Planning Norwegian Ski Trip (with 6 year old)

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Paul_B

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Jul 14, 2008
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It seems to be that this forum has people from around the world with a wide range of backgrounds and experience. It seems to me that out of all this knowledge and experience I'm sure I'll get good advice and recommendations.

In the end of December we're planning on a winter activity trip for two adults and our 6 year old, active son. We're looking for something memorable. My partner knows how to ski but hasn't got years but my son and I have no experience at all. We fully intend to ski, dog sled trips or anything like that. Skiing for me would be downhill and x country.

So assume a paid upfront holiday not an independent one. Assume flights to Oslo then train or possibly bus / coach to resort. Where is a good place to go in just one week's visit? What's got the most fun for a family who'll he together the whole trip. This is a family together trip.

Also, skiing. Learn at ski centres over here before we leave it once there? I think there's ones near Manchester and Leeds that would be convenient for us to go to.

Kit? What should we get? Ski specific kit or just layer up with good outdoor kit you might use in Scotland in winter? Aldi ski clothing for kids age adult or pay more.

My partner is convinced our son will be good at skiing and will love it so possibly an annual activity.

What's available to do other than the styles of skiing at Norwegian ski resorts?

Also, what about light? I assume ski goggles or glasses are needed? Which are best for adults and children? We have wrap round sunglasses for our son but would they be any good? I wear prescription glasses so assume there's goggles that work over glasses?

How cold is Norway straight after Xmas normally?

Basically any advice you have will be gratefully received and absorbed.
 

Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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I don't know much about Norway, or the terrain you will be going to but, whatever, skiing is a total hoot and lifetime addiction if it gets you. Quickest way to learn is to go on a week's holiday to a resort end of season ... it being cheaper, snow's a bit slower and the hill's not so full. Get someone to show you some basics, like which ski to turn with, how to plough stop. Then spend a day on the beginner slopes. Expect to fall over lots, expect to think you look a fool (you don't) and just keep coming down the hill until you get a grip. You'll probably do your first green run at the end of the day (and figure out how to get off a lift). You will feel pretty good about this, and you should ... you will be wet, tired, warm, hungry, happy. Eat bananas and mars bars and drink coffee .. they will rarely taste better.

You do it like this, but put your son in classes ... they'll get him good habits and he won't forget them. You can pick up more classes for specific skills as you need or want them later.

By the end of the week, you will be really enjoying yourself. But, aim to learn to ski before going off on adventures. Same holiday, you can learn how to x-country if there is the terrain for it at the resort. (Backcountry and skinning uphill comes a bit later). You'll figure out how strong your legs need to get, how you'll need to learn to stand up on the skis etc.

Rent it at the resort, or get your kit second hand. Here you can just go to a secondhand sports shop and get reasonable skis, boots, goggles, poles, helmet for $150. Somebody will look after you and make sure you pick an appropriate bundle. Then you can watch the passage of time and money. My last pair of boots cost $900 :lol:

By the way, your son will take one look at the kids on snowboards and quickly conclude that skiing is for oldies :lol: Try and get him to learn to ski first. It'll take him an afternoon and he'll probably be able to ski on one board at the end of the second day. He'll get tired though, so speak to someone about how long a session should be. Kind of aim for about 2hrs a day at first. As your enthusiasm builds (which will be a pretty immediate thing) you will be in the queue for the first lift of the day and the last person off the hill.

Don't get put off watching the daredevils. Just applaud when they pull off stunts and try not to snicker when they fail. That'll be you in a couple of years' time. It is all fun and everyone starts out not being able to ski. As with everything, you get better the more you do it. All there is to it.

Clothing is wicking baselayer, wool/fleece midlayer and waterproof shell. Buy insulated ski jackets/trousers if you like, because you'll probably get them cheaper, but in the end you'll want to aim for layering for the wildly differing conditions you'll come across. Conventionally, spring skiing is seen in bikinis or shorts :). Avoid a one-piece for your son ... looks like a good idea but it won't fit about month after you get it.

