YOUR GUIDE TO KEEPING KIDS WARM & HAPPY ON THE SLOPES
There’s nothing better than sharing your passion for the slopes with your kids, but as they feel the effects of cold and altitude more keenly, it’s important to pack everything they need. Whether you’re preparing for your latest or your first family trip to the mountains, we’ve got you covered. We've teamed up with travel experts SnowTrex to create a guide that covers everything from what to pack to how to make the most of your trip.
Nothing spoils everyone’s fun quicker than getting wet and cold, and since kids are more sensitive to cold temperatures than adults, their ski cgear must be warm and insulated.
The below list will ensure that you get everything you’ll need to keep your kids warm and happy.
Designed to keep both wind and snow out, many kids garments will have more insulation than adult versions, as kids lose heat more quickly. Remember you may also need a warm jacket for evenings if you buy a one-piece suit.
Specially designed ski/snowboard pants will help keep little legs warm and dry, and since kids love nothing more than rolling around in the snow, you should choose a pair with a high waterproof rating to keep them dry no matter what they get up to.
Layering is just as important for your kids as it is for you – using different layers helps trap heat and will keep your little one warmer on cold days. Plus, let’s face it: kids aren’t great at being uncomfortable, so by using layers, you can adjust what they're wearing to make them more comfortable. Whether you choose a fleece or insulated jacket, a mid-layer will easily pack into your daypack, so you're ready for changing conditions.
As an extremity of the body, hands will get cold first, so a warm, waterproof pair of gloves or mittens are essential. Ensure the gloves or mitts cover the wrists, as your child will feel cold if they’re exposed. You may also want to consider mitts or gloves that attach together or even their jacket to prevent them from getting lost.
Bear in mind that mitts can often be warmer than gloves as fingers are less exposed, and they’re easier for smaller children to put on.
Goggles are another vital piece of kit, even for babies that are not skiing, as bright sunlight and glare from the snow can cause damage to their eyes. Goggles create a complete snow-proof seal around the eyes to protect them from ultraviolet rays. Make sure you get a good fit and tighten the strap enough that the goggles will stay in place no matter what.
A wicking base layer worn under ski clothing will provide extra warmth and draw moisture away from the body. Plus, with lots of fun prints and colours available, it’s easy to find some thermal layers that your kids will love wearing.
Thermal accessories such as gloves and sock liners will give extra warmth for cold days.
Just like hands, little feet feel the cold quicker than other body parts, so choosing ski socks is a must to keep your child comfortable on the slopes. We recommend choosing a longer length sock that provides additional warmth to the legs.
Like adults, kids lose most heat through their heads, so keep it in with a hat. A warm kid is a happy kid!
The sun’s rays are more intense in the mountains, and damage occurs quickly with the reflection from the snow. Always use a high factor cream because even in the heavy cloud, you can burn as kids burn more easily.
Off the slopes, your little ones are going to need something to get about the resort that’ll keep their feet warm and dry. Look out for boots that are durable and easy to fasten, and with any luck, they’ll be slipping their own boots on and fastening them up to get out and play in the snow.
Many resorts won’t allow kids on the mountain without a helmet, including all Italian resorts. Although you can rent a helmet, you have no assurance on the fit and quality of the helmet, which could compromise safety. That’s why we strongly recommend buying a helmet and ensuring your child can fasten it correctly. You should make sure the helmet meets the CE 1077 safety standard and consider choosing one with a chin guard for extra protection.
Don’t forget your helmet. Children learn through imitation; by setting a good example and wearing yours, your kids will follow.
Whether you plan on buying skis or renting in a resort, you must know how to gauge the right size skis for your children. As a rule, skis should reach at least the armpit but not reach higher than the shoulder.
If you plan to buy skis, you should avoid buying skis for your child to grow into, as the extra length and weight will hinder their progress. For the best experience for your child, we recommend coming into your nearest Snow+Rock store for a ski fitting. Plus, at Snow+Rock, we offer a buy-back scheme on kids’ hardware, where you can trade in old ski or snowboard hardware and get 20% off a like-for-like purchase.
Like skis, whether you plan on hiring or buying ski or snowboard boots, it’s important to get the right fit. Buying boots that are too large can reduce your child's mobility as it disrupts their ability to transmit energy through their boots. Boots that are too small will be uncomfortable and hamper enjoyment and progress.
If you’re hiring at the resort, make sure you ask your child if the boot feels comfortable and check for tight or loose areas to try and get the best fit. And don’t be afraid to go back to the hire company if they later complain of discomfort.
Investing in skis boots for your child will help them get the best possible experience of the mountain as they can get boots tailored just to them. At Snow+Rock, we offer a free boot fitting service and can even make custom footbeds for optimum comfort from the first time they wear them.
Other things to consider when choosing kids ski gear
- Kids’ ski gear should be well-fitting. Clothes that are too big or small can impede their ability to ski and can become a hazard.
- Choosing colourful clothing will help you keep track of your children on the slopes.
- Avoid picking garments with cords that can flutter in the wind, which could present a potential hazard.
- Pack extra gloves, hats and socks and keep them in your backpack – you can quickly change or replace them on the go if they get wet or lost.
- If your child is learning to ski, don’t worry about hiring or buying ski poles, as they’re best avoided until they’ve gained more experience.
Top tips for ski holidays with kids
Once you’ve gathered everything you need for your kids, there are a few other things you need to consider before hitting the resort:
Book your child into the resort’s ski school before you arrive. Ski schools usually offer specialised courses for kids which combine skiing and playing in designated practice areas. They’ll get the best tuition, and you’ll get some time to have your own fun on the slopes before meeting up with them later in the day. Most ski schools cater for kids from the age of three or four, and this is a good time for them to learn as they will pick it up quickly.
Keeping your kids safe on the slopes can be a worry for parents but follow our tips to put your mind at ease:
- Dress your child in bright and distinctive clothing so you can identify them on the slopes.
- Write a note with your contact details on it and pop it in your child’s pocket just in case you get separated.
- Don’t use lifts your child isn’t comfortable with, as this is more likely to result in an accident. For safety reasons, chair lifts are out of bounds for children shorter than 125cm, so plan your skiing accordingly.
- Although a leash can be great to keep little ones close by around the resort, avoid using it on-piste as it will impede their learning process and become a hazard to you, your child and other skiers.
ADJUSTING TO ALTITUDE
kids find adjusting to high altitudes harder, so you need to give them time to get used to it. Try to avoid taking them to altitudes of 1,500 metres or above, and once at the resort, pay attention if your child is feeling tired or is quieter, as high-altitude intolerance could be the reason.
CHECK THEIR BINDINGS
Remember, kids are fast learners, so not only will they soon be out-skiing you, but they may also need their bindings adjusting more frequently. Let a specialist help you with the adjustment if you’re not confident doing it yourself.
ENJOY YOUR TIME TOGETHER
At the end of the day, a ski holiday is exactly that - a holiday - so the most important thing is to make sure you enjoy your time together. With the right gear and pre-planning, your trip will run smoothly, and you’ll pass on your love of the mountains to the next generation.
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