We recently ventured to the gloriously beautiful Australian Snowy Mountains for our second family snow holiday with the kids.  After experiencing two very different snow holidays in the last few years, I thought I’d share a few tips based on what I would do differently next time to help you have an awesome additive free snow holiday with your kids.  Some tips are food related for different tastes and budgets, and others are just to make things a heck of a lot more enjoyable for everyone whilst helping you save time, money and family feuds along the way!

Despite loving a surfing holiday a little more (click here for my blog on a holiday with kids to Byron Bay), I recommend everybody take their kids to the snow at least once, as it truly is a thing of wonder to see the white capped mountains and the biggest grins on your kids faces as they make the obligatory snowmen and have snowball fights.

So here are my 10 tips to help make your snow holiday with kids awesome and additive free…










1. Pack food for the slopes 

For those new to the snow holiday, let me give you the number one tip…  From our experience, food at Australian snow resorts is pretty much additive laden yukkiness…  The choice is usually hot chips, bad burgers, and dodgy sandwiches.  There may be a few tired looking salads available, but who wants a salad on a cold snowy day?  Doesn’t really fuel the kids up with energy or warmth.

So, I recommend bringing your own soup or risotto in a thermos, sandwiches, lunch nibbles, snacks and organic, homemade or additive free treats (they’ll work off the treats in no time in the snow!).  Pop a homemade muesli bar in your kids snow jacket pocket, or bring along some easy to eat fruit (mandarins, bananas or apples work well in winter), vege sticks and cheese and crackers and you have snacks to keep them going until lunch.  Bake or buy a loaf of bread before you leave home, freeze some slices in single portions and bring along some cheese or easy sandwich fillers and you have lunch ready to save you not only cash, but also any side effects from the ski fields food!  And if you bring along an esky, you’ll find there’s not a problem keeping things cold in the snowy weather!

As for drinks, bring lots of water.  Despite being surrounded by snow, you will get really thirsty and dehydrated.  So be sure to pack plenty of water and maybe even your own thermos, hot chocolate and herbal tea – ready made hand warmers and calming agents when in need of a little defrosting and relaxing amidst the chaos… Plus it saves you about $50 for hot chocolates and water every day!

2. Pack food for brekky and special diets too  

If you’re staying in a village at the snowfields or even at motels nearby, most places offer breakfast as part of your accommodation package, in which case, try your best to select the cereals or cooked breakfasts that are most likely additive free.  To make it cheaper and additive free, bring along a bit of muesli, yoghurt, fruit and a few bowls and spoons and you’ll have energising additive free brekky to get your family through the first half of the snow filled day.  Want to go the extra step and have a warm cooked brekky?  Get accommodation with a microwave or stovetop, bring along some organic porridge sachets, or go the whole hog and bring your own eggs and bacon to really fuel up your family for a day of snowboarding or skiing.

If you’re gluten free, there aren’t a lot of eating options at some of the little towns and snowfields, so you might be quite restricted to a single bakery as the only lunch or brekky option if not on the snowfields…  And the bakeries are not usually gluten free friendly, or at least not boasting a wide range.  Be prepared, phone ahead to your accommodation and check what options they have, and/or bring your own bread!  Save yourself the concern or pain and bake a quick loaf before you head off to the snow and freeze it in easy to use portions.  Most places are happy to use your bread to make a sandwich.

Alternatively, when at restaurants, if you haven’t phoned ahead, remember to ask before ordering, and be creative!  I noticed a creamy chicken pasta on the menu and couldn’t see anything remotely gluten free, so I asked for the creamy chicken with rice instead of pasta and they were happy to oblige.  I am not coeliac, only gluten sensitive, so whilst there may have been a little thickener in the sauce, it was certainly more gluten free than pasta.  For breakfast, we went to a bakery, and it was as easy as having bacon and eggs without the bread (although the bacon did have preservatives in it…).

3. Have a plan b for just about anything!

Pack extra clothes, socks, shoes, beanie, scarf, gloves, towel, suncream, entertainment (e.g.: card game, travel game, books).  The weather can be unpredictable in the mountains – one day it can be raining, the next sunshine, the next snowing heavily… Be prepared for any weather, and have two of everything just in case.  Gloves get wet really quickly when making snowballs!  And if you are heading to the Selwyn slopes, you will be a fair hike from your accommodation, so it’s best to have all extras packed in the car just in case.  Plus, when packing food to take, remember to take more than usual as everyone will be especially hungry after a big day on the slopes.