You're going to enjoy this :)
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If I was you I would go to Sweden instead of Norway.
For a start, it is cheaper.
There are many suitable ski areas, the more famous are Åre, Sälen, Lindvallen, Funäsdalen.

These have every type of slopes, from tobbogan for kids to black runs and off piste.

As your child only speaks English it is maybe not the best to put him in a class to learn the basics, it might be a better idea to use a private tutor for you and child, one that speaks English.

Yes, dog or reindeer sledge is great fun, specially with the semi wild reindeer!
Those ski resort areas have lots to offer, lots.

Time of year - January and February are the coldest, so maybe not the best for you from UK. December, sprcially around Christmas, is fairly exprnsive, but a wonderful, wonderful eay to spend it!
 

Paul_B

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It's got to be end of December due to my Xmas shutdown at work. I get all that time off that really goes to waste and it eats into my holiday allowance at a time when tbh I'd rather be working. So it makes sense to go then. Especially if you think that time is worth more than money like I do. Time with family is priceless, certainly worth more than Norway will cost!

Sweden? I suppose the western parts bordering on Norway for the hills? Easy to get to? Not long travel times? I think Norway was chosen because their resorts are more family orientated than the alp resorts and they're any 2 hours flight or so.

My partner (who without me knowing has been researching ski trips) said alpine resorts tend to be about ditching the kids to kids clubs and getting out to pistes and pubs/bars without them.

Back to Sweden, never been to Norway but Sweden I've visited a few times. Mostly in winter for some reason. Gothenburg mostly, what a city and proud football support too. 4 good teams iirc. Home of football and a unique Sweden variety of heavy metal too. No ski slopes there but I like that city. Good attitude to drinking too in that bar staff get into trouble if customers are too drunk (I got asked to keep one of our group awake because it looked like he was drunk but he was just tired out).

One English guy I met on Swedish Airport Hotel who had a career working around the two countries seemed to prefer Sweden too. He did say Norway is more equal in the sexes. None of this gentleman opening a door for a lady, that's plain wrong. First one to the door opens it then goes through. Common sense really.

Obviously a few stereotypes but Sweden to me did seem easy to get on in. Relaxed. Food was just honest food suited to the climate. As in good honest stodge to fill you up. That's in a bar in a small town one of our customers read based. Not many places to eat lunch and that place served meat with vegetables. Big portions.

So anyone else have a view on Norway or Sweden?

PS janne, do you mind if I ask whether you're from Sweden or Norway or if their ancestry? I think the reason I felt at home in Sweden during my work visits was that a great or double great grandparents were Swedish immigrants to America. It's in my blood heritage. Funny if there's such a thing as that which makes a foreign country seem at home just because it's part of your recent ancestry. Might be my imagination.
 

Brynglas

Full Member
Hi Paul,
I teach people tk ski part time, in adaptive, alpine telemark and cross country techniques. I've also taken a big family and friends group with up to fifteen children away skiing every year for the past 15 years or so, and have skied extensively in Norway, Sweden and Finland amongst other places.

Norway is a great place to visit, as is Sweden, easy to negotiate with children etc. But both can work out as very expensive places to visit, particularly if you're looking at school holiday places. Both are also good places to build a DIY holiday as well.

I would strongly suggest you visit either ChillFactore/ Beyond at Manchester or Castleford and see how you all get on with lessons there. They'll supply all the kit you need for lessons. It's a good idea that you find out if you enjoy skiing before you go, and you can learn in a controlled stable environment without dealing with the vagaries of weather/ snow conditions etc. Get professional instruction, not from mates etc. And you'll be fine, I'm sure.

