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Citizen Enfants

Deborah Brett's Complete Guide To Skiing With Kids

A family trip to the slopes takes a lot of organisation. From the kit and the ski lessons, to child care and hotels, there is always planning involved.

We asked expert family traveller, ski-lover and mum-of-three, ceramic artist Deborah Brett, for her top tips on how to have a fun, stylish and successful Alpine holiday with family in tow.

What’s your favourite place for a family ski trip and why?

I grew up going to a Swiss village called Arosa. My parents met on the slopes there so it has always had a very special place in our hearts. We always stay at the Kulm Hotel, which is where my parents went on their first date! It’s incredibly family friendly with lots of beautiful runs that are not too long, and they all lead to the town so you can’t get lost.

Tell us your top five tips for the perfect family holiday on the slopes?

Ski in, ski out is the best way to go if you can. It makes the whole holiday more enjoyable and much easier. There’s nothing worse than carting your family in ski boots across town and into buses.

Making sure the resort runs are suitable for the whole family – whether that’s blue slopes for children, red and blacks for parents, and walkers’ paths that link up for people who don’t want to ski, so that everyone can meet up for lunch.

Ski school is great as learning to ski properly at a young age is really important. If you can afford a private ski class for the kids, even better. The advantage is not only the one-on-one tuition, but also that the instructor can bring your children straight to meet you for lunch as well. This gives everyone in the family more time on the slopes. A win-win.

Kids’ clubs in the hotel mean you can have a post ski break and even visit the spa (my idea of heaven), and the children are more than entertained.

Taking kids sledging after skiing is one of my favourite memories growing up. 

And the things you wish you’d known?

I grew up in Arosa, so I have to say it’s all second nature to me. I have so enjoyed passing on my experience to my children and sharing the skills I have learnt over the years. 

What’s the best way to introduce children to skiing?

With lots of bribery! My children are normally not allowed a huge amount of sugar but when it came to incentivising them, filling their pockets with sweet treats was a saviour. When they are very little, they just don’t have the stamina so we would make little pit stops at the hut to rest – hot chocolate breaks are a must. 

Your fondest memory of skiing with your children?

I taught my husband and my three kids to ski, and I loved skiing with them. It’s utterly draining but it’s such a wonderful bonding experience. We chatted and sang together as we skied and it made them feel special.

Packing essentials for a fun (and stress-free) day on the slopes with children?

A pot of Piz Buin Mountain sun cream, a pair of sunglasses in case the weather brightens up, tissues for noses, handful of Sugus sweets, lip salve from Athletia and a pack of Top Trumps to keep kids amused whilst waiting for lunch.

Where do you shop for your kids’ ski kit?

When my kids were younger we picked up pieces from The Gap and Bonpoint, now we’re loving Poivre Blanc and Perfect Moment. My son is obsessed with North Face and my middle daughter has started stealing my old skiwear!

And what about your own Alpine wardrobe?

I can’t resist picking up a few new pieces each season. My favourite jackets are always from Moncler. I wear either Perfect Moment, Fusalp or Jet Set trousers and I’ve recently fallen in love with Cordova’s cool one pieces in bold colours. I love Uniqlo’s heat-tech base layers under more traditional knitwear. I adore a Nordic knit and have a collection from JCrew, Boden, Joseph and Gucci. Boots are either Sorel or Moon Boots as well as Penelope Chilvers beautiful retro lace up Alpine walking boots.

Where is next on your list for a skiing holiday?

We are heading to the Dolomites again this year, and trying a new resort. Last year we went to San Cassiano on the Sellaronda and this year we are going to Alpi di Siusi. I’ve never skied in America so Sun Valley in Colorado or Park City in Utah are on my bucket list.

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