Our Christmas holidays in the mountains with the kids and our dog! Courmayeur, Aosta.

The boys waiting for the funicular of Val Veny to take us back to Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

Our Christmas holidays in the mountains with the kids and our dog! Courmayeur, Aosta.

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

So now that we are happy homeowners of a lovely flat in the mountains, we’ll be there on every possible occasion. To do it cheap and more environmentally friendly, we drive with a full car going through the Eurotunnel and sleeping over in Chaumont on our way up, staying at the Ibis Chaumont Centre Gare, and in Reims coming back.

And as leaving your dog in care in the UK is super expensive, more in Christmas, we decided to take him with us and try our ski holiday with a dog! We have already travelled with him when we went to equip the flat in October, and I’ve realised, that if Ozzy had his sleeping crate, he is fine. That is his safe place. So, I’ve ordered one in Amazon to be delivered in Italy. That made the trick.

We arrived in Morgex with some foul weather. Still so pretty that we went out every day! Our Christmas holidays in the mountains with the kids and our dog! Courmayeur, Aosta.
We arrived in Morgex with some foul weather. Still so pretty that we went out every day! Our Christmas holidays in the mountains with the kids and our dog! Courmayeur, Aosta.

When we go and stay over in a hotel, there is no way that Ozzy will stay happy at a hotel room, even with his best filled bone. He starts crying first and the noise turns into a bark- therefore that is not an option! We have learnt to go to eat in two halves. Usually my husband and my eldest take Ozzy for a walk and I have a quick dinner with my youngest, and then we go to the room and stay with Ozzy while they have dinner. Same in the morning for breakfast. It is not ideal, but that seems to work fine for us.

The trip to the mountains is always amazing. I was expecting it to be much busier, as we’ve left the day after school broke up, on 21st December. I was glad to see that the route was pretty empty, even if France was having transport strikes at the time.

We arrived in our home in Morgex, just 10’ down the road from Courmayeur, in the Aosta Valley, with good light and with time to bring all the goodies we were bringing to the flat to finish decorating it. As the car was really full, we will need to bring more boxes in our next February trip.

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7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing

My youngest wearing his ski harness before going skiing in Madonna di Campiglio. 7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing.

7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

I have been sorting our ski gear today, measuring my kids pants and seeing if their ski boots where still ok for their feet, and doing some adjustments on them. This is the third season on the same boots and I just have to change the settings on the boots of my youngest to the third position, whereas my eldest still is in the same setting. I am thinking that he has been skiing with big boots for some seasons now! They seem to be ok, and he still have four settings to change in his Roces boots…. Here is a post of the Roces boots if you want to read more on them.

But while looking at my boxes where I put away all our ski gear and clothing, I’ve found some things that I really used over the years.

Here is a list of them and how they can be of use for you on this coming season.

The Roces ski boots of my kids just needed a bit of setting adjustment and now we are ready for a new ski season. Ozzy was overlooking the grand tasks! 7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing.
The Roces ski boots of my kids just needed a bit of setting adjustment and now we are ready for a new ski season. Ozzy was overlooking the grand tasks! 7 things that can help you when taking kids skiing.
  • Walkie Talkies- A good pair of walkie talkies stuffed inside a sock and guarded into an interior pocket of your jacket is great for communicating with kids. You need to keep the walkie talkies warm, because the battery can die quickly when it is cold. They are great to communicate with your kids, or from kid to kid when they are having some time off, maybe not the best if skiing down at speed I would say- same restrictions should apply as those for driving and using a mobile phone- basically, don’t use them while skiing!

Motorola T41 Walkie Talkie Consumer Radio – Blue (Pack of 2)

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So, you want to take your family skiing, but you do not know where to start?

The kids at Maison Vielle- enjoying the day in the sun. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. So, you want to take your family skiing, but you do not know where to start?

So, you want to take your family skiing, but you do not know where to start?

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

The summer holidays are finished, kids starting school again, and you got the holiday blues. The best thing to do to combat this feeling is getting ready for your next holiday.

I don’t know if you are like me, but I always need to have a holiday to look forward to. How about if you want to initiate your family into skiing but have never done so? And what happens if yourself are not that experienced at it? You might have gone when young with your school but did not think any more of it.

And maybe the mountains caught your attention, but you did not have the money when young and the world was a big place to discover and were not thinking in this kind of holiday.

The boys waiting for their ski race- Photo: Patrick Hinchy. So, you want to take your family skiing, but you do not know where to start?
The boys waiting for their ski race- Photo: Patrick Hinchy. So, you want to take your family skiing, but you do not know where to start?