As far as kit is concerned, my kids (now 14) have skied in Decathlon and Aldi ski gear for most of their lives and it's worked great in Scandinavia, the US and the European Alps. Even down to very low temperatures in all conditions. It's generally good gear and I wouldn't have any hesitation recommending it. Aldi merino gear when available is particularly good. For adults, decent outdoor hill gear with plenty of insulating layers will be fine, but I'd recommend getting some Saloppettes/ Ski pants, unless you're going to go full Nordic and ski in lycra(!). You don't have to spend loads, Dare2B, Decathlon etc. Is certainly good enough to see you through the early stages.

The only area I would reccomend spending cash is on decent gloves, and decent eyewear/ goggles. Again, no need to go daft, but decent warm, waterproof gloves and sunglasses/ goggles that will protect your eyes. Decathlon gear is plenty good enough, just go for their mid/ upper range gear..

With a 6 year old, I'm sure you already know, it's important to manage your expectations. Children of that age have a relatively large skin surface area so can get cold easier etc so it's a good idea to build in short days or lots of breaks etc.

There are plenty of good locations where you can enjoy a mixed activity holiday in both Norway and Sweden. E.g. Hemevan/ Tarnaby is pretty good in Sweden.

I've skied with my daughters since they were three years old, the early stages are hard work, and tiring so don't try to do too much too soon. As you progress, things get much easier! They'll ski anythng now, on and of piste both Telemark and Alpine so the initial effort is well worth it!

PM me if you want any help or more details.

ATB
 
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Billy-o

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Oh yes, telemark is great fun and something to look forward to. You sort of need quads like a tyranosaurus, but it is so graceful and intellectually satisfying. I fall in the 'keen but scarcely adequate' category freeheeling downhill, even so there are few things in life more rewarding than watching an accomplished telemarker make nothing of a porrigy double black that has everyone else knackered :)
 

Paul_B

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Thanks for your advice. It's about 50% more in holidays we've found but we've got a week straight after Xmas to go so it's accepted we're paying a lot for this trip.

My partner is planning it based on an independent holiday not package. Norway was chosen by her because she got the impression Norway is more about doing things as a family. Looking at alpine resorts she thought they were more about ditching the kids with a kids club and skiing without them. It's about being together so Norway. Plus she said they had a wide range of slopes for all abilities.

Do you know about eyewear that works with prescription glasses? I expect goggles but won't they mist up? Especially if cheap brand?
 

Brynglas

Full Member
There are resorts/ companies that are all about kids club etc. Not something I've ever subscribed to. The fact is that you will be taking different lessons from your little one, so that will involve an element of handing them over to a ski instructor for either group or private lessons whilst you get your own instruction.
I'll PM you with some ideas.
 

Paul_B

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We're looking at Geilo but it's 3 hours train journey and the return flight is 10am. Otherwise it seems perfect for us.

The easier option is Oslo winter Park. There's two good resort hotels right near the ski jump that the package company offers. About £200-300 more for the privilege of taking only 20 minutes transfer from Oslo Airport apparently.

Sweden consists of a longer flight time to Stockholm then a second internal flight to the resort. Also the company seems to only offer London airport departures.

I think it'll me Norway and suck up the £900-1400 per person prices (do kids work out less or the same I wonder).
 

Billy-o

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I don't suppose you want to be schlepping over to western canada, but there is place near here called Hemlock, which I have often thought would make for a lovely family holiday. Pretty isolated, apart from the rest of the hotel guests.

But Vancouver will be worth looking at in the future for you. Three local hills, Cypress, Grouse and Mt Seymour. My kids learned at Mt Seymour and it has a lovely, foresty, arthurian feel. Nearly all greens and blues. Grouse is a bit touristy and can be busy .. also a bit icy, but super easy to get to. Cypress, I pick up an annual pass as a matter of course, its a pretty good hill and had a lot of the olympics there in 2010. If the traffic is OK, I can be at the carpark there stripping down to my woolpowers inside 25 minutes. There's regular coaches, or hire a car. Then there is the other stuff. Backcountry is good near Squamish and also lots of groomed trail - that's about an hour away. Then there is proper big mountain stuff at Whistler/Blackcomb about an hour and half away - expensiver, busier, but also some great terrain to monkey about on. Other big places like Revelstoke and Silver Star Mountain are worth looking into. Packages aren't cripplingly priced, but they are four or five hours drive away or a short flight from Vancouver.

