"A trip to the snow with two children under four? Doesn't immediately sound like a particularly relaxing holiday idea does it? Fortunately what our holiday lacked in relaxation it more than made up for in excitement and new experiences. It is one thing to describe what falling snow looks like to a four year old, but another thing entirely for her to wake up and see it magically falling outside the window every morning!!
Hubby and I decided it had been way too long since we had been on the snow and felt we were finally in a position for the kids (now 2 and 4) to not just come along, but actually engage in the experience and take home some great memories.
My first task was to assemble the gear! How were we ever going to fit in the car? How much snow gear do you buy for kids when they are only probably going to get one wear out of it? I think proper shoes and a reliable waterproof layer is the most important for little kids – once kids get wet and cold it gets pretty miserable pretty quickly...
Luckily my mum is a pretty resourceful shopper and managed to get both our kids outer suits to wear (one waterproof all-in-one for Miss 4 from an op shop and a bargain half price Aldi snow suit for Miss 2). Aldi came to the rescue again and I managed to get the kids a pair of insulated snow boots for a bargain $20. Friends hired their kids proper snow boots and suits in Mt Beauty for a similar price.
We were lucky that the friends we went with had contacts in a ski lodge at Falls Creek so accommodation was sorted and the lodge fee included most dry stocks in the pantry (rice, flour, crackers, cereals etc) which meant we only had to take fresh foods to cook with. Containers of frozen homemade soup were great for easy, warming lunches. Frozen sausage rolls also kept the kids happy and were easy to pack and reheat.
The weather can obviously vary widely and we had days when we needed sunscreen and days when we were all bundled up with neck warmers up to the eyes to try and get out of the icy wind.
At Falls Creek (Vic) kids under 5 are free on the chair lifts, but they still need a ticket on their jacket and the ski school is located one chair lift away from the main village bowl.
I would advise being flexible on your expectations on how much time you will actually get on the snow. We were there for 4 days and managed only one half day of snow boarding together (hubby and I). The first day was taken up with getting up the mountain, getting all the gear into the lodge (toboggans are great for dragging bags up the hill and getting the kids around) and then taking the kids out for their first taste of tobogganing (very fun!). Day 2 we took turns with our friends, hubby and I went out boarding in the morning and they looked after our kids and then they went out in the afternoon and we amused the four kids at the lodge and had snowball fights outside...Day 3 the decision was made to try the two older kids (both 4) in ski school. Neither had been on skis before and to be honest they ended up having more fun skiing with the adults in our group going up and down the driveway of our lodge than they did in the ski school – although the Milo breaks were a hit!! Next time I think we would just try to take Miss 4 out with us on skis for a morning rather than fork out over $100 for the school. If your kids have a bit of confidence on the snow I think they would get a lot more out of the school but for our littlies it was a bit daunting.
My last piece of advice would be to make sure you only give the kids a very light brekkie the morning you plan to travel up and down the mountain and have some cloth nappies and plastic bags at the ready. As the road winds around and around I could see my little hips getting greener and greener and I was very glad I had not made them that banana smoothie for breakfast!
All in all it was a fantastic holiday, one that took a bit of organisation and effort but was well worth it!"
Nichola is not just a mum of 2 hips. She is also about to embark on a very exciting adventure...Seedling Stationery. Seedling Stationery (www.seedlingstationery.com.au website coming very soon) is all about greeting cards handmade with recycled materials including seed embedded paper. After you have finished with the card, you can plant it and watch it grow into a pot of herbs. So exciting. Watch this space - I will be sure to let you know when she is ready to go!