Even though we live nowhere close to the great ski mountains, there are actually a few options for skiing in Indiana. Read on to find out details of our first Indiana skiing experience with kids! This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Not too long ago, we tried to escape winter by visiting one of our favorite indoor, winter attractions: the water park in French Lick. You can read all about why French Lick continues to be one of our favorite road trip destinations in our Big Splash Adventure post!
Since French Lick is just a few short miles from a town called Paoli, we decided we’d double the fun by bringing our ski clothes so we could ski Paoli Peaks.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the idea of skiing with kids isn’t a fun one. I’m not particularly patient when it comes to normal winter gear (coats, gloves, boots), so I dread the hassle of the extra layers and the whining that comes with being cold. (Naturally, I’m the one doing the whining. The kids are fine.)
But (with lots of help from other family members) I’m willing to bundle up and hit the slopes for the sake of our future family. Someday, we’ll have three lovely, capable girls who can zip their own coats, buckle their own boots, and use the ski lodge bathroom without dunking the straps of their ski pants into the toilet. (I have my doubts about ever achieving that last goal. Those straps can be pretty tricky.)
Thankfully, the reality of this ski adventure was actually more fun than the idea! After the frigid negative temps we’ve felt recently, the “freezing” air on the day we chose to go felt downright balmy!
Ski Paoli Peaks with Kids
My parents offered to entertain the toddler in the lodge, and my husband and I took turns skiing with the big girls (ages 5 and 7).
The girls have been on skis once before (at a ski resort near Chicago). So we knew from that experience that this quick day trip would be about building confidence, helping the girls feel comfortable on skis, and gently coaching the girls on how to control their pace as they turned back and forth down the bunny slope. This task was greatly aided by the ski harness our neighbors loaned us!
The harness allowed the parents to help the girls control their speed and get a feel for how to turn and balance. After an hour or so with the harness, our seven-year-old was ready to ski down the smallest hill without it!
Is the harness a perfect solution? No. I once dropped the straps getting off the ski lift, and I heard the operator say that “that’s why he hates those harnesses.” The straps could have gotten caught or tangled in the moving parts on the lift.
I noticed that other families opted for a ski tip connector instead, but I like how the harness made it so that our kids were never out of reach.
The slopes of Paoli Peaks aren’t big or steep–at least not in comparison to the slopes you’ll find in the mountain states. But we didn’t want steep, big, or challenging for our beginners!
The bunny hill ski lift was gentle and slow. Both of our girls managed to get off and on without falling. The same cannot be said for the bigger, slightly faster lifts we attempted. 😉 But the lift operators were always helpful and patient when our girls fell down.
Nate and I aren’t ski experts, but we’re confident, safe, and comfortable on skis. For families who are learning together, ski school/lessons are the way to go!
All in all, it was a great first experience for our first time skiing as a family in Indiana!