Vancouver is easy to handle and kid friendly. You just want the exchange rate to be suitable. It swings about between two dollars to a dollar sixty for a pound. It is about 1.70CAD to the pound at the moment. I would imagine a December or early January trip will be relatively expensive. But you'll get bargains in late Spring when the cost of passes drops through the floor.

Don't forget to set aside time for some x-country and some snowshoeing in your schedule. Downhill is all in the west of Canada. There is some in the east but not much. The hills in Quebec get great attention, but are just hills and they are cursed cold. They produce good skiiers there, but that is because they have to be, the terrain is so lousy. :lol: On the other hand Montreal is a great place, especially if you have functioning French

I feel I should be getting paid by the BC Tourist Board for this :lol::)
 
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Janne

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Yes, Scandinavia is expensive. Norway more than Sweden. Yes, the same mountains/hills chain.

I have downhill skied extensively in Sweden ( in the areas I suggested) specially in Tänndalen, where my parents had a cottage. Cross country skiing in both countried.
I am brought up in Sweden, but never go back there as I find Norway a nicer place with more spectacular mountains, and the best sea fishing in Europe.
Many friends in Norway, none left in Sweden. I spend at leadt a month in Norway each year. Will extend that time from next year.
You can not go wrong with any of those countries.
Skiing holidays are expensive, but great fun!

Do not forget that you can do day trips crosscountry. Should be well marked trails all around all places.
It is usually a good ides to alternate cross country and downhill, better for an unused body.

Be careful, break nothing!

Remember, you can practice a bit of survival too there.
 
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Paul_B

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Booked Norway after all the advice. Independently too as in hotel and flight separately. Expensive but tbh it is going to be a new experience.

More expense to come in the form of ski lessons at chill factor at Trafford, ski and boot hire in Norway, lift passes, etc. Plus kit purchases. I doubt lidl or Aldi will time their ski sales at the right time for us so that won't be cheap. We got a very good Didrikson jacket for our son a couple of years back that was big on him but might still fit. Ski skirt in it and can even zip into a matching pair of waterproof / insulated trousers. Might be ok skiing.

I've got toasty mitts but can you ski with mitts rather than gloves? They're extremities brand with waterproof outer and primaloft insulation. Got it 8 years or so ago on new years eve because it was a very cold winter and I'd developed reynaud type symptoms. My partner has good mitts and gloves (skied in Eastern Europe in the past).

BTW would you take your own, old skis and boots or hire out there? My partner has skis and boots but not sure how good they are. Might be better to hire?
 

Paul_B

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Is it better to pay for private lessons for whole family or two lots of £99 plus a £70 or so for our son? Also chill factor do the same course in one full day, split over three weeks with 1 hour 50 sessions or iirc two half days. Same actual ski lesson time just ranging from intense all in one hit to three bite sized lessons with a week between them to mull over what you've been taught.

Which is best option? We live best part of hour and half away from the place.
 

Janne

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Mitts is what we old onrs use. Warmer!
Renting is easier, saves transporting them.
An individual teacher will be better, as he will spean in engish only. If he has a group of students, he needs to speak so the majority understands. Your 6 year old only understands English I assume?
 

Billy-o

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Not sure what it's like nowadays in the UK for ski gear, but I wouldn't recommend getting new boots or skis for kids, even in the sales, even if your middle name is Croesus.