Now you are tied down with kids, and holidays are completely different. But you’ve heard of friends going skiing already, and of how much fun they had, and how good it is for your kids to start the sport when they are young, as they are not afraid about falling.

You could maybe master a couple of blue or red slopes, but you are not an expert, or, you have never skied.

The problem with skiing, is that it seems daunting: with the travelling, lodging, transfers to the mountains if not lodged ski in – ski out; the equipment, the weight of it all, the clothing you need, the ski or snowboard school for getting all started….you are tired of it before you even begin organising yourself!

But do not despair – I know that all seems awful before starting, but if you like to master tasks and break them into little bits and bops to tackle one at a time, you can definitely be organising the first of an annual holiday that you’ll cherish for ever. Or, if you could not be bothered with the fuss, but still want to introduce your family to a holiday in the snow, then you can always contact a tour operator or travel concierge!

The big picture

Just imagine the rewards, paradisiac landscapes in pristine snow and blue skies, or snow tip-tapping in your face, the silence you can feel when it is snowing, cuddling up under a fluffy blanket by the fire with a nice cup of hot chocolate or wine, the interminable strings of stories of hilarious things that happen to you when you are in the mountain which are great to share with friends. All these things make these kinds of holidays really worth it. For me, it is the holidays I like the best, I think all year of them, I crave my time in the mountains like crazy when I am in the lowlands.

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The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

My youngest son at Maison Vielle- with the majestic Mont Blanc behind. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

Our Family Half Term ski holiday is always decided one year in advance. Pretty much we always go to the Aosta Valley, as my youngest boy does not want to change location. I see it with my family, and I’ve seen it with many people over the years (even with myself when I’ve started skiing while much younger!)

You go to one resort, you get familiarised with it, and you don’t want to change! All is easy, and just changing to another resort, makes it too challenging. I see it as using an old pair of jeans, that you don’t want to change for something else!

So, we were set to leave the Friday before the half term- as my husband is the sole driver (for me it was too difficult changing sides of the road when I’ve moved from Argentina to the UK, that I daren’t do it again!)

Getting up early pays off - usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.
Getting up early pays off – usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

Our car has been acting funny since September, when the Turbo went off. Then it started revving between 2nd and 3rd gears and we’ve took it twice to the mechanics. The first time we were said it was solved, but it was not, and I’ve took the car back in the garage two weeks before leaving. I did not have the car until the Wednesday of the week we were leaving – we were leaving at 4 AM on the Friday of that week and I was already very nervous about it and seeing if we could rent a car in the UK to cross to the continent.

Apparently, you can do so with Hertz and Avis, but obviously these cars do not bring roof rack, nor winter tyres or chains. So, I was budgeting all that just in case. My husband was saying that if we did not have our car back, we were staying and cancelling the trip, and my kids and me were completely distraught at the thought of it.

The car came out off the garage so then we were going to be ready to go. The night after taking our dog to some friends to look after him, my husband told me that the revving was still there, but that I should not worry. He was sure that this was not going to be anything.

Off we went with our skis, helmets, ski boots, all the paraphernalia you take when you go skiing. We set out in good time and at the Eurotunnel we were given a crossing one hour earlier, so we had time only to go to the bathroom and pick up some coffee and croissants to eat in the car.

We had a very good driving. Last year there was snow from home all the way to Folkestone and from Calais all the way to Italy. This time all the roads were clean, and the weather was beautiful, pretty warm too. This was not the best snow year for the Alps – (Austria and Eastern Switzerland got lots of snow, as well as other Eastern European countries like Romania), but for France, Italy and Western Switzerland the snow was ok, but just.

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Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.

Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value. Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs.

Shred-Dog a brand for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value for their Parents.

As a parent of growing kids that loves to go skiing and exposing them since little, one thing you recognise is that they grow out of their clothes too quickly. If you do not buy clothing a bit large, you will need to purchase another kit the following ski trip!

So, when I was contacted by the people of Shred-Dog I’ve thought that this was something interesting. As they are a direct-to-consumer brand from Colorado, Shred-Dog focuses exclusively on Kids’ Gear – offering a mix of performance, technical features and great value.

As a winter sports lover, I know that if you kit your kid with average winter clothing, they might be cold and cry a lot when you are outdoors and ruin the day for everyone. I do believe in having good kit for them, but the renown technical brands are too expensive for a growing kid.

This reminds me in how you can buy intelligently ski boots for your kids and have them for some years with Roces Ski Boots.  (Roces Ski Boots expand with your kids’ feet! – another brilliant idea!)

