Crystal Ski childcare at Passo Tonale ski resort, Italy

girl in snow at Posso Tonale ski resort, Italy

“We’ve gone out on an adventure, and we’ll be back at 4.30pm. Love, the Crystal Ski childcare gang.”

It was day two of our family trip to Passo Tonale in Italy with Crystal Ski Holidays. D and I were back from the slopes at 3pm, and had decided to pop down to the Kids’ Club HQ. How were the children settling in to their Crystal Ski childcare? Did they want to come out of the club early, to hang out with Mum and Dad?

We needn’t have worried. Whizz Kids (now renamed Beanie Bear Club) was possibly the best kids’ club we’ve experienced – and we’ve tried a fair few. Our five- and eight-year old both wanted to carry on with their Kids’ Club adventure, out in the snow. Here are some of the reasons why we’ve been raving about Passo Tonale’s Crystal Ski childcare since coming back from our Christmas ski trip.

girl on button lift at Passo Tonale Italy

Our kids had a blast at Passo Tonale

The kids loved their ski kids club

On the way back from our week in Italy, Gwen (aged five) kept asking when she could go back to Whizz Kids. It was a big hit. The Crystal Ski kids club team – all qualified to CACHE level three or above – clearly loved their jobs. Most of them worked with children all year round. In the summer, they usually just transferred across to the childcare team in a Tui sunshine resort.

Sammy, Passo Tonale’s childcare manager, who “likes singing and hates snakes”, according to the friendly introduction written about her on the clubhouse wall, told me that some of her staff didn’t even ski. Childcare was their profession first and foremost, and it showed.

Gwen developed a real bond with a couple of the staff. And the team did a great job of looking after Austin when he was poorly and had to come out of the club, offering board games to keep him occupied while he was recovering from a sickness bug.

crafting station at Crystal Ski Whizz Kids club

The crafting station in the Kids’ Club HQ

Family skiing made easy

Skiing with young children is never easy. In the past we’ve found parts of it a struggle – like first thing in the morning. Strapping them into ski boots, doing up jackets, helmets and gloves, and making sure they arrived at ski class in time, all takes a mountain of patience. The Crystal Ski childcare took all the pain out of this process, and made the morning ski routine, with our eight- and five year-old, feel like a breeze.

children in Crystal Ski childcare clubhouse

All ready to be kitted out for skiing in the Kids Club HQ

The new club house at Passo Tonale was in our hotel, the Grand Hotel Paradiso. It was an easy journey in the morning, from bed, to breakfast buffet, to club HQ. The children padded in at 8am each morning, dressed in their ski socks and base layers. The rest of their kit was stored in the clubhouse and the locker room overnight. The staff did all the hard work of helping Austin and Gwen into their salopettes, jackets, jumpers, ski boots, skis, goggles and helmets, ready for ski school at 9am.

girl in Crystal Ski childcare

The staff kitted the children out each morning in salopettes, jackets, gloves and boots

Apart from when we were hiring and returning the gear, we needn’t have ever touched the children’s ski boots or skis, unless we wanted to take them out skiing in the afternoons. All this meant that D and I could head off to ski by ourselves, drink thick hot chocolate in the hotel’s Ombrello bar, or take a gondola up the glacier, to sample the local bollicine. It felt like a real treat.

wine bottles in bar on top of glacier at Passo Tonale Italy

Bubbly with a view in the mountain hut on Presena Glacier, 3,000m above sea level

Fun programme of activities

After ski school, the childcare staff took the children back to the clubhouse for lunch. I ran into them a couple of times after my own lessons, walking along in a gang and singing the Whizz Kids song (“we are the Whizz Kids! Mighty, mighty Whizz Kids”) as loud as their lungs could manage.

When we did our meet-and-greet on the first day, Austin and Gwen told the staff what they liked to eat, and we wrote it on their induction forms. This was relayed back to the hotel kitchen, so they could make sure the children had their favourite dish at least once during the week. Lunch was hot, and child-friendly – including dishes like chicken nuggets and vegetables, pizza or spaghetti bolognese.

children with bumboards at ski resort

Bumboarding in the kids’ club

Indoor play, with arts and crafts, brick building or soft play, was usually followed by an outdoor excursion. These included gondola rides, snowball fights and bum boarding. The club house was well-equipped, with a soft play climbing tower at one end, and a mini bouncy castle/ball pool at the other. The room was sound-proofed, but when I walked past a couple of times, I could still hear the excited shrieks and shouts of kids on the bouncy castle. Security was tight, with CCTV cameras outside the door, to capture any comings and goings.

boy throwing snowball at Passo Tonale ski resort, Italy

Snowball fights at Passo Tonale

Ski lessons for kids: Crystal Ski Holidays celebrated achievements

D and I both felt the childcare staff really ‘got’ our kids. With a decent staff-to-child ratio – one to eight for indoor activities, one to five for outdoors – there was plenty of opportunity for them to get to know each other. The children seemed to really bond with each other, too. The kids’ club group was relatively small, with around sixteen children. Gwen made some good friends, and even went for a little playdate in a friend’s suite one evening before dinner.

handprints on wall at Crystal Ski childcare club

The children all seemed to bond well in the kids’ club

The children’s ski school presentation ceremony took place on the last day, and the local instructors gave each child a medal, as well as booklet listing the skills they’d learned over the week.

girl in snow at Posso Tonale ski resort, Italy

Our daughter was proud to receive her medal at the end of a week’s skiing

That wasn’t the only presentation, though. At a festive ceremony on the last afternoon, the childcare staff awarded each child a personalised certificate. Austin was ‘Piste Prince’ – he really was pretty good on the slopes, for an eight year-old second-timer. Gwen, who adores art in any form, was ‘Whizz Kids Picasso’. The children all sang songs, recited poems, and showed off their Lego contructions to a crowd of eager parents. Even some of the tinies in Pepi Penguins, the nursery for children aged 6 months to four years, had a go at dancing.

It really was a lovely way to end the week. After the show, Gwen bounded off to throw her arms around the workers for a farewell cuddle, while D and I looked through the children’s artwork folders and holiday journals.

children at Passo Tonale ski resort, Italy

Our children loved their time at Passo Tonale, and the Crystal Ski childcare was a bit hit

Conclusion: a ski holiday with childcare takes pressure off parents (and is fun for the kids)

Kids’ clubs aren’t for all families. But on a ski holiday, where everyone’s at different levels and adults might want to try more challenging slopes (or even just relax, child-free), then the kids’ club is perfect. Crystal Ski Holiday’s kids club was flexible, so we could sign the children out whenever we wanted. We wouldn’t hesitate to use Crystal Ski childcare again. For us, it was the thing that made our holiday that extra bit special.

You can see our children enjoying the fun with Crystal Ski at Passo Tonale in this video:

Have you tried any family ski holidays with childcare? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Beanie Bear Club childcare (formerly Whizzclusive), includes kids’ club childcare for six days from 8.30am to 5pm, ski school instruction, ski equipment hire, a two-course lunch, and snacks during the day. It’s available at Passo Tonale to all children aged between four and eight, as well as five other Crystal Ski resorts in Europe. Pepi Penguins nursery is for children aged six months to three or four years, from 8.30am to 5pm. It doesn’t include ski tuition, but parents receive a daily routine and activities report.

We were guests of Crystal Ski Holidays for the purpose of these features. All views are my own.

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Crystal Ski childcare at Passo Tonale Italy

Read more about our trip to Passo Tonale with Crystal Ski UK in these features:

  • Passo Tonale
    A fabulous family ski trip to Passo Tonale, Italy with Crystal Ski


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  1. February 1, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    This sounds so perfect. Especially helping with the struggle of getting into skiing gear, doing up all the buttons, zippers and snaps. Is there one for adults 😉 . I’ve never been skiing but am slowly getting over my fear of falling over and breaking every bone in my body. Maybe next year I’ll try it out. #FarawayFiles

    • Nell
      February 4, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      I’ve often wondered the same about having someone helping me into my ski gear. It can be a struggle, especially on the very first morning!

  2. February 1, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    How fun! I used to ski quite a bit when I was younger, but ever since I’ve had kids I’ve stayed away. Quite possible because I remember what a shlep it was for my own parents getting us ready to go… Looks like you’ve solved that problem and had a wonderful time to boot! #farawayfiles

    • Nell
      February 4, 2018 / 6:33 pm

      Yes, this really was an easy way to do it. I’d recommend Whizz Kids to anyone with small children.

  3. February 2, 2018 / 2:13 am

    Oooh Nell. I am totally into that apres ski champagne action and it would be even better in the knowledge that the kids were having a blast at the Whizz Kids Club. Ciao, ciao, grazie! Sounds amazing

    • Nell
      February 4, 2018 / 6:34 pm

      It was such a relaxing way to do it all!

  4. February 2, 2018 / 4:10 am

    All I have to say is, thank god for kids clubs! How did our parents do it?!? Haha. Seriously, though, this one sounds pretty great. #farawayfiles

    • Nell
      February 4, 2018 / 6:35 pm

      It really was!

  5. February 3, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    Sounds like a great set up. Having never skied with kids I hadn’t thought about the palaver of getting them kitted out for the slopes each morning, how nice to have someone else do that for you! And I’m surprised there are staff in the resort who don’t ski, that is proper dedication to the job! #FarawayFiles

    • Nell
      February 4, 2018 / 6:42 pm

      Yes, they really were specialists.

  6. February 5, 2018 / 10:45 am

    The kids clubs sound awesome Nell! I love the idea of being able to completely relax and enjoy the slopes knowing that your kids are being taken good care of and having fun! Great video too

    • Nell
      February 7, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      Thanks, Lisa! x

  7. February 5, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    What a great club! Like you say, kids clubs aren’t for everyone but we have loved the ones we’ve tried. I can see how it would really work for a skiing holiday, especially the getting dressed and out the door part!! #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      February 7, 2018 / 12:24 pm

      Yes, that’s the most difficult bit about skiing with young kids, I found, so it was brilliant that they covered it all.

  8. February 5, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    This is AMAZING! I might check this out for our summer italy trip. I so want to take my kids skiing but I know they are going to do it for like an hour (maybe less) and then you need a place to entertain them, because I would want to continue skiing! #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      February 7, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      Yes, this club worked really well for that. They don’t run it during the summer, but it sounds as though Passo Tonale’s a good summer destination, too.

  9. February 5, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    Putting the kids ski clothes on truly is priceless! It sounds like they really do have it all covered. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      February 7, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      I know – it was such an easy holiday.

  10. February 8, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    This is such an amazing option Nell, I think the thing is that you all need a bit of time and being at different levels will give you that time to ski too. I think a great club can be wonderful for kids and give them a bit of freedom x

    • Nell
      February 11, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      We’ve always found that our children come out of decent kids’ clubs bursting with confidence. Whenever I tell them we’re going to a new destination, the first thing they as is, ‘is there a kids’ club’!

  11. February 13, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    We’ve tried a few kids clubs on the mountain when our kids were wee, some better than others. This looks like a guilt-free parents day out – a win-win for all involved. Now I probably wouldn’t use it every day on holiday, but nice to know that mom and dad can have a day date on the slopes sometimes too! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • Nell
      February 14, 2018 / 9:03 pm

      It was good for dipping in and out of. We loved it.

    • Nell
      February 19, 2018 / 8:21 pm


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