Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

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Mum_in_London
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Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby Mum_in_London » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:31 am

Hi All,

I could really do with your advice as we are planning our first ski holiday since having our son.

We are planning to go skiing in April, and our son will be 20 months old at the time. We want to ensure that the resort we go to has decent snow for so late in the season and our thoughts are going to a resort in Canada - potentially Whistler.

Because of the flight time, we are likely to stay there for around 10 days over the Easter period, which is the middle of April this year.

We are intermediate / advanced skiers, and want plenty of diverse slopes but as our son won't be skiing yet we also need a good creche or nanny service, and plenty of toddler related activities for those non-ski days.

Does anyone have any recommendations and/or advice on the above? I'd also really appreciate a steer towards good, reliable agencies that know the resorts, organising family holidays and can help us plan a stress free holiday.

Thanks in advance!

Kirstin
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Mellomumma
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby Mellomumma » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:39 pm

We haven't been to whistler in a while but last time crèches were not offered to children under 18months and if you look on the whistlerblackomb website you will find that you get links to everything from spas to childcare.
I have heard the nanny services are also excellent. I don't have any specific recommendations but of friends who have been there with kids they have had no issues with their choices.
Personally, whistler/blackcomb are my husband's and I favourite ski resort, we felt it really challenged us to improve our skiing. The resort is unlike anything in Europe, they do things different in North American and that is a good thing! We have been there late march and had tons of fresh powder.
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NYVANLON
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby NYVANLON » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:06 am

I lived in Vancouver for 6 years and Whistler is unbeatable for skiing/snowboarding and they are having a particular good season for fresh powder this year, which means snow will be good in april.

We used to use http://www.babysittingwhistler.com when our kids were too young for snow school. There is also so much to do in terms of activities for children (ie great playground in the village, sledding, library and First Nations museum, as well as most hotels have pools, etc).

Enjoy!
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kindfacilitator
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby kindfacilitator » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:08 am

Suggest you call local agent Karen at Travel Matters http://www.travelmatters.co.uk
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wicket
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby wicket » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:48 am

Look up Silver Star.
It is safe, extremely family friendly, not crowded, has some very challenging stuff for the more advanced skiers and there are lots of other activities like sleigh rides and snow cat rides. It has a daycare facility which you can book for either half days or full days. I took my son when he was 22 months and we had a great time - we are going back in December when he will be nearly five.
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juliantenniscoach
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby juliantenniscoach » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:16 am

Whistler is awesome. Possibly my no.1 place to ski in the World. Facilities are great too. Because it's not too high and on the coast it doesn't get that real bitter cold that resorts like Lake Louise get to. Don't worry about it not being high, it is north and on the coast and average nearly 30' of snow per season. They are ahead of average at the moment.

It is a long flight with the transfer from Vancover about 2hrs unless you really splash the cash for a helicopter!

Try Ski Solutions in Wandsworth for making your arrangements. Although I only went there without children I can't imagine the facilities won't be to your satisfaction.

Have fun!
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MrsOctober
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby MrsOctober » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:46 pm

Went to Whistler with the kids last Christmas. It is undoubtedly the best ski resort in the world. There were 7m of snow in the first 5wks of the season last year. Most mornings we'd wake up to 30cm of fresh powder. Our kids, 8 & 6 at the time, did Adventure camp. We dropped them at 0830 every morning and collected them at 4. There is a purpose built kids-only centre half way up Whistler Mountain, where they have lunch, snacks, hot chocolates etc. There's indoor soft-play there, where they warm up, dry off. There's also a huge adventure playground designed for kids wearing ski-boots, where they get taken by their instructors when a break from skiing is needed. All kids wear a GPS tracker, so parents can find them at any time and parents also receive an email when the tracker is put back in the charger, detailing the child's movements, speeds, favourite runs etc. All instructors are either Canadian, Australian or Kiwi, and they're all enthusiastic and really kind to the kids. I can't think of anything they could do better. I realise all this is a bit advanced for your 20mth-old but hopefully things you will get to experience on return visits.
When we arrived in Whistler we had already been on the west coast for 10 days so jet lag was not a problem, but expect horrendous jet lag when you arrive. Friends of ours have been going to Whistler every year for 10yrs. They have got it down to a fine art. Get off the plane at Vancouver, push your airport trolley out the doors of the terminal building, turn left and walk a few hundred metres to the Fairmont Hotel at Vancouver airport. Go straight to bed and when you wake up early (and you will) jump on the bus to Whistler, which actually stops outside your hotel doors. All bookable via the Whistler Blackcomb website (from memory there's a freephone number from the UK and they are unbelievably happy to help you) It's about 2-2.5hrs from the airport to Whistler as you have to work your way out through the city first (Vancouver is beautiful, so it's great to see it in daylight) You'll get to Whistler in time to get all your gear and have a day's skiing. If you're only there for 10 days, stay on an early schedule, get up early, have a nice breakfast out, get the first lift and then finish early and have an early dinner. That way the time difference won't hurt as much. There are plenty of people out having supper at 5, who are then in bed by 7.
Another top tip is rent everything there. All the kit in the rental shops is top quality and bought new every season. At the last minute I decided to leave my ski-boots at home and I am so glad I did. I got to choose from several brand new, unworn boots, all much better than my own, although this was all near the start of the season. Keep an eye on the Whistler/Blackcomb website which will show offers with all the rental shops. You will LOVE Whistler. The Canadians are the nicest, happiest, friendliest people on earth. The only downside is that it will be tough to ski in Europe afterwards. x
Last edited by MrsOctober on Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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livegreen
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby livegreen » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:45 pm

