As the mother of two children, I have decided to share my experience of taking your child to ski school or on the slopes. SERIOUSLY in Val Thorens! Especially when your child is still small (3-5 years old).
And yes, the journey from your home to the ski school meeting point can sometimes turn into a real family meltdown, making us all wish we'd never taken our little ones skiing!
So how do you turn this tricky journey into a fun one?
For more information:
- Don't hesitate to call the destination experts at the Tourist Office on 04 79 00 08 08 ;
- Ask at the reception of your residence, hotel or agency;
- Or call the secretariat of the ski school where you have booked your lessons.
When I travel, I always ask local people for information or good tips. Never forget that the person who lives and/or works there will usually be able to give you good advice.
The experience of 'locals' is invaluable! On many occasions it's made it easier for me to get to grips with places I'd never been to before, so I can feel more at ease and discover the destination in a different way.
Knowing where you're going:
Check the distance between your accommodation and the meeting point for the ski lesson, and get a head start, especially on the first day.
Here is a map showing the meeting points for the various ski schools in Val Thorens:
How to get there ...
- Skiing :
Val Thorens is the ski resort par excellence. Why not ski straight there? Don't forget to warm up! I really recommend it if your children can ski on their own or if you put them between your legs... But be careful, you need to be a good skier, as this exercise can quickly prove tricky if you don't master your spatulas 😉
Check that the route is direct along the slopes. If your child is a beginner and you are too, I wouldn't recommend this option!
Avoid carrying your child in your arms, as a fall can be dramatic. Skiing with weight in your arms changes the point of gravity and the wrong edge can be fatal.
- By bus :
And yes, Val Thorens does offer a free shuttle service! Find the bus stop closest to your accommodation (when you go to pick up your fondue the evening before, for example) and the bus route (for information, it takes 20 minutes from the top to the bottom of the resort). The bus makes two loops, the first from Place des Arolles towards the top of the station, passing through the centre, Place Péclet, Rue de la boucle, Quartier des Balcons, then back to Place des Arolles, and the second loop at the bottom.
Between 8.30 and 8.45 in the morning, the shuttle bus can be overcrowded, so it's all the more reason to plan ahead and make sure you don't forget anything.
- On foot :
If you have less than 5-10 minutes to walk, that's perfect, but... just one word of advice: don't make your child walk in ski boots.
Take a bag with your child's ski boots in it and put them on when you get to the meeting point. Frankly, given the size of our children's legs, it's a bit like having two twigs with two anvils at the end! Have you ever seen a prima ballerina do her ballet in ski pumps? Your children will arrive at ski class with sore thighs.
Here's a little tip: the back ski carrier! It's not very expensive and frees up your hands and those of your children! Between €10 and €30 depending on the degree of technicality. Homemade Made in Val Thorens! I haven't tried it out yet, but I promise I'll get round to it!
My favourite solution when there's fresh snow on the streets (especially with a young child). The sled must be big enough to accommodate your child and his equipment (and yes, hello to those who prefer the least effort)! I take my son to nursery as soon as I can this way, and he loves watching the ducks, niverolles and other local birds! It's a real treat for everyone.
Please note that the aim is not to have a sledging contest on the road. Please take care when travelling.
My ski list :
- Headphones ;
- Thin hat to put under the helmet;
- Mask (I prefer the mask to the glasses because it fits perfectly with a helmet) put it on top of the helmet and not underneath (seen again this morning);
- Choker ;
- Gloves with elastics to put on your child's wrists to prevent accidental loss (or else the good old cord);
- Ski socks ;
- Heaters if your child gets cold quickly and depending on the temperature outside;
- A small snack that's quick and easy to swallow;
- Pack of tissues ;
- Sun cream ;
- Go to the toilet before you leave! Because we're not at the beach and by the time you have to take everything off and put it back on again... the bus has already left!
One last piece of advice: if you're not a morning person, skip the MORNING classes. They're stressful and you lose out on the benefits of a holiday in the mountains, always being late and putting yourself under pressure for nothing.
. What's more, it's often less cold in the afternoon.
Now you know everything, you'll never have to say to your child "stop crying, we'll be late for ski class".