Planning the Perfect Family Ski Trip

Spring Break is on the horizon, and for many of us in Houston, that means spring skiing. Let’s be honest; our winter lasted about two days, and we need a cold reprieve before the 100-degree temperatures start up again. For years you may have watched friends and family pack up their kids and gear to head for the snow, but if you are like me, a mom of three who has never taken her family skiing before, this could be a daunting adventure. 

What gear should you buy? Is everyone going to stay upright? Are your life insurance policies current? These questions all might run through your mind, and you haven’t even begun to think about the chair lift yet. {Don’t people fall off those things?} Don’t panic like I did – just take a few deep breaths, check out our tips, and start planning.

Planning the Perfect Family Ski Trip | Houston Moms Blog


Research a prospective location, keeping in mind the following questions:

  • How long do you want your flight or drive to be?
  • What kinds of crowds will the resort be expecting, and how difficult are their slopes?
  • Does the resort offer ski school with certified instructors, separate play areas for non-skiers, and secure areas for pick-up and drop-off?
  • Does the area of town have fun things to do for times when you are not skiing or for the non-skiers in your group?

Ski Santa Fe was the destination of choice for my family. It is a great option for first-timers because the mountain is easy to learn on, and it has a wonderful ski school for kids called Chipmunk Corner. It also boasts one of the largest Adaptive Ski Programs in the country, which is something I can get behind. As an added bonus, Santa Fe is a mecca of food, art, and culture, so no need to worry about finding something to do when you are not on the slopes.

Planning the Perfect Family Ski Trip | Houston Moms Blog

Gearing Up

Making sure everyone has the proper gear is essential for a fun family experience, but it can be challenging. Here’s what I found to be useful in planning…

  • It can be expensive, so check with friends and family for items you can borrow before going out and spending a fortune, especially because little ones will outgrow their gear quickly.
  • Falling and getting wet from snow is inevitable, so wearing waterproof layers is very important.
  • Pack multiple pairs of waterproof gloves for everyone – one pair will either get wet or lost or both.
  • Goggles and sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ are also a must; on sunny days the sun’s rays reflect off the snow, and raccoon-mask sunburn isn’t cute on anyone.

Renting skis, boots, and helmets are a better option than traveling with the cumbersome gear, but keep a few things in mind when renting…

  • Make sure everything fits properly BEFORE you leave the rental facility. That might sound funny, but there is nothing worse than getting up the mountain and realizing that something doesn’t fit quite right.
  • When you are fitted for your skis, you will be asked to give your weight – this isn’t a time for vanity; tell the truth. To make sure skis will react properly in a fall, it is essential that everyone is fitted correctly for their weight and height.
  • Also, it’s worth asking if the facility cleans rental helmets after each use – head sweat anyone?

Water, Water, and More Water

Did I mention you should drink water? Friends, staying hydrated will help keep the soreness at bay and will also help your body adjust to the change in elevation. Our Houstonian bodies are used to breathing at sea level, but going up to a higher elevation could cause altitude sickness, which will ruin everyone’s day on the slopes. 

No Fear

I am a firm believer that your children feed off your vibes, so if you are calm, cool, and collected they will be, too. If you are terrified and screaming as you ski down the mountain, that might not go over so well. Don’t be embarrassed to enroll yourself in ski school or spend a morning getting a refresher course. I did just that, and it turned out to be one of the most important parts of my experience at Ski Santa Fe. My instructor, “Spooky “was calm, patient, and reassuring, and aside from giggling the first time I fell on the magic carpet {who wouldn’t?}, he was completely steadfast in helping me to ski.

Planning the Perfect Family Ski Trip | Houston Moms Blog


After you have warmed up and put away all of your ski gear, you’ll want to hit the town to see what else there is to explore. If you are headed to a crowded destination, make a couple of dinner reservations and buy tickets in advance for shows or performances. Although you may be tempted to explore everything your destination has to offer, make sure your family has some down time. After a full day of skiing, everyone will need a little bit of rest and relaxation. 

Our first ski trip is in the books, and we can’t wait to go cruising down the mountains again. I’ll be heading back to Ski Santa Fe with my family. The crowds were small, the lift tickets and rentals were reasonable, but more importantly, the staff and ski instructors were kind and patient which is what every first-time skier needs. Wherever you end up with your family, just remember to relax and have fun. Catch you on the bunny slopes!

First-timers and veterans alike, have we covered it all? Tell us a little about your family’s ski adventures below and leave any tips you’ve learned along the way!

About Gabi D.

Gabi De la Rosa is a Houston mom with 3 kids. She loves reading, being outdoors, and trying new things around HTX.


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