Skip to Content

Things I learnt from a disaster ski holiday with kids

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ice has crusted the fur lining of my jacket, my toes are starting to tingle and I am sobbing into my mobile phone, begging my husband to come and rescue me.

This is not what my ski holiday was supposed to look like.

Ski holiday

Me on the slopes before the ski holiday went pear-shaped. Picture: Alison Godfrey

I’ve spent the last two hours trying to get my son back from Pretty Valley in Perisher. His ski keeps detaching from its binding. He’s tired and he keeps having tantrums every time his ski pops out. He is refusing to listen and he’s too cross to even put his foot into the binding straight. We are going nowhere.

I want a shot of butterscotch schnapps, a warm fire and a big bowl of wedges.

I love skiing. But sometimes things go horribly wrong. On this ski holiday- three things went pear-shaped. But we’ll get to the other two soon.

On the slope, my son has once again lost his ski on a super steep part of the run. He’s yelling at me to move out of the way. But I am the only thing standing between him and sliding down the mountain. He shuffles forward awkwardly on his one attached ski. Then we both watch as the other begins to slide down the hill. He yells, falls and then starts sliding.

After two hours of being yelled at, of tears and sub-zero temperatures, I tell my son to start walking. We’re close enough now that it is possible. And that’s when I make the call and start to cry.

Lesson 1 – Always make sure you test your skis on a small slope close to the village before going too far away. If there is a problem – it’s much easier to get back and fix it.

Ski Perisher

The girls on the slopes before the “horrible chairlift” disaster. Picture: Alison Godfrey

The day before the ski disaster it was my daughter who lost it. She’s small for her age and can’t get onto the chairlift without help. Every chairlift so far at Perisher has been fine. I simply ask the lifties for help and they pull her onto the chair. She’s a great skier and can do chairlifts well – she’s just too small to hop up.

For the most part, the Perisher lifties have been great.

Until now.

We’re waiting in line for the Interceptor chair at Perisher and I have my daughter and her equally small friend with me. I ask the two lifties for help. They smile and move over to lift the girls.

They don’t slow down the chairlift.

And then mid-lift, one liftie stops lifting.

My daughter is not on the seat, she’s going under the chair. She’s crumpled and crying and the liftie is looking in the other direction.

I yell. He realises what he has done and hauls her backwards and onto the chairlift.

It takes the whole ride to calm her down enough to feel comfortable with getting off the chairlift.

But then it gets worse.

As our chair approaches the exit point, the liftie at the top fails to slow it down. Again.

The girls’ feet can’t touch the snow as the chair comes into the station. They’re 20cm off the ground.

They jump off anyway. A tangle of little legs and skis go in all directions.

I can’t get off the chairlift or I will fall on top of them. But I can’t leave them there alone. As the chair begins to turn away from the exit zone I jump off, crash and roll.

The girls are crying. I’m so mad you can see the steam.

Lesson 2: Be really, really direct with lift attendants. Never assume they will slow the chairlift. Always ask them to. Tell them exactly what they should do.

Ski on snow

Rental skis all look similar. Picture: Alison Godfrey

After two disasters in one ski holiday, we all welcome a drink at the bar. We find a table, order a bunch of beers and wait until all of our group has returned to base camp.

It’s nearly 6pm by the time we leave to pick up our skis and head for the Ski Tube.

But there’s a problem.

My skis are gone. So is my husband’s snowboard.

Rental skis are easy to confuse. I can understand someone mistaking mine for theirs. But snowboards are all different. It’s pretty hard to confuse a snowboard.

No skis. No snowboard. We now have to tell the rental company that we have lost them. And suffer the consequences.

Lesson 3 – Get a ski lock. Put a sticker on both skis so it is obvious that they are yours. And make sure you report any loss of gear to guest services – they can send it back to where it belongs if it does turn up.

Even with three mega-disasters this weekend, I do still love to ski. Lessons learnt. It will be better next time.

One last lesson. This one, I already knew.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate makes everything better at the snow. Picture: Alison Godfrey

Lesson 4 – On a ski holiday with kids, there is nothing that a hot chocolate and a rest can’t fix. 


5 reasons to ski Japan with kids as beginners

Colorado beyond the famous ski slopes

Things to do in Jindabyne with the kids

The Snowy Mountains – a kids’ view

Family-friendly destinations


* Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links provided, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work we put into!