As a parent we gain so much joy introducing our little ones to activities that we grew up enjoying. Skiing is a perfect example, or for some parents, snowboarding. The goal is to keep smiling all day long.
First of all the best way to keep the smiles lasting all day long is preparation. I once had my kids at Whistler for the day skiing and when we unloaded in the parking lot my eldest (12 at the time) didn’t have a jacket because we were ‘Spring Skiing’. It was Minus 10 and snowing. I should have been prepared and done an inventory of clothing and equipment before we left the driveway.
When dressing your kids for a day on the slopes remember the same basic principles you used for outfitting yourself. Warmth and dryness is as important for your toddler. With the price of a lift ticket you don’t want to be dealing with a cold wet 4-year-old halfway through the ski day.
• Baselayer (or underwear)
It comes in varying weights and fabrics. There are two avenues you can go with under layers – Merino Wool or Synthetic. The Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from the body as well as insulate. This is also your most economic choice. Merino Wool has the same properties as synthetic but it also is anti-microbial which helps keep odour down. Important for those multi-day ski trips.
• Ski Jacket and Ski Pants.
Here on the West Coast the focus is on Waterproofness (East of the Rockies the focus is more on warmth). Waterproofness is measured in mm, with the higher the number, the more effective the garment. The minimum number you should look for is 10,000 mm to keep your children dry while skiing on our local mountains. Any ski clothing worth buying also has ‘Critical Seam Sealing’. This is when the exposed seams of the garment ( the front and shoulder seams) are sealed underneath to keep the moisture out. From an economic standpoint another feature to look for are the grow cuffs. Obermeyer was a pioneer in this technology.Check it out here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwABBibjlHA
• Gloves or Mitts
Mitts or Gloves? This is personal preference. What is important is that they fit properly and are warm and waterproof. There should be room at the end of your fingertips and not too tight across the back of the hand. If your little one is a skier and is using poles make sure they have a good grip. Also make sure there is no gap between the end of the jacket sleeve and the start of the glove/mitt.
Must come up past the top of the boot and preferably have some wool in the content for warmth and wick-ability. No one likes sweaty feet.
Yes, your kids need googles. Remember the goal of the day is smiles at the end of the day too. Double lens goggles are the way to go, even for kids. The reason? Double lens goggles have less of a tendency to fog up. You should buy your helmet and goggles at the same time or at least try them on together before the first skiing day.
A must for everyone. Do not buy a helmet with room for growth, unless the helmet has built in adjustments. Both the K2 Illusion and Giro Launch are Junior helmets that have adjustments for growth allowing for up to 3 sizes of helmet in one. Do not buy a used helmet as you do not know if the helmet has been in a serious fall. All snow sport helmets are single impact. This means with a substantial fall the helmet should be replaced. Be careful with ‘hand-me-down’ helmets even with your own family. When to replace your helmet? Check this out: https://www.sportsprotective.com/blogs/news/when-to-replace-your-ski-helmet-or-snowboard-helmet
• Gear Bag
Nothing is worse than getting to the ski hill and one of the kids has forgotten gloves or goggles or one boot. You have the picture. The best way to stop this from happening is for each person to have their own gear bag that stores each skiers stuff. After the day of skiing dry everything out and then return it to the bag.
Now you are ready to hit the slopes. Everyone will be dry, toasty warm and safe and ultimately smiling. If you think you can teach your kids to ski, think again. If your kids have never skied, book them in a series of lessons it will make everyone happier. When my kids were little we would take them on a 4-day ski holiday, book them in lessons for 3 days. On the 4th day they got to ski with Mom and Dad. It was a perfect opportunity for them to show us all the places they went on the mountain and all the little tricks they learned. We did this for years and it became the norm for a ski vacation.