So Shred Dog launched its first collection of high-performance winter apparel for boys and girls from three to fourteen years old.

Marc Dietz with his son Ryker with the Flatirons near Boulder. Courtesy of Shred-Dog. Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.
Marc Dietz with his son Ryker with the Flatirons near Boulder. Courtesy of Shred-Dog. Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.

What’s Different about SHRED DOG™?

Premium Features: SHRED DOG products include premium features typically found only on adult gear, including higher waterproof/breathability ratings, full seam-taping, thigh and underarm vents, 3M™ Thinsulate™ body-mapped insulation, and more.

Adjust-a-Fit System™: The company has also introduced an industry-first innovation called its Adjust-a-Fit™ system. Unlike one-way adjustments on the market that require ripping a seam, SHRED DOG jacket sleeves and pant legs can extend to grow with the child but also retract for hand-me-downs to a younger sibling or simply customizing the fit.

Dallas Moore enjoying the outdoors - Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs
Dallas Moore enjoying the outdoors – Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs

Direct-to-Consumer Pricing – SHRED DOG’s model of selling directly to the consumer enables the company to finally deliver the perfect balance of elite performance, kid-centric features, and a lower price previously not available in the outdoor apparel market for kids.

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Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden.

Innerötztal - Sölden with Obergurgl / Hochgurgl / Vent and Sölden. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Planning your ski holiday later in the season? The best you can do is to think in high-altitude resorts to be sure of having snow. This year Easter is falling late, so this is even more important to think where to go.

Top of the Mountain Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL
Top of the Mountain Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Here I want to focus on two resorts in the Ötztal Valley: Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden:

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. The “Diamond of the Alps” –

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, high up in the Ötztal Valley in the Tirol, is a snow-sure resort. With a vertical drop from 1800 to 3080 metres above sea level, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is one of the first resorts in Austria to open the season in mid-November, offering 25 mountain lifts and 112 immaculate km of slopes for skiing, snowboarding and free-riding. The resort closes by the end of April.

For a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids of up to 10 years old), for the week of April 7-14 you can ski for EUR 5,422.00 and you get:

7 nights including half board

6 days Ötztal Superskipass

6 days ski rental (ski, boots, poles)

free shuttle bus within the ski areas e.g. Sölden & Obergurgl-Hochgurgl

6 days group ski lessons incl. lunch and child care over the lunch hour (for the two kids)

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. The Diamond of the Alps

Hotel Alpennausicht in Obergurgl ****. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL
Hotel Alpennausicht in Obergurgl ****. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Hotel Alpenaussicht****

1x double, Zirmkogel“ Typ F 50 m²

total costs Euro 5,422.00

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Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family.

It's well known already that kids up to ten years of age do not pay for a skipass in Stubai! Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier-Tirol Werbung.

Stubaital is an area that suits the entire family well. The area has received many awards as the Alps’ most family-friendly skiing region.

The mascots of the BIG Family Stubaital welcome young visitors in winter. The resorts itself cater well to families and offer free rides for children under the age of ten when accompanied by a paying parent, as well as many very good ski schools. All ski instructors know how to engage the little ones in your family, making the adults have a care-free holidays knowing they are well catered for.

At the Skicamp on the Stubai Glacier Kids learn skiing under the best circumstances.Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier - Tirol Werbung.
At the Skicamp on the Stubai Glacier Kids learn skiing under the best circumstances.Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier – Tirol Werbung.

At the Stubai Glacier, Austria’s largest glacier ski area, the mascots B.BIG and Mini B. welcome their protégés to the BIG Family Children’s and Youth Ski Camp, where children from age four can learn how to ski in the Mini- and the Kinderland areas. Even during lunch, kids are well looked after in the Kingdom of Snow. In addition to the colourful BIG Family Kinderland, the BIG Family Kindergarten and the spacious BIG Family Children’s Restaurant are also part of the glacier’s family offer. The weekly snow cat rides and the exciting ice rally through the ice grotto, a fascinating tour directly in the eternal ice, will make your kids’ eyes sparkle. Blue ice, mysterious holes and fascinating layers – 30 metres below the ski slope the mountain looks weird and fascinating at the same time. Skiing fun and action can be experienced by young and older guests alike on the BIG Family Boarder Cross trail with wave tracks and steep bends, the BIG Family Slalom or on the one-kilometre BIG Family Fun Slope. NEW this winter is the BIG Family Slopestyle area at the Gamsgarten, where the freestyle stars of tomorrow show their first jumps.

