Having skiing kids guarantees that they still want to come to on holiday with you as teenagers, and also means you continue to spend at least some active, healthy time with them when most of the time they want to lie around doing whatever it is they do on instagram/Snapchat/Wattpad etc etc.
I’m not a massive fan of ESF but it has its place. Smaller ski schools such as NewGen in Serre Chevalier have been much more effective. From times when they were little and taught them how to do keepy uppy and jump off picnic tables to the recent teen freeride courses that’s had them hucking off edges to climbing up rocks – they have provided a huge range of fun and inspiration- variety being the spice of their engagement.
For very young kids there’s a great range of free and cheap solutions. We found the free pomas and drag tows at Monetier invaluable. They are close enough to the loos to run when potty training, and to make frequent chips and hot chocolate stops. Cos it’s essential to dip chips in hot chocolate!! And they can get that afternoon nap in the back of the car when they melt down.
Small resorts like Le Chazelet and Villar D’Arene provide amazing value. They are small enough to let them whizz around a bit on their own, with their mates and cousins. This gives a feeling of play rather than ‘learning’. They end up doing things like building jumps, skiing on one ski, get into a heap in the off piste and generally arsing about which is what kids need to do.
And as they got older, if a child is not into racing, it’s been interesting to find a wide range of things to continue to learn and gain experience. At Serre Chevalier we can access a wide range off off piste, and un pisted runs which give alternative fun to the inevitable desire to jump off things in the park. learning to cross country ski has also proved surprisingly popular- exploring the quieter and more rural places has been a fantastic experience and I’m sure will eventually lead to the idea of ski touring.
The hours spent with them as babies learning snow ploughs seemed like a hard option at the time, compared with the easy option of shoving them in ESF and going off skiing. I’m not saying we didn’t do that sometimes – you need to still adult ski, but I’m positive that the variety of experiences has lead to a much deeper love of skiing and all round mountain skills.