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  Ski & Snowboard with Kids >> Travelling to Hotham with a baby
UPDATE

Credit: Mount Hotham Skiing Company

Travelling to Hotham with a baby

Travelling to the snow with a baby isn’t as difficult as you think, as Jennifer Ennion discovers on a trip to Mount Hotham.

There are those who err on the side of caution and worry a lot. Then there are those of us who embrace the unknown and have one helluva time getting out of our comfort zone. Falling in the latter category, it surprises few friends when we reveal we’re taking our one-year-old son to Mount Hotham Alpine Resort in the Victorian Alps. We fell in love with the resort’s gullies, ridgelines and easy tree trails on pre-baby holidays, and are determined to continue this affair as new parents. So we pack for every potential weather scenario, plan easy baby meals, and hit the road for a family adventure of the wintry kind.

Reaching Hotham

Not only is this our first snow vacation with a baby, but living interstate also means surviving our first family flight. Organisation is key: toys, books and food are made readily available. Fears of an unruly experience, however, are quickly laid to rest, with our son wooing passengers in the Sydney Airport boarding lounge and making friends with QantasLink stewards on our way to Albury. Timing our arrival in Albury with his daytime nap makes the 2.5-hour private transfer to Mount Hotham reasonably smooth, and soon we’re winding our way through the alpine scenery to the whiteblanketed mountaintop.

UPDATE

Credit: Jennifer Ennion

Slopeside

A snow storm is blowing across the Alps as we arrive at Sambuca Apartments, comfortable and stylish slopeside accommodation with stunning views of the snow-dusted valley. A short stroll from the resort’s Village quad chairlift and Hotham Central (where you’ll find cafes, restaurants, ski hire and ticket sales), Sambuca is perfect for families. With two bedrooms, each with ensuites, a large kitchenette and lounge, there’s plenty of room for our busy bub to burn off energy (the drying cupboard is a huge hit). A port-a-cot has also been set up, allowing us to settle in hassle-free.


Snow play

With ski and snowboard school starting at age three, our tiny snowman has been pre-enrolled in Hotham Daycare, which takes babies as young as three months old. Having only spent a couple of “sampler” days in casual daycare at home (in preparation for our trip), we’re nervous about booking four full days. But it’s now or never. Plus, we can always swap snowboarding for snowball making if need be. With that plan of attack, we rug up our little man and head for the free shuttle bus. My husband carries bub and his backpack, while I hoist a snowboard under each arm: our ritual for the rest of our stay. The bus whisks us from Hotham Central to the crèche at the Big D Kids’ Snowzone, a few minutes down the road. Morning tears are occasionally shed, but overall bub has a great time – and we hit the slopes with minds at ease.

UPDATE

Credit: Mount Hotham Skiing Company

Adult time

Itching to make the most of the fresh snow that continues to fall, we cross the Great Alpine Road and drop straight into McColls, a black run full of powder. It doesn’t disappoint, and we carve our way across velvet snow, duck into trail-side eucalypts and hoot down Davenport Access back to the main resort slopes. There, I join an all-female crew of snowboarders for a women’s progression camp, while hubby hits his favourite runs. It’s a blast, made all the better by the assurance from crèche staff that bub has settled in well. Keen to instil our love of snowboarding in our son early, one afternoon we take him to check out the Burton Riglet Park. He’s too young to have a proper ride (it’s for ages three to six), but we give him a taste of sliding on snow.

Resort benefits

We celebrate day one’s success with a dinner at Hotham’s fine-dining Zirky’s Restaurant. Our 6pm booking means we have the place to ourselves, and when we arrive our table is ready, high-chair waiting. The waitress is kind and efficient, and understands we’re unsure how late our son will stay up. But, again, everything goes smoothly. In fact, it goes so well, we’re spurred on to try a few of the resort’s other eateries. The Bird, one of Hotham’s newest cafes, is a great breakfast option, and a cool place to hang while waiting for lifts to turn. Swindlers, an on-snow pub, is a chilled-out spot to grab an après beer and bistro meal. One afternoon, I even manage to get away for a massage at White Spa, returning with a takeaway Swindlers pizza. With baby in bed, hubby and I enjoy a movie night, with snowflakes tapping against the windows.

As with any good ski holiday, we’re exhausted by the time we head home. Our first family snow holiday has been a huge success – and that’s all the encouragement we need to make it our new winter habit.

UPDATE

Credit: Jennifer Ennion

Information

www.mthotham.com.au

Getting there

Hotham is 2.5 hours’ drive from Albury Airport. There are regular flights with Rex, QantasLink and Virgin from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Jetgo flies direct from Brisbane to Albury. Alpine Spirit Coaches will meet flights on request during the snow season.

Stay

Sambuca Apartments are in a prime location, with spectacular views across the slopes. They’re great for young families, as you don’t have to walk far to all of the resort’s main facilities.

Play

Hotham Daycare caters for children from as young as three months old up to five years. A full-day session, from 8.30am to 4.30pm, includes morning tea, lunch and an afternoon snack. You can also book half-day sessions.

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