Martin Bell’s Expert Advice: Top Tips for Families

The second part in our 2020 blog series with our friend and former ski olympian, Martin Bell, is full of useful information to help you out if you’re skiing with your little ones this year. Martin has shared his expert advice on the benefits of ski school and handy tips to keep your kids happy when the weather isn’t on your side.

Most little kids can learn to ski from around the age of three or four, and most ski schools will take them from this age, as long as they are potty trained. Even before that, kids can learn how to handle skis by wearing little toy skis made of lightweight plastic and just walking around indoors.


Parents should never try to teach their young kids to ski. The emotional dynamic is just not conducive to it. Conversely, if you put your child into ski school, it becomes part of the exciting outside world, just like school or kindergarten, and you will see most kids adopt a much tougher, more determined attitude. This is necessary because when kids learn to ski they fall down a lot, and they need to have the determination to get up by themselves.

Parents, when watching your kids learn to ski in a class, make sure they don’t spot you, otherwise, they’ll suddenly remember that they miss you and they’ll forget how much fun they’re having!


Once your kids have learned how to ride the lift, turn left and right, and ski down easy runs, then they will start to appreciate spending some time skiing with their parents. In fact, they will want to show off what they’ve learned. The best way for them to make progress from this point is to continue to ski in a class with their peers, but also to ski as a family from time to time.


When skiing with little kids it is important to remember that their attention wanders easily and that they can quickly become disheartened by difficult conditions or cold weather. Sweets and hot chocolate are always good for motivation. Long chairlift rides can be boring for youngsters. If you can think of games to play during the ride it will really help. This could be as simple as spotting the numbers on the chairs.

Kids love intricate runs that have a lot of interesting terrain; they particularly like narrow trails that wind through the trees. But being out on a big, wide open, steep face can be terrifying to them. If you find yourself in that situation with a child, the way to control fear is to narrow the focus: “just make one turn”, “let’s just ski down to that tree then take a break”, phrases like this will help. Distraction is also very helpful; for example, we all know that kids just don’t feel the cold when they’re having fun playing outside.


If your kid is naturally athletic and shows an early love of speed, around the age of seven or eight, is a great time to enroll them in a ski racing program. This can be done out in the Alps and back in Britain, at the dry slopes or indoor slopes. Racing is the best way to bring discipline and precision into their skiing. On the other hand, some kids just love to go off jumps, so they would be better in a freestyle program. In fact, for high energy kids, there is no reason why they should not enjoy both racing and freestyle for several years. If they show real talent, they will probably have to pick one when they reach their teenage years.

The best gift you can give your kids is a passion for skiing, a love of the mountains, and an appreciation of the natural environment.

If this has inspired you to take your kids skiing this year, please contact our travel consultants via the in-app message board and hear about our award-winning children’s programmes.