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Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids.

Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism - By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret

With Kids4free, kids get the chance to ski and snowboard for free for 6 days in Switzerland. In total 44 winter sports resorts support this initiative. From 7 November, adults can enter a competition on Myswitzerland.com for a child up to 12 years. Winners can use the 6-day ski pass within the winter season 2018/19. The closing date to enter is 2 December 2018.

Kids4Free: get the kids on the slopes
In collaboration with the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland Tourism conducted a winter tourism analysis and identified ten opportunities in which to develop the season. One of them being that the family holiday has an influence on whether kids ski in the future. The aim of Kids4free is to get families excited for winter sports holidays in Switzerland and is an initiative of Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss mountain railways and cable ways.

Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism - By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret
Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism – By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret

How to enter
The competition can be entered via MySwitzerland.com/kids4free. Until 2 December an adult can enter on behalf of one child up to 12 years of age. The winners will be informed by 7 December and can use the 6-day ski pass at any time during the 18/19 winter season, starting 22 December 2018.

More information can be found here: MySwitzerland.com/kids4free

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Crans-Montana Must–Read Guide

Denis Emery - photo-genic.ch- Courtesy Crans Montana Tourism Office.

Crans-Montana Must-Read Guide

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Check no more! Here is your must-read guide to Crans-Montana:  Crans-Montana is a world-renown ski and summer resort in the Valais area of Switzerland, celebrating its 125th year this year. Easily accessible by train and a funicular, the resort has two big towns, Crans and Montana that are almost now linked into one bigger town.

Crans-Montana is a lively town, with lots of people that live there year-round. This is not the classic resort that opens only for the season and then nothing happens anymore; it is pretty big and busy.

Crans-Montana unique selling point is its vista and the sunny terrace where the valley is sitting.
Crans-Montana unique selling point is its vista and the sunny terrace where the valley is sitting. Your must-read guide to Crans-Montana.

Crans and Montana are located in a wide sunny valley, perched at 1500m, with magnificent south views of the mountains of the Rhône Valley in Valais, from the Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn- 19 peaks over 4,000 meters are facing Crans-Montana.  Hotels and condominiums are dotted in town amongst hotels, from 3 stars to deluxe 5 stars with all the services.

Crans-Montana has been a magnet for stars, from Roger Moore who had a house there, Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, who used to stay at the Grand Hotel du Golf & Palace. The Kennedy’s family and Mr Bourvil used to holiday in Crans Montana. Also David Guetta comes for a discreet winter holiday to Crans-Montana.

People go to Crans-Montana for the vistas, they are magnificent; for it’s skiing, with nice sunny pistes to all type of skiers, and in the rest of the year for its golf. With an 18-hole golf course by Severino Ballesteros and a 9-hole by Jack Nicklaus, and many hotels offering direct access to the golf course (or the cross country trails in winter), it is the best you could get in Switzerland! Plus the biking is pretty big now, lots of hiking and water sports around, to make it a year-round resort.

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Planning your ski trip

Heavenly gondola. Photo by: The-Ski-Guru. Heavenly is another of the resorts that will roll out Emma later this season. Emma, the World's First Digital Mountain Assistant, Kicks Off the 2018-19 Winter Season in Beta at Keystone Ski Resort.

When should you start planning your ski trip? For me it should be at least six months in advance to your trip, more if you are planning to travel in school holidays.

If you are travelling in the shoulder season (low season), such as early December – before the 20th), January, March in Europe (not in the US and Canada as they have Spring Break) and April (outside of Easter weekend), you can plan a bit more on top of the time and maybe see how snow conditions are.

Ski Touring Vallée de Saint Bon - Les Trois Vallées.
Ski Touring Vallée de Saint Bon – Les Trois Vallées.

For me, I need to know I have a trip in sight to be able to cope with routine. I always have my winter trip arranged by July (we go skiing with the family in February), and I do reserve the flat we use year-on-year as soon as we leave the place when our week is finished- so I book it one year in advance! That is because I have such a great deal, and my kids love going back to the same place, that is a no-brainer.

So where to start for planning your ski trip?

Well, you can try to start thinking where you want to go. Talking of the Northern Hemisphere- if you live in the UK as we do – are you going to drive (so that is only Europe and it would be France, Switzerland, Italy and maybe the Pyrenees’ or Austria, or fly, where you can add also the US, Canada or Japan. You can see the different websites with information on resorts and try to sort what resort is for the type of skier/boarder you are, or which one caters a diverse group.

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