Planning a ski trip with four children can be a challenge. Not to mention pricey and stressful. But after two trips to Perisher in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, we’ve got it down-pat. So how is it done? Here are my top tips.
Step 1: How to afford it in the first place.
Living in Australia (as we do), although lift tickets and accommodation can be cheaper overseas, when you factor in airfares with a family the size of ours it really is more economical to go skiing in Australia.
On the plus side, with a family the size of ours, there are plenty of hand-me-downs. So we mix and match what we can from last year’s gear and hire the rest.
While we have invested in a few boards for grown-ups and larger kids, it makes more sense to hire expensive gear (like boots) for the littlies until they stop growing. If that ever happens.
There are some great deals to be found on snow, but it is definitely cheaper to stay in Jindabyne so don’t be precious about being on the mountain.
We stayed at The Station in a two bedroom apartment – fantastic value. You can opt to pay extra to dine in their food hall, but the apartments are self-catering, with stove, microwave and fridge (and luckily, exactly six sets of cutlery).
Step 2: Getting there without being driven insane by bored kids.
Driving six large-ish children to the Snowy Mountains requires a large car and lots of inflight entertainment. The 7-seat Ford Territory does the job well, with the addition of roof racks and a luggage pod.
It has a built-in DVD player but because it’s a rare occasion that our kids all agree on watching the same movie, we also pack a couple of laptops and iPads.
Be sure to double, TRIPLE-check they all have headphones (I can’t stress that enough – do not forget them or you will be forced to listen to tinny tween-age music and video games for five hours.
Pack plenty of sandwiches, snacks and a drink bottle each to last the journey. Don’t even bother trying to get through Sydney traffic between the hours of 4pm and 7pm – if you can’t leave early, leave late.
In our family, boarders outnumber skiers four to two. And boarders of course don’t always like the same courses as skiers, and then some of us like going faster and harder than others.
So we split the day into a few sections. In the mornings, those of us that need them (the skiers) have lessons. All the boarders go mad and attempt as many blue and black runs as they can until lunchtime.
Lunch, preferably at some half-way point on the mountain, and we send all the kids off to whichever terrain park they want to carve up, while the grown-ups look for longer more peaceful runs.
Which for us means Mt Perisher or Guthega. The younger boarders don’t like Guthega because the traverse along the Guthega Trails getting there is too flat and hard going for them (which is why skiers love this part of the mountain).
Between 3pm and 4pm we all trickle back to the Pub – the kids for chips and gravy, the grown-ups for a glass of ale and then the kids go up and down Front Valley until the lifts close while we put our feet up.
TOP TIP. It’s been a late season this year and the snow at the moment is at its best. In spring (now) – you can book a room at The Station for as little as $79 per room, per night. Check out the deals here.
PLUS. For those serious skiers and boarders out there, the Freedom Pass, which provides unlimited skiing for the entire season – returns to Perisher in 2014. And there’s a brand new chairlift under construction in Guthega (Guthega’s first).
If you buy a Freedom Pass before the first tower of the chairlift is constructed, you’ll go in the draw to win a 2014 Freedom Pass for FREE and you could also have a chair named after your family.