids on Thursday night for all the parents to watch.

"Whatever you do invest in lessons," advises Worsley, from experience. "Let someone who is experienced do the leg work and get the kids feeling confident and able to stop by themselves."

Eight year old Lola Dahle started skiing in Utah aged 19 months. Two years later, she moved back to Australia, and has skied Thredbo every year with her mum Bec Dahle. 


"When she was 4, we were skiing down the Supertrail and she wanted a rest so we stopped at the side and took off our skis," says Dahle. "She was happy to play in the snow between the trees up there, and an hour went by before we realised how long we'd been playing. But we were happily making memories and she still talks about this almost 5 years on! 

"I love hearing things on the chairlift like 'this is the best ski day ever!', or when approaching a black run that she's never tried before 'I'll go first mum, and you wait a bit before you go because when I fall and lose my skis and poles, you won't have to hike back up the hill to get them all for me'. She has no fear and I love that about her." 

Robin Moore and his partner have taken their two boys to Thredbo since before they can remember. The boys, now aged 12 and 13 are the third generation of Thredbo skiers in the family.

"When I learnt to ski I was the youngest skier at Thredbo. I still have the season pass. I used to travel around on my dad's back," says Moore. "My Mum and Dad are in their 70s and they still ski. Over the past few years, my two sons have gone on ski trips with the grandparents. My eldest is also going down to compete in an inter-school ski race. We absolutely love it there.

"In the early days the biggest challenge was making sure they had enough to eat. It is important to be prepared and be organised with everything from healthy snacks to spare socks. Teach them early on how to do things for themselves. It makes it much less of a logistical challenge."

There's a lot to be said for perseverance, and it pays off more when skiing and snowboarding with kids than on many other holidays. The results are lifelong skills that can be taken around the globe and a shared family hobby that can be paid forward down generations. And hot chocolates, always hot chocolates.

This article brought to you by Thredbo. Thredbo is Australia premier snow resort. With award winning kids programs and a family friendly village right at the base of the mountain it has everything a family needs. Check out Thredbo's family snow holiday guide here.