Everyone heads to the slopes to have a good time. With little ones, this means also staying warm enough, being well fed and NOT tired.
As far as clothes go...I go the cheap route. At least when they're 4 and under. I take Em to her lessons and see a lot of the kids outfitted from head to toe in designer gear. Not us... we have Target brand all over. You know it is hard enough to keep the kids in shoes, pants, socks from year to year let alone jackets and boots. So, I decided that for the first few years, we'd get our snowpants and boots from Target. Ok, I know it's not cool, but up until now; they've worn their winter gear about 10 times max. Now that Em is a skier, we're going for the big time next year! This time of the year is the BEST time to shop. All the winter stuff goes on sale and you can stock up for next year so your kids don't have to wear the Target brand. By the way, snowpants and boots aren't that warm. Check out Ski n' See. They post new deals every week and if you keep up on it, you can really save a lot over time. After all, we can't afford the $150 ski pants for our kids; but keep an eye on end of the year sales and it is worth it as they are waterproof and much warmer than my generic brands; but they've worked until now.
As far as underlayers, I would invest in a good long john, underwear every year. Layering is best. Patagonia makes a nice underlayer and is worth the money. Get the tops and bottoms. Ski n' See will have a variety to choose from. You can wear them even on a day in spring/early summer in the mountains if it's cool. If you're like me, you justify expensive clothes if you can pass them down to another child. Since we have cheap snowpants, I also put another fleece-like pant over the long johns to ensure they stay warm.
Socks.... had a bad experience to start and then found the RIGHT sock. We got a Euro brand. They are long..you don't want short socks as they bunch up right at the ankle where the ski boot hits and causes pain. Also, get one with a good elastic on the top. They will stay up all day. NEVER cotton. Good socks...another important investment. If the kiddos have cold feet or sore feet...miserable day for all. Another tip... put sock OVER the long johns and pull the long johns up a bit over the ankle. If that bottom cuffed part is at their ankle....pain...it bunches when you tighten the ski boot.
On top... good jacket. No, we didn't go Target with the jacket. Make sure it is waterproof. You can buy up a size and get 2 seasons of wear out of it. Put the long john layer on and maybe a sweatshirt/sweater over that. If they get too hot, they can always take their sweater off; if you don't have it...too cold...miserable.
ALWAYS get a helmet. When we were fitted with our skis at Ski n' See, we also were fitted with helmets. They will help you find the right fit for your kids. They won't need a hat as the helmet is lined. Get them a gator. It is a fleece piece that slides over your head and you wear at your neck. Keeps the neck warm and you can pull it over the cheeks as well. An inexpensive must have for every skier. They will also need goggles (gobbles as Emily calls them). Your retail person will also help you find the right fit for the kids. You don't want them too big.
Mittens....probably the most frustration I've had. Which are the best, which don't work. How many of you have lost mits, bought them and put them in a bucket? Let's count how many $$ you've spent and continue to spend on these!! My pick...Scott. Don't get the zip ones on the side...it is impossible to zip them over the jacket. Em has some old Scott ones that are long with no zips and gadgets. They have a big elastic so you can put their hands in and then stretch the elastic like crazy to go up and over the jacket and 1/2 way up their arm to stay on. No falling, no losing them, no trying to put the jacket over the mits ...sorry, doesn't work. If you find these, buy 3!
Snacks....kids are always hungry. Emily woke me this morning to tell me "I'm starving to death". Since you are in the cold, I pack the pre-packaged cheese, cheese sticks. They go well in a pocket and stay cold. Trail mix in a baggie a good treat. They get peanuts, raisins and a little treat of m and m's. Anything like crackers, goldfish..no; they crumble up. Also, granala bars... turn into weapons. Come on, you know you'll need a trip to the dentist after biting into one of those frozen bars. Fruit chews work well. Those little bags are small and fit into your pocket. After skiing, you can treat yourself to a yummy burger at the resorts or you can pack a cooler in the car with some sandwichs and have a little picnic when you're done. If your kids are like mine, they think that is great fun!
Nap before you go or get an early start. When they are tired..forget it! Make sure they are hydrated, but use potty before you start. Instructors are very good at taking potty breaks and making sure they have enough to drink. It is amazing how people forget to drink plenty of water when out west. Remember...it's very dry here.
In the coming weeks, we are going to take part in some non-ski family activities. After all, those little legs get tired faster than our big legs and you still need to entertain them. Stay tuned for that and as always...if you have some great suggestions for gear; let me know. Happy shopping as the sales begin!
Emily continues her weekly lesson at Deer Valley. Her first blue run last week!! Will let you know how the finale goes. They will be doing a little show...I'll have video of that. In being creative and keeping Brennan busy while Em was skiing, we went to visit a fire station. Did you know you can just knock on the door and have a tour. Being into fire engines, it was a big hit!