Preparation is Essential
When bringing your children to the slopes, your preparation can make the difference between a wonderful day of memories or a miserable day of whining. Follow these helpful hints and you are sure to have a successful outing:
Call the ski area ahead for reservations for both lessons and childcare, especially on weekend and during holiday periods. The ages for child care do vary at resorts, so be sure to ask when you call. Make sure you have all of the equipment needed for your lessons. Most areas require children to wear helmets in their classes. Check for special deals at your favorite resort. Often children under 6 will ski for free!
Dress for Success
Dress your children properly in lightweight breathable layers with the first layer being a “wicking” type of fabric, such as polypropylene long underwear, followed by a turtleneck, sweater or fleece vest, and finally covered with a breathable waterproof or water-resistant jacket. Make sure your children are equipped with a hat and gloves or mittens. A great deal of heat loss is through the head, so hats or headbands are especially important in weather changes. Mittens generally keep hands warmer than gloves. Mark all clothing with your child’s name (first and last name). Choose socks that are a wool blend, not cotton, and check to see that the boots are warm and dry before heading out to the slopes.
Protect your Kids From the Sun
Children need to protect their eyes, so goggles or sunglasses are important. Sunscreen and/or wind protection will help to protect delicate skin. Have your child wear sunscreen in any kind of weather, as the sun reflecting off the snow (even on cloudy days) can cause sunburn.
If your child is enrolled in ski school make sure they know the name of their instructor in case of separation. For beginners, instruct them to stop and ask for assistance if they get separated rather than try to find their own way down a mountain. Some resorts require that children be toilet trained for program participation, so don’t forget to ask when making your reservations.
Make sure your child has your name and telephone number written down in a zipped pocket. Make sure your child knows when to stop skiing. For example, if the clothing layer next to their skin stays wet and they are getting chilled, if they suspect an injury, if a boot or binding is not fitting properly, or they are just worn out. Ski helmets are also a good idea. If your child wears a ski helmet, remember you may have to raise your voice more to get their attention. Arrange a meeting place if you get separated (for example, at the bottom of the Galloping Goose Lift).
A good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast will make your child’s day on the slopes a lot more fun. Bring small, nutritious snacks to eat on the chair lift and boost energy. Hydration is essential. Bring lots of water and drink it often. Take frequent breaks to warm up, go to the bathroom and drink water.
Don’t Push Them
Consider a day on the slopes as another way for your children to play in the snow. Make sure they are warm and having fun. Don’t push your kids to ski in areas that they are uncomfortable with. Skiing requires strength, endurance and aerobic ability, which are areas where all children have limits. The key is to end the day on a positive note so they will want to come back again!