Snow holidays: the perfect family getaway

 Photo: Aedan O'Donnell


"Mum, watch this!" With that my four-year-old son was off, gliding down the slopes like he'd been doing it for years. It was day three of our family trip to the snowfields and while I was still mostly concentrating on staying upright following our family ski lessons, the kids were carving up the slopes and showing their mum how it's done.

Learning to ski, or snowboard, together is a great bonding experience but it is not the only reason a snow holiday is great fun for all members of the family, big and small.

From the excitement of catching the first glimpse of snow out the car window, to playing board games while keeping warm by the fire at night and, of course, building a snowman - a trip to the snowfields will provide memories for years to come.

However, like any holiday, it pays to plan ahead. So here are some tips on how to make your snow holiday a great one.

Have a good old-fashioned family snowball fight

Even if they are not into skiing or snowboarding, children are still captivated by the magical appeal of snow.

Playing with snow is a whole new experience for them and there is nothing more satisfying than rolling up a cold snowball and throwing it at your brother or sister - just for fun, of course.

Find a resort, such as Thredbo, with a large snow play area, where the kids can build snowmen, make a snow angel and go tobogganing or tubing. The best part is this kind of family fun is free!


Enjoy a feast with Christmas in July

Why should Australians miss out on a white Christmas? Sure, the fact that Santa arrives in the middle of our summer makes the likelihood of snow on December 25 fairly slim. However if your family is lucky enough to be holidaying in the snowfields in July why not make the most of it and enjoy a Yuletide feast in the middle of the year.

Lots of resorts and restaurants in the snowfields, such as Thredbo, put on a special Christmas in July lunch or dinner. Not only will you be able to enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner with all the trimmings while the snow falls outside, but your kids just might get a chance to see Santa on the slopes.

Most venues are still finalising plans for this year's Christmas in July so, once you confirm dates for your trip to the snow, be sure to check websites for event details and make a booking.

Catch some fireworks and go night skiing

Fun on the snowfields doesn't stop when the sun goes down. Not only do many resorts offer night skiing for adults and kids, there are also firework shows that light up the night sky over the slopes. At Thredbo, there is also a kids' flare run where the little ones get to ski down the mountain at night with specialised ski instructors. Make sure you check the resort websites for details about dates and times.

Go for a swim - yes, really

If the kids, along with mum and dad, want to take a break from ski lessons but still want to get out and be active why not throw on the swimmers and take a dip? Sure it might be a bit chilly outside, but snowfield leisure centres have heated pools and lots of other sporting facilities for families to enjoy all year round.

The Thredbo Leisure Centre is a five minute walk from Thredbo Village and even features a Waterslide and Mission Inflatable obstacle course the kids will love.

Enjoy the alpine village atmosphere

Whether you are staying on snow, or a short drive away, there is something special about the village atmosphere at alpine resorts.

There are cafes, restaurants and bars to try out and gift shops to browse through. When your family is not busy skiing or snowboarding, grab a coffee or hot chocolate, sit back, relax and enjoy a bit of people watching together.

Of course, like any family holiday, it is up to you how much or how little you do during your trip to the snowfields.

Whatever you choose to do while you are on the slopes, one thing is guaranteed - the kids will definitely beg you to take them on another snow holiday. The main reason my boys wanted to return was so they could brag about how much better they are at skiing than their mum.

Thredbo is Australia premier snow resort. With award winning kids programs and a family friendly village right at the base of the mountain it has everything a family needs. Check out Thredbo's family snow holiday guide