Hello from snowy Squaw Valley where all, or seemingly all, of the kids in California are spending their vacation. If your ski week is coming up, a few refresher suggestions may be in order. If you only ski once a year, or just rarely do a vacation rental, it's easy to forget the little stuff.
1. Plan to pack. If you only ski (or travel to the beach for that matter), once a year, this is one case where making a list of the necessities makes sense to use to pack each year. How many miles from town does it become impossible to turn back and start again. In this year's example, I'd estimate it was about 25 miles out that my husband realized that his ski boots were still at home. We remembered almost all of the stuff for the children's skiwear only to remember that we forgot the parents' stuff. This is very important if you want to be out there as an example to the kids to enjoy the snow and the skiing. The ski boots weren't left in the basement, or even on the floor of the garage, they never even made it to the pile we accumulated to cover all the potential exigencies of a snowy holiday.
Also, remember the stuff you need to move from the ski condo/house to the ski slopes. Snow boots to walk through the snow and the slush, use of plastic sleds to carry all of the little ones’ equipments (as surely, you will be the valet for all of the multitude of equipments for you and your kids) I actually saw a mom who had a small shopping basket on wheels where she carried all of her three children's ski equipment.
Even if there is only one child, it is often too much weight and too many pieces to carry for a dad or mom who is in good shape and can carry many pounds. And, prepare for temperature variation. It's even easier to forget things when you live in a climate like ours in Northern California, where it's never really hot nor really cold. It's hard to imagine what three below is like, say nothing to 95 above.
2. Pack some mustard. Unless you have good confirmation with the owners or the management as to what is stocked at the house, add to your bag of groceries the basics you'll need for a week. It's hard to part with six bucks for a bottle of salad dressing when plenty of oil and vinegar is back at home.
3. Rent skis and boots if necessary in your hometown if you're driving to ski. There's nothing worse for kids and more fatiguing for adults than to start a ski day with a one hour trip for ski fitting. Rent at home, save money, and use your time on the slopes.
4. Plan for babysitting or for lots of in-home down time if you're traveling with small children. Ski schools start at age three in most places as kids younger than that do not have the physical coordination required to properly teach them to ski. Even if it starts earlier, your kid may not be ready. Be fully prepared to not ski, or trade off days with your spouse. Either way, you may regret spending a lot of money to ski so little. Just keep it in mind when planning the ski vacation and set expectations. Also look for other recreational activities, like dog sledding, sleigh rides, a kids’ bungee jumping area, interior rock climbing gyms, or an area to build snowmen. Plan and figure out all the possible ways to enjoy the trip, away in the snow rather than focus on that fact that it's a 'ski' week. Focus on the family down time and just enjoy the break. My little two-year old son and I had several hours of rambling around the village where he was the mayor of the village and an ambassador to all of the many dogs.