Holidays in the mountains are best prepared well in advance, especially when you have children. Pack your bags well and book your accommodation and services in advance in order to avoid unexpected surprises.
Packing the children's bags
- Clothes : go for lots of layers !
Synthetic t shirt, fleece and waterproof anorak for the top and tights or leggings, trousers and waterproof trousers with braces for the bottom.
- Don't forget mittens or gloves, a hat and a scarf. For babies, a cosy all-in-one is the best protection against the cold.
- Shoes: Cosy waterproof snow boots.
- Sun glasses : It is important to have good quality glasses with a recognised UV filter. Googles are the best option for skiing
- Sun cream : The stronger the filter the better, even total protection if you can.
- Medical records : the vaccination record will be needed for entrance to the child care centre.
A few suggestions, depending on your prefered activity.
|Waterproof ski jacket|
|Fleeces and warm jumpers|
|Wolly hat and scarf|
|UVA/UVB total protection sun cream and after sun|
|Other holiday equipment|
Camera with charger
|small ruck sack|
|ID photos for the ski pass and Ski School lessons|
Games and books etc...
Don't forget + : Take advantage of drying rooms in the residences and hotels to dry your boots and ski suits.
Take the time to check...
- that the whole family is insured. If required you can take out insurance direct from the ski lift ticket offices, this covers search and rescue costs, initial transport costs, medical and repatriement costs and the reimbursement of ski passes in case of bad weather.
- that the ski school and child care has been booked well in advance.
Check out the resort map before arrival to find;
Accommodation, child care, ski school, slopes, shops and services.
Winter sports with a baby
Be careful in the cold
Babies are more sensitive to the cold than adults because they move less than adults and their interior thermostat hasn't yet matured. Protect your baby with warm snow proof clothing without forgetting the extremities, head, hands and feet.
Don't forget sun cream and sun protection for lips to combat cracks and rashes.
Due to the dryness of the air and the cold, your baby will need to eat and drink more.
Don't overheat the apartment : 19°C is enough ! Humidify the air by placing a bowl of water beside the radiator.
In the case of hypothermia, the baby's skin remains coloured. If your baby loses appetite and his/her temperature is under 36 °C, consult a doctor as your baby may be ill.
Babies and altitude
Never go over :
- 1200 m with a baby under 1 ;
- 1800 m with a baby under 18 months.
La Clusaz has an altitude that suits babies, any higher and babies could suffer from the low air pressure and lack of oxygen.
Check with your doctor before leaving to rule out any condition that might put your child at risk because of the altittude and bring his/her medical records in your bag.
The mountain air has a tendancy to over-excite children. Be prepared for some restless first nights.
- A train journey is less tiring than a car journey ;
- If you arrive by car remember to stop several times on the way up and on the way down to help your child get used to the changing altitude
- Avoid cable cars and chair lifts. The change in altitiude will be too abrupt
- Make your booking in March and April towards the end of the season to take advantage of the slightly higher temperatures.
Avoid the sun with your baby. If your baby is exposed to the sun, don't forget to apply high factor sun protection and lip balm every 2 hours, or even more often should your child fall in the snow.
Be careful in the sun
Don't forget about babies eyes, protect them with good quality CE certified sun glasses with a category 3 or 4 protection.
Out and about with baby in the snow
When it's very cold, don't use a baby carrier, the baby could have their legs slightly squashed and could get cold. Prams are better with a warm cover and hood to protect from the wind.
Don't go out with baby in freezing fog.
Organise your outings with the cold in mind : it is better to take baby out between 11am and 3pm at the warmer times of the day, and preferably for no longer than an hour.
Change your baby into dry clothing once back home, you will need to take lots of changes as one night is rarely enough to get everything dry.
Child care in a winter sports resort
There is a choice of child care solutions :creches, nurseries and babysitters...
From 3, your child can spend time in the kids' snow garden and start their first ski lessons.
What about skiing in all that..?
- Never ski or cross country ski with your baby on your back or front, you could severely hurt your baby should you fall and your baby is likely to get cold;
- Children must wear a helmet while skiing, especially when they are very young as they have no idea of danger;
- Never leave your child to ski alone;
- Do not force your child to ski if they don't want to.