Travel trends are constantly evolving from one year to the next. Gone are the days when a widely accepted idea of a vacation was lounging on the beach for sun-lovers or being cooped up in a cabin in snowy mountains. Research shows that travellers are now more than ever drawn to adventure oriented type of holidays.
Snow holidays can be an enriching experience for both parents and kids. Skiing is a sport that kids can learn at a young age and continue doing, well into adulthood. Whether your kids are new to skiing or they are seasoned skiers, there are many health benefits- both physical and mental.
- Improves cardiovascular endurance and health
Skiing is a physical exercise that helps with staying in shape and maintaining fitness. Being on their feet and sliding down those steep slopes will improve your kids’ heart rate and help burn calories. According to Bethany Garner of Ski Club of Great Britain, “skiing is good for you because it works for the major muscle groups. Walk up the slope rather than using the ski lift- which really works out the heart and lungs, making it a good overall workout.”
- Strengthens leg and lower body muscles
If you have ever tried skiing even once, you know how just how much balance and coordination are required. Kids have to use their core muscles to support the upper body and their leg muscles to balance on the skis. This also helps improve their balance and coordination.
- Good for bones and joints
The constant tension placed on knees, ankles, and feet helps strengthen legs which reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
The psychological benefits include:
- Appreciation of the outdoors
Being outdoors is a great way to escape from the stressors of life; being surrounded by nature is a good mood enhancer.
- Improves proprioception
Defined as a person’s ability to feel the position of different parts of the body, proprioception is an integral part of skiing. The coordination and balance involved in skiing require a lot of mental focus resulting in improved mental consciousness of body parts.
- Improves confidence and encourages bonding
Skiing is not an easy sport, it can be quite intimidating for first-timers. After many failed attempts, seeing your little ones finally soaring down a snow covered slope without any help will surely bring delight to both parents and kids.
With all the benefits of skiing, your next vacation should absolutely be a snow holiday. If this has you eager to head off on a skiing holiday with the family, Olivier Hannaert, MD of Club Med Southern Africa (experts when it comes to snow holidays) has provided a list of things you’ll need to take with you on your first snow holiday.
For the slopes:
- A waterproof ski jacket and pants to keep you dry
- A buff is a really versatile accessory that can serve as a scarf, a balaclava or a doek. If it’s really cold, take along the triple B’s – buff, beanie and balaclava
- Goggles shield your eyes from glare, wind and snow. Make sure yours are anti-fog so that your vision doesn’t get all steamed up.
- Ski socks are a must. They are nice and warm and padded in all the right places
- Absorbent under gear. Skiing or snowboarding generates a lot of heat, and you’ll probably work up quite a sweat under all that waterproof clothing. You need something underneath that will keep you warm without getting wet
- A go pro or cell phone camera to capture the experience and take the inevitable selfie on the ski lift overlooking the slopes
- Sunscreen is very important unless you’re happy with a ski-mask tan. The snow is really reflective, so you’re exposed to the sun’s rays from above and below
- If possible, carry a bit of water with you. It can get very dry out there, especially once you get going
For the resort:
- Warm clothes and shoes, as well as comfortable casual gear – t-shirts, takkies, etc. While it may be cold outside, it’s nice and toasty in the resort!
- If you like dressing up, be sure to check if there are any theme nights and come prepared for those. There are usually some great prizes to be won. You wouldn’t want to miss out.
- Costume for the pool or jacuzzi (if available at your resort)
- Waterproof shoes if you plan on walking in the snow
Most importantly, bring your spirit of adventure. Oh, and your appetite… the food is delicious!