Whistler is great but with a 20 month old baby I would not contemplate it due to the long haul travel and the disruption it will cause to you and in particular your child's routine both ways. Do not underestimate the impact of leaving your child with strangers when they are already out of their usual surroundings.
If it were me I'd head to the high French resorts for a week max. No jet lag, short flight or train. Snow in val d'isere, tignes and 3 valleys is generally good to late April and plenty of childcare options.
Alternatively get parents/ in laws to stay with baby and have a long weekend skiing - less hassle and worry.
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dudette
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby dudette » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:10 pm

I can concur with pretty much everything mrsoctober said about Whistler - we have been almost every year since 2008. We've only been at Easter once but the snow was about the best we've ever had (and it's always good).

You can book the whole thing yourself really easily without going through a travel agent. Just call Intrawest (number on the Whistler-Blackcomb website) and the world's friendliest agents will sort out your transfers, accommodation, lift passes, equipment hire and childcare.

The BA flight gets you in at bedtime Canadian time and the airport Fairmont hotel is at the end of the check-in area. It's supremely comfortable. We have never had a problem with jet-lag going out although we tend to get up early and eat early (5.15 dinner - trust me you won't be alone in the restaurant!). Jet-lag coming home is more of a problem especially as it's an overnight flight, but I wouldn't let that put you off.

Yes it is a long way to go to ski when the Alps are so much nearer but the snow is so much better than anything I've experienced in Europe and Whistler is so family-friendly I think it's worth the trip.
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Mum_in_London
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby Mum_in_London » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:11 pm

All,

Many thanks for all the great pieces of advice, really helpful!

@NYVANLON - I heard that the powder is currently great in Canada and good to hear from your experience that this means April should also should have good conditions

@juliantenniscoach, MrsOctober and dudette, we have always skied in Europe (and once in Argentina at a resort called Las Lenas whilst on honeymoon - seriously do not recommend it), however have been thinking of trying somewhere like Whistler for the experience and the ability to improve our skiing for a while. @MrsOctober, dudette, thanks for detailed advice on how to make it manageable, the idea of getting off a plane and then taking the time to have a sleep ahead of the transiting to the resort is fantastic, one of the major worries was trying to cram all the travelling to the resort into one long trip, Breaking it up with the stay at the hotel seems really sensible. We do have our own equipment, but like the idea of being able to rent out very decent equipment definitely appeals and not carrying / worrying about our own. @dudette, amazing that you have been doing it every year for a while now. We hadn't really looked into booking it all ourselves, as we wanted it to be stress free in terms of planning etc., however will look into this as well as the recommendation from @kindfacilitator and speaking to Karen. @wicket, thanks for the tip on silver star also, will investigate as you had done it with a child in the same age range as us previously

@dudette - not sure if you had to use the childcare facilities, and if so if they were for younger children then those of MrsOctober? If you did, where you impressed and did you go with any particular company?

@livegreen, absolutely take on board your points about the difficulty with trying to do this with child who will only be 20 months at the time and the potential stress and impact on routine. Our thinking is that since we want to go somewhere for 10 days, then doing Canada would be worthwhile and we haven't actually skied in North America previously. The fall back options of doing somewhere in the Alps is always there, and who knows, if seems to crazy to tackle Canada this year for us, we may do that. At the moment we are keen on Canada (even more so, as spoken to a few people who have just come back from there and were seriously impressed with what it offered).

Thanks again all,

Kirstin
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dudette
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby dudette » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:27 pm

Hi - the first time we went our son was about 2 1/2. We dropped him off at the resort childcare (we happened to use the Blackcomb one that time but there's one on the Whistler side and in Creekside too I think.) We left him all day while we went skiing and he was fine. I suggest you call Intrawest - as I said before they can arrange everything and if you don't want to book with them they'll still explain how it works. Intrawest basically runs the resort as far as I can tell. It's all totally integrated. Only thing to bear in mind is they operate on Pacific time so you have to call late afternoon onwards. Another suggestion for you is to come back via New York - spend a couple of days there and then fly home. There's an Air Canada flight to Newark from Vancouver and you process US immigration in Canada.
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mummyof1
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Re: Skiing Advice: Canada with Toddler in Late Season

Postby mummyof1 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:51 am

My favourite skiing and very jealous - to add to the praise of Intrawest - They are just all so helpful - Skied before children and after - think my dd was 3 so she was at the creche on the actual mountain collected each morning by a little train from the lift base and off they went. She just adored and was exhausted by the end of day so we didn't have any sleep problems with her - just us a bit - but agree that you eat so much earlier in Canada - its the norm - we actually found a be weird when there without kids trying to eat after 8.

Good luck and enjoy
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