4. Get savvy with your exit plan

At the end of a big day in the snow, everyone is usually at the end of their tether.  Kids are tired, hungry and spent.  Parents are tired, hungry and wishing they were younger.  Everything is wet, soggy and hard to get off.  If you score a not so good day, it could also be raining, windy and super cold.  So, plan your exit in advance!  Know your kids breaking point and nip it in the bud half an hour before it happens!  Have the quickest, easiest clothes to change into if you have to travel from the slopes to your accommodation – travelling with wet cold kids is not pleasant, and changing them in a carpark sucks even more if they’re cranky!  Have some entertainment or tag team production line type strategies in place – saves the tantrums in the carpark, your sanity and gets you quicker and closer to that après skiing drink you so rightly deserve!

5. Conquer your fear, try something new and know your limits!

Unless you are a snow bunny from way back, this tip will apply to you.  Snow sports require conquering a little fear but I highly recommend overcoming any anxiety and hitting the slopes with gusto – it’s never too late! Snowboarding is truly awesome, as is skiing or tobogganing for that matter, and a little ‘me’ time and exercise can do wonders for cleansing the mind and soul.  Some of the most rewarding and memorable holidays will be the ones where you try something new and different as a family.  It creates lots of funny moments, opportunities to bond and maybe even some inner healing (it may take a while to see the funny side but give it time!). So rather than just watching the kids playing in the snow, why not find your inner child and try tobogganing, snowboarding or skiing?  Don’t know how you can get kid free time?  Tag team with your partner to watch the kids, hit the slopes whilst they kids are in a lesson or making new friends in a kids club.  If the kids are old enough, learn along side them.

We’ve only been to the snow twice.  We’ve all surfed before and love a good holiday that involves a bit or exercise in some form – whether its riding, surfing, walking, we’re up for it.  Makes for sleepy kids at the end of the day and good appetites, plus means you can eat next to any dessert and not worry about the waistline so much 🙂  But snow holidays are just that little bit different.  It’s one of those activities that involves a whole different way of moving, and if you haven’t skied or snowboarded before, you’ll feel a whole new lot of muscles you didn’t even know existed!  I learned the hard way on our second trip to know my limits and stop when my body says enough.  Ok so I didn’t stop when I should have and went a bit further and consequently I was typing a blog instead of enjoying one last run down the slopes on our last day, but take my advice and learn from my mistakes!!

Exercise and fitness is really important to me, and very much a part of my relaxation and strategies to stay sane and calm, however I am not as fit as I’d like – certainly not fit enough to be able to hit the slopes 3 days in a row for 8 hours straight without paying the price… Please learn from me and know you limits!  It is ok to go grab a hot chocolate and chill out watching the kids have a blast in the snow whilst your body recuperates for a wee moment!  After all, in the end it’s about the kids and the whole family having fun (not your ability to carve up the slopes), and this is much easier to achieve if everyone is happy and healthy.









6. Have the right gear

If you feel the cold and prefer the sun and surf to the snow, then this one is for you.  Invest in some good woolen thermals, socks and a neck warmer or buff to cover the most exposed bits and extremities.  It’s the difference between frozen toes that you stop feeling mid morning, and going home comfortable feeling you didn’t get too affected by the icy chills…  Yes, your little ones keep moving all the time and don’t seem to feel the cold as much, but their little bodies will notice the chill in the snow and even with the right gear, will still need regular breaks to warm up with a hot chocolate and thaw out the extremities. You don’t have to head to the expensive stores either – places such as Aldi and Target have reasonable prices for snow gear.

