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First-time family skiers take to the Swiss slopes

Sian Michaelson and family review skiing in the Swiss resort of Laax

Posted: 7 December 2012
by Catherine Hudson

Rocksresort, Laxx, Switzerland Rocksresort, Laxx, Switzerland
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Rocksresort, Laxx, Switzerland

A family of four appears to be the ideal or most tour operators: two adults, two children. Throw in an extra child and things get confused. Hiring a car and the challenges are the same: five with luggage and you’re into people carrier territory. So what a relief to travel with a tour operator that understands four isn’t always the magic number. 

Nope, our third child and the fifth member of our family, Max, five, was most certainly central to the holiday, from his prime seat at the front of the minibus transferring us from Zurich airport to the resort of Laax, to the top bunk in our self-catering apartment, to his medal-winning place in a private ski group far away from his pesky older siblings. From day one, Max enjoyed establishing himself as a person in his own right. His ski group, the Yetis, was for four- to nine-year-olds, which mean his older brother and sister, Tom, 10, and Sophia, 12, had no chance to cramp his style (they joined the Snowzone for 10- to 13-year olds). This type of attention to different ages and family configurations matters to children, and it meant Max could enjoy his time with his fellow Yetis alongside their English-speaking instructor and a member of Powder Byrne staff. They spent their time playing games, having hot chocolates and a lot of fun learning how to ski.   

For Max, this was a much gentler introduction to skiing than his siblings had experienced in a different resort a few years earlier, when Tom and Sophia spent a couple of hours in the morning at the local ski school. That morning is now part of our family folklore – the tale of how Sophia was chucked out of ski school by lunchtime, and nope we’re not talking about ASBO behaviour here – just a five-year-old who couldn’t stop crying and hated falling over in a lot of cold, white stuff surrounded by people she’d just met. Which, if you think about it, is not really that surprising – after all, it’s a bit of an ask, taking young children used to a temperate climate, dressing them in bulky restrictive clothing, making them stay out in freezing conditions and coaxing them to throw themselves down slopes. So making this appeal to young first-timers and getting them to enjoy the environment they’re in and feel confident is a bit of an art form – and the staff at the Yeti Club have clearly mastered.

What really made the activity fun for Max was finding fellow football enthusiasts amongst his skiing companions, and in no time football cards were being swapped and fun was being had by all.

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