Go to a good second-hand sport shop or rent at the hill. As with everything else, kids will reliably grow out of skis and boots once, sometimes twice in a year ... like last year's jacket, which was drooping over their hands last season and will always be up by their elbows this season, they get too tall for their old skis. November is the ski shop's bread and butter for a reason. :)

Yes, I agree about the gloves. Stump up. Wool or Goretex, especially if it is early or late season and potentially wet. There is nothing to beat wet cold hands for getting you or your kids miserably off the hill early, and buying emergency gloves in the resort shop will require a second mortgage. Wool isn't windproof though - so get them some covers. FYI, I use Hestras for their comfort (nice and wide) and grippy, but you have to look after the leather all the time. Outdoor Research make good leather guide gloves, but I found them narrow.

Wool gloves are old school and may even draw comment, which is fine if you are happy telling people to (you know) in a snappy kind of way. Bit like bamboo poles. The most excellent retro fun, but you can expect occasional ribaldry :lol: If Scandinavian etiquette is any thing like Canadian, your kids won't be using poles til later, but it is something for you to think about. Make sure and have them, but periodically, I spend a day without poles, partly for the fun of it, partly because it is good for you. You will likely do drills without poles in any case. :)
 
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Janne

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if the temp is well below freezing, a nice silk balaclava is essential, unless you are used to the very cold and know how to prevent and/or recognize early signs of frost bite.
The alternative is that you learn once you lose one earlobe and get itchy cheeks for years, due to frost damage like I did.

Kids not used to the cold due to being brought up in a mild climate like UK, are in extra danger.
Ask my son who refused to listen to me.

That time of the year, you can expect -30C. Not including the windchill.
GP's in those resorts live off foreign tourists. Broken bones and frostbite.

Protective goggles with sun protection. Protects the area around the eyes from frost damage, protects the eyes from snow and ice crystals and from the sun rays.
 
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Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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if the temp is well below freezing, a nice silk balaclava is essential, unless you are used to the very cold and know how to prevent and/or recognize early signs of frost bite.
The alternative is that you learn once you lose one earlobe and get itchy cheeks for years, due to frost damage like I did..
:lol: It is too true .... the fronts of my thighs is were I got my frostbite .. if I get cold its as itchy as mozzybites since getting caught in a fierce January wind in 1989

A friend couldn't find her car in the carpark during a blizzard. Maybe fifteen minutes without her ears covered. Her earlobes were frozen when she got into the car. No major damage, just the unrelievable itching ever since. S'no joke :lol:
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
It would be worse if it was more centrally between your tights.......

I did my first damage in my early teens, got one cool looking ear. The rest I did in the army.
Yes, it still itches, 40 years later, and no dermatologist has an explanation why it itches..


Tell your friend to avoid sunburn. I was told the agressive skin cancer I had on my face was because the frost damaged skin can not produce the protecting Melanine as it should.

I hope you do not feel I am idly nattering, going about things I have no clue on or trying to dominate this conversation, given that I am from there and have spent a bit of time doing what the OP asks about?
 

Brynglas

Full Member
Is it better to pay for private lessons for whole family or two lots of £99 plus a £70 or so for our son? Also chill factor do the same course in one full day, split over three weeks with 1 hour 50 sessions or iirc two half days. Same actual ski lesson time just ranging from intense all in one hit to three bite sized lessons with a week between them to mull over what you've been taught.

Which is best option? We live best part of hour and half away from the place.
You and your Mrs could take a lesson together, but you'll be needing a separate lesson for the six year old.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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I hope you do not feel I am idly nattering, going about things I have no clue on or trying to dominate this conversation, given that I am from there and have spent a bit of time doing what the OP asks about?
Maybe you just cannot stop yourself. :lol::)

I'd say carry on with the civil part of your conversations. But, I'd also say that experience is no guaranteed measure of wisdom. Any number of people get themselves into no end of tricky situations, or just end up doing the wrong thing around these parts and, ahead of their blunders, they'll all tell you all about their great confidence in their own authentic experience and get pretty aerated if you question it. Me included.

Didn't know you were a soldier, Janne. Thought you were a dentist. Whenabouts was that?