So we ski.. a lot. Emily is on the ski team and tonight starts night training at Brighton. That is a whole other blog as my kids love night skiing!
Especially at night, dressing the kids properly can be tricky. What is the best brand? Mittens or gloves? How many layers? This can be a challenge, especially for those just starting out. I recently got some friends and their kids started and they have lots of questions. So, I will categorize my favorite items-doesn't mean it's the best-but through many trials, this is what works for me. I do this blog every year and add more items and knowlege.
Another tip, have everything ready the night before. It's hard enough to get yourself out the door, but kids as well who are sleepy, wow, it's a mess. So I set everything out the night before, including their clothes, load pockets with snacks, even load skis in the car and then in the morning it's just about eating, dressing and out the door.
Thermals: My favorite brand is Terramar. I have it for myself in the waffle baselayer and it is so warm. You can find it in waffle or not. It is a little hard to find for kids. Ski 'N See has a good selection and good prices. It is a great underlayer for a much smaller cost than some of the high end stuff and just as good if not better. My kids have the thermolater layer pants and have rarely been cold. On very cold days, I will pop another stretch layer over their baselayer. I just grab cheapy leggings from Target and they work fine. Although, they both fight it and say their thermals are enough! For the top, I also have the Terramar for Emily. It comes in a turtleneck or crew neck. I couldn't find her size in a turtleneck so she has the crew neck. Underneath that I put just a cheapy turtleneck and oftentimes this is enough. On cold days I will put another layer top on as well. I got some stretch type tops or fleece tops over the top from REI and they work as well. The key is hitting end of season sales to stock up for next year.
Socks: Euro brand. I have tried other brands and haven't had luck. They stay up high on the leg, they are warm, they don't wear out. We have other brands and when I ask the kids which ones they want to wear...their Euro socks are always the choice. If you can buy 2 pair, great, otherwise one is enough. They come in different thickness choices, I tend to get the thicker ones. One major tip..put the kids thermals on before their socks. Once the thermals are on, pull them up to mid calf, then put the socks on and pull up as high as you can. Why? Only the socks should be in the boot, not thermals, pants... this will spare you a lot of crying as the termal seam is right on the ankle if you don't pull it up and will squeeze in their ski boot. Snowboard boots