Skiing Spain Why Adventure?

Is the Perfect Holiday a Snowball?

Skiing at La Molina Pyrenees
Written by Kirstie Pelling

What is the Perfect Holiday?

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Last year we went skiing for the first time as a family. The children really took to it. It was hard to believe they had never been on a piste before as they hurtled down red runs at La Molina, Masella and Vallter 2000. But despite the vastness of the Catalan Pyrenees and the miles of groomed piste, it was removing the space between us that made this holiday so successful. It was bonding over the kind of silly, happy, quirky moments that you only get on holiday. At the beginning I worried how we’d all get on with the skiing, and by the end I believed that together we could stand on a mountain, launch off the side of the earth and fly…  

Family learning to ski in La Masella Pyrenees

Big brother helps little sister. Quality family time learning to ski.

My perfect snowball

What is your perfect family holiday? I’ve been thinking back on some of the amazing and varied things we’ve done this last year, scooting and paddling in Scotland, chilling in Barcelona, skiing in the Pyrenees, exploring the UAE, visiting The Philippines and Japan, and after much deliberation have reached the conclusion that the perfect holiday is actually a snowball.

Stick with me on this one; this metaphor may need a little unpacking. You see a snowball is a delicate thing, shaped by your own hands, made up of thousands of tiny snowflakes, all compressed together to create something bigger and more impactful than any of its parts. The snowball itself is fleeting, melting and gone before you know it, just like a holiday. But you never forget when it hits you in the face.

My perfect holiday snowball is made up of moments. The kind of moments you don’t get at home. The kind of moments that change a family, that change your view of your family and change your experience of being together.

A chance to be different

The perfect holiday is a chance to put the child back into your teenager, to see their personality emerge again out of a darkened bedroom. Or in the case of Matthew a snow cave.

A chance to shine

The perfect holiday is an opportunity for your child to shine in ways that may surprise you. Like when timid Hannah found her ski legs and was transformed into Hannah The Brave.

A chance to change places

The perfect holiday is a chance to swap roles and discover new things about yourself. Like when I relieved Stuart of his usual responsibilities as chief videographer, wearing a headcam to shoot some night skiing at Masella and discovering I could ski in the dark and shoot some quite funky video.

A chance to bond

The perfect holiday is a chance to be challenged together, to try new things, and to fail in good company. To fall over, get back up again, laugh together and help each other. And remember that’s what a family is. In real life. Like when we went  cross country skiing. Trust me you have never bonded  until you have all eaten snow together.

Making a snowball

The perfect holiday is like a snowball. See what I mean. You can make your own but only when the conditions are right. First you need the snow, a setting which excites you all. Then you go out and gather your snowflakes; those delicate, fleeting moments of experience that happen on holiday. Then you squeeze them tight in the palm of your hand, packing them together, removing the air until they become one.

That for me is the essence; the perfect holiday knits together the family team, the people that in daily life can find themselves living in separate spaces or virtual worlds. Spaces that grow in busy lives. Spaces that can get in the way of really knowing each other. Spaces that the perfect holiday closes.

Guils Fontanera, Nordic Ski Resort, Catalonia, Spain

Falling over and getting back up again, together. That’s perfect family stuff.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • You are so right about everyone behaving differently when on holiday. It’s family time that’s so different to any other time.
    Your skiing videos make me want to go skiing now. Perhaps I might think about booking a trip with my kids.

  • Do it now Steve! Our kids are still talking about our trip and it was last February. Have that quality time together, you won’t regret it! Thanks for commenting.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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