8. Soft snow is better than icy hard snow (when learning and falling a lot) 

Learning to ski or board is much easier if you score a day where it actually is snowing and beautiful soft powdery snow covers everything.  Aside from making it pretty to look at, it’s very nice to learn to ski or board – makes for a soft landing!  My kids cheekily mention to all and sundry that I ended up with a sore tailbone and sunburnt face after our first snow trip… Well let me tell you, with the little experience I have in different conditions, I feel like a pro after boarding on soft snow!  It was actually the hard icy stuff that caused all the tailbone grief… yes,  not my lack of coordination at all, merely the conditions!  So my tip?  Check weather reports and if you have the flexibility, go for days with snowfall to break your fall…

9. Last minute deals count – a lot! 

Snow holidays can be rather expensive, but there are ways to avoid paying a fortune.  We managed to make a booking within a week or two before going, and scored a mid week deal to Selwyn.  The total for three nights was less than the cost of one nights accommodation in the Thredbo village, and it included a basic brekky.  The deal also included kids eat for free for dinner if the adults eat, however the options for meals were mainly deep fried yukkiness, so we opted for paying and getting a meal for the kids with slightly less consequences.

10. Finally, a little on accommodation…

We’ve tried two types of accommodation in the snow… one at Thredbo and one at Adaminaby…  So basically one was for hardcore snow lovers and regular skiers, and the other was very much a family friendly atmosphere.  There are pro and cons to both, so heres a few…

Cost – It will always be cheaper to stay a little outside the snow village away from the slopes.  The least expensive option being a holiday rental with your own facilities to cook, but as we discovered in our last trip to Selwyn, you can find cheap motel options too (see last minute deals tip above).

Slopes – The family friendly Selwyn slopes are definitely set up for families with kids.  We’re fortunate enough to have kids at an age where they can go off by themselves so the family friendly place was just perfect for letting them hit the smaller easier slopes without needing us by their side very five seconds.  Plus the beginner slopes are not overcrowded (especially if you go during the week) and don’t have the high level ability skiiers using the same slopes – so you don’t have to dodge and weave and worry about running into anyone! For families with little kids, I wouldn’t go past Selwyn – it’s set up for lessons and families who have little ones and lots of understanding parents who know just what you’re going through when they hit the wall and have had enough.  There are plenty of places for the kids to just play around in the snow out of the way, and dedicated slopes for toboggans and beginners.  Thredbo also has beginner slopes, but we found them to be a lot more crowded and more akin to the intermediate and advanced skiers/boarders.  If you’re an intermediate or advanced snow athlete, definitely search outside of Selwyn, but if heading for family fun, you can still get some good snow time at Selwyn and have the family friendly atmosphere to boot.

Easy access – Staying at thredbo or any village has it’s advantages too.  You are right there in the snow – no driving, no carting 6 tonnes of things in your car and doing the change in the carpark, etc, you just step outside your room and hit the slopes.  Of course, you pay for this convenience… quite hard.

Stairs – Most village accommodation involves lots of stairs, which means you are lugging prams, suitcases full of winter gear, kids, snow gear, etc up a lot of narrow stairways to get to your room.  Our stay at Adaminaby was much easier with a room on the ground floor, car park right outside the door of the room and no stairs in sight!

Room size – Quite often, the rooms in village accommodation will be made for little people only…  there’s no space to spare and no storage.  Accommodation set ups for Selwyn or outside the villages are always roomier and far easier to fit a family with all the paraphernalia.  We managed to get a huge family room with loads of space, a mini fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.  Plus they had a games room for the kids to wind down at the end of a big day whilst waiting for dinner, with all the old favourites such as air hockey and foosball for them to make friends with the other kids they’d met on the slopes. Of course you can get villas on the slopes/in the villages with more room to move, but you will pay quite a bit for the privilege.

In the long run, family friendly accommodation makes for memorable kiddie time (games room, new friends etc) and staying at Adaminaby was definitely family friendly.  We scored when it comes to accommodation, price and weather, which meant at the moment, we favour the Selwyn stay.  That said, the Thredbo experience was great too, especially since you could step outside your front door and be surrounded by snow and with a quick walk to the slopes it was all rather convenient (especially when knackered at the end of a big day on the slopes!).  Depending on your family size, age and budget, you’re bound to find something just right for you.

So there you have it – a few tips to help you have an awesome snow holiday with your kids.  As mentioned above, I discovered some of these tips the hard way and have learned from my mistakes!  As a consequence, we paid the price for some of the food our kids ate whilst in the snow and suffered a little as a result…  I strongly recommend taking on board some of my tips and learning from my mistakes too so you can have a happy family snow holiday… additive free!

Have fun in the snow!

Loren x