Sälen is the biggest ski resort in Scandinavia. We recently headed off for a Sälen ski holiday, being able to experience skiing in the country where we live for the first time. We were not disappointed and had a fantastic time on our Sälen ski holiday. This post is all about our holiday experience in the Lindvallen area. There will be another 2; one about the facilities and another about the specifics of skiing there. We were in the Lindvallen area, although the other areas are not too far away, extending the scope of your holiday very easily. The Sälen ski holiday area consists of Kläppen, Lindvallen, Sälenstugan, Högfjället, Tandådalen, Hundfjället, and Stöten. The main focus of the posts will be on the Lindvallen area as this was where our experience was (apart from some of our skiing where we explored further afield).
Sälen is a nine hour drive (including a 20 minute break) north of us in Sweden. So we were a little anxious about whether we would all survive the drive without killing each other. Also, the journey is not the best in terms of light (in the winter the sun rises late and sets early), with snow or ice on the roads at this time of year. For myself, it was nine years since I had last put on my boots and skis due to having children and not being able to ski for juggling the childcare aspect when we did head away. So I was bloody excited to be getting back out there!!! The children were brilliant on the drive north and we arrived at our Sälen ski holiday at 5pm. Check in was swift and easy, and it wasn’t long until we were settled into our self catering apartment for the week. It was beautiful. Spacious, comfy, and full of everything we could possibly need for a week’s stay.
Day 1 of our Sälen ski holiday saw us first heading for our ski hire to pick up the equipment. This was just Swedish efficiency at its best, and what could have been a very painful job with three children in tow turned out to be simple, easy, and painfree. Then it was off to ski school for the trio for a glorious hour and 15 minutes. This meant Dadda and I would get some ski time together which has not happened since December 2008 when we had some grandparents on holiday with us. The little lady (10) was in level 2 as she’d had ski lessons in Finland 3 years ago, but the little men were in level 1 as they were complete beginners. So lots of excitement and anticipation. The instructors for both groups were so lovely, friendly, and kind that all three were instantly put at ease. So after dropping them off, Dadda and I headed off for some grown up time on the slopes and I was amazed to discover I could still ski, and for some reason I was even a little faster! Once we collected the trio after their lessons, Dadda took the little lady off to a big slope and I stayed on the lower greens with the twins. Unfortunately our little lady decided that turning was for the weak, and chose to head straight down from top to bottom getting up extremely fast speeds, and had scared herself somewhat by the bottom. The twins in the meantime learned the hard way that button lifts require you to concentrate, and not faff around on, after they lost their balance and came off them a few times.
Day 2 saw Dadda head off to a play park with the twins while the girls did a little retail therapy. We thought we’d try and ski before ski school as well but it was a slight disaster as twin 2 fell and really did twist his knee somewhat. So he went to ski school feeling a little sorry for himself. After ski school this day we decided to use the adventure swimming, one of several facilities at Experium. There are so many lovely facilities to use on your Sälen ski holiday, it is a wonder you will have time to ski. Needless to say everyone found something they loved from the wave machine area, to the jacuzzis, to the slides (we thought twin 2 was going to pop with excitement on those!), and much fun was had. We headed home with three tired but happy children, even with a slightly sore knee.
Day 3 and we thought we’d pack the car with all the ski stuff but head to the pool area first. This was mainly because it was quite busy after ski school in the afternoon. It proved to be a great decision and we more or less had the whole place to ourselves. They whizzed down all the different slides and enjoyed every minute. Then it was a lunchtime pit stop at McDonalds on the slopes. We didn’t use the “ski thru”….yes that really is a thing on a Sälen ski holiday, but ate in as it was quite windy and around -10°C. I for one didn’t want to try and eat my dinner with my gloves on! We picked the trio up from ski school and our little lady had had a large crash really hurting her back and so was quite uncomfortable. So with the twins being two eager beavers and wanting to ski more, I took the little lady for TLC in the form of hot chocolate and choklad bollar. We started to encounter a little difficulty with the issue of having three children and two parents and everyone wanting different things. So the afternoons from this point started to feel a little bit of a juggling act, especially as all three began to learn to ski at different rates with different amounts of success. We had to work hard at keeping everyone happy, challenged on the slopes, and warm and secure if they’d picked up and injury (2 down, 1 child to go!).
Day 4 of our Sälen ski holiday probably ended up being our most frustrating and requiring the most patience. Twin 1 took a gash on the back of the head from a low shelf in the ladies loo that we had to stop bleeding during our lunch break. We thought he was safe to take his helmet off for lunch! We’d now managed to have a full house of child injuries. Twin 2 was doing well, but didn’t like to “turn all the time”, but then faced getting extremely fast and frightened. Our little lady had had her confidence really bashed with her crash the day before and was feeling quite fragile physically as well. Whereas we couldn’t get twin 1 off his skis at the end of the day and he’d decided he’d like to try some big boy blue slopes thank you very much! We’d looked at the piste map and decided that after ski school we’d try and head off as a family onto a long green run that was reached by a chair lift. We felt this would be an adventure for all three, especially as double trouble had never been on a chair lift. However, our children had different things in mind! As we headed over towards the chair lift via a serious of little slopes, our little lady was getting more and more stroppy….bear in mind she is a tween and you will appreciate what is going on. By the time we got there she’d hit full on melt down mode and stropped off (as best as you can on downhill skis on the flat…some of the wind was taken out of her sails at that point!). We decided then and there Dadda would head up with the twins and I’d stay down with her. Suddenly twin 2 joined me too, as he’d decided he didn’t like the look of the lift. So, all change, and off headed Dadda with just twin 1. I calmed the other two down and I managed to persuade them to take the lift after 5 minutes. Well……..my first time on a chair lift with any children at all, and both decide to have full on panic attacks! I can only assume she was too far gone emotionally with her paddy as she has taken chair lifts before, but our fearless twin that will jump into a quarry pool from a 3 metre ledge was really not up for this. However, there was no turning back now. And just to add to the challenge the lift ended up stopping for a few minutes when we were half way up. Then there was just the small issue of getting them both back down the slope from the top crying and really stressing out. But they did it, they didn’t hurt themselves, and we headed indoors for more hot chocolates and cuddles as soon as we were done. Meanwhile twin 1 seemed to have found his calling in life and was seeking out more challenging slopes. After a while Dadda retreated indoors and I took over as twin 1 was relentless….up the lift, down the slopes on repeat….he did 7 hours skiing that day with only half an hour for lunch! Dadda and I also learned a few lessons about parenting during a family ski holiday that we could take away for another day.
Day 5 of of our Sälen ski holiday, much to our relief, was a huge success and the opposite of the day before. We visited the pool first. Today we headed into the outdoor pool which was very toasty, but we kept having to dip our ears in as at -10°C and with a nice windchill they kept getting rather cold! Next was lunch and then it was the final day of ski lessons. A big cuddly Valle (the resort mascot for the children) was out celebrating with them all as well. Off they went into class, and Dadda and I explored a different part of the area for just over the hour’s time we got. We went to get the trio and they were all so chuffed with their certificates, and then it was time for our family ski. We let twin 2 “lead” us across the green slope areas towards the bigger longer slope for twin 1. The little lady was happy just coming along for the easy ski as she still really needed her confidence building back up. Once we’d got to the long blue slope, I then navigated my way back over the green slopes again with twin 2 and the little lady. We did actually hit the bottom part of a red that then turned into a blue, but sssshhhhh don’t tell them as they were fine! It was very dark by now but it added to the sense of adventure. We collected the car and drove back to the apartment while the other 2 skied back from the slope where we’d left them once they were done. No one had been hurt that day (a miracle!), everyone felt they had done well, and they all got back home happy with the day’s efforts. Dadda and I were very relieved.
So day 6 and our final day of our Sälen ski holiday began. There was no ski school today, so we were free to hang out as a family all day with no timings to keep. We began with what had become our daily visit to the pool for an hour. We all unanimously agreed to start our last day of a our Sälen ski holiday in the outdoor pool to start with, as it is such an experience. After the slides and other pools had been played in, a spot of lunch, and a little shopping, we then all hopped into the car and headed 13km away to the furthest set of slopes in the resort. There was a mission behind this trip and that was for the children to see Trollskogen at Hundfjället. This is a trail of a little over 1km through the woods, looking at the lives of trolls on the way. You can listen to grandmother reading a story, listen to songs, chat to a troll on the loo (!), and amongst other things listen to various wooden carved animals making their sounds. It is a bit of fun for the families and often the path has an alternative deviation to the side taking in some mogels and more challenging bumps, and narrow twists. We thought it would be a lovely way to end our Sälen ski holiday. Our three loved it. Our little lady was leading the way and narrating everything to the mini men, and both twins were also doing all the little side tracks with their obstacles……they liked it so much they even spent 5 minutes climbing back up a bit of the trail (a huge effort on skis) to repeat the experience again. Twin 2 was really taken with all the trolls and carvings and everything he could see and hear. He also got to give his idol, Valle (the resort mascot) a huge hug and have a photo with him as he was out on the slopes where we were. It was then time to warm frozen toes with hot chocolates while Dadda went off in search of speed and black slopes for half an hour or so. We had also promised twin 1 he could try some harder slopes, but by the time Dadda finished the lifts were closed in this area. This was a shame as in the area we were staying we had some lifts open a lot later. So we started to drive home, and on the way we stopped off so twin 1 could try a black slope that was open. Bearing in mind he had only done blues as the hardest before, he was really challenging himself….plus it was only day 6 of his skiing career! And he only went and did it! He has really stunned us this week, with his lack of fear on skis and steep slopes. So then it was time to return all our equipment, and all three children were a little sad and said they did not want to leave, which was lovely to hear.
I can also honestly say I was not ready to leave for home either from our Sälen ski holiday. It has been an amazing week. Pre-children, after a week’s skiing, I was always ready to head home as skiing can be quite tiring as a holiday. However with three children in tow, getting them ready to face the Swedish winter elements, getting their ski kit on, cajoling them around when their morale or confidence is low, adds a whole new level of hard work to the experience. But……for some reason I am not as tired and it has been one hell of an amazing experience to have had with them, and I could have happily stayed here for a lot longer :-). Do you think you’d head off on a Sälen ski holiday?