When going on a ski holiday with your baby, you need to check that your child is old enough to go before you book. Talk to our airline or tour operator about their specific policy about travelling with babies. While there's no minimum legal age for babies to travel, airlines and holiday companies all have different booking policies. In general, most airlines ask that babies are at least two weeks old when travelling.
First ski holiday with your baby
Going on a ski holiday with your baby may sound like a daunting prospect, but it's a fantastic experience for you all and much easier than you think. Read our exclusive guide to baby-friendly ski holidays and you and your little one will be enjoying the slopes in no time.
If you’re worried that the temperatures in January or February may be too cold for your little one then look at dates in March or even April. The weather will be warmer and, as long as you avoid the half-term holidays, the slopes and resorts will be less packed. That time of year is also great for taking walks with your baby – as long as you have a comfortable way of carrying them as some alpine walks aren’t buggy-friendly.
When thinking about best places to go on holiday with a baby or toddler, Europe is an obvious choice. It’s relatively close to home so the flight won’t be too long, and the winters are less cold than in other countries with good reputations for skiing, such as Canada. So look at established European ski resorts such as Grand Massif Samoens, Les Arcs or Valmorel, all of which are famous for their fantastic locations and family-friendly atmosphere.
A good hotel will be able to provide a cot for your room, as well as highchairs in the restaurant, baby food, microwaves and hot water to heat up baby food and milk, as well as baby changing rooms and trained staff that can look after your child while you’re out on the slopes or babysit in the evening. Some holiday companies such as Club Med also offer a Baby Welcome service, providing everything you and your baby need for a relaxing stay, along with a Baby Corner in the restaurant, providing sweet and savoury baby foods and all the equipment necessary for preparing your baby’s meals. Make sure that you inform your resort that you have a baby when you book your holiday and everything should be ready and waiting when you get there.
Good hotels and resorts will have a dedicated baby club, which should be staffed by trained childcare experts. These experts will look after your baby, offering stimulating activities with toys and equipment that build fine motor skills and provide a great sense of fun. Since they will be with other babies, these clubs also develop a baby’s social skills and ability to play with other children. Some resorts also provide babysitting services so you can have a bit of me time during your holiday.
It’s likely you’ll already be aware of the large amount of equipment you need to take wherever you go, so you can imagine that going on a ski holiday with a baby requires a lot of stuff. Luckily, most airlines and holiday companies understand this and will allow you to take a buggy and car seat onto the plane for free, while some will give your baby their own baggage allowance of 5-10kg, even if they don’t have their own seat. Check with your holiday company what you can take before you head off to the airport. So clothes, nappies, milk, food, wet wipes, teething ring, dummies (if your baby uses them), toys, blanket, spare clothes for you both – take more than you think you need so you won’t have to worry during your trip.
How old does my child need to be before they can ski?
While some ski-mad parents introduce their children to the slopes at 18 months, most resorts and ski schools will insist that your child is at least three years old before they teach them the basics. At Club Med, the first lessons will take placed on the appropriately named nursery slopes before they move on to downhill skiing when they are four. As soon as they turn eight they can learn to snowboard, and before you know it they’ll be whizzing past you on the black runs.
When out and about, your baby should wear a high quality all-in-one baby suit, ideally with a long zip to make it easier to get in and out of – you’ll thank us after the tenth nappy change. Also look for a suit with fold-over hands and feet, which are much simpler to use and less likely to be lost than tiny pairs of gloves and bootees. A warm hat and helmet (if skiing) are also essentials, as are a good pair of baby sunglasses to prevent any damage from the bright sun and reflective snow.
When taking your baby out for a stroll, remember that the sunshine and cold air can damage their skin and eyes, so make sure they have sun cream on any exposed skin, sunglasses and keep them covered with a blanket. Also make sure they stay hydrated as the mountain air can be very dry, which can lead to colds or dehydration. If your bedroom is warm, put a glass of water near the radiator to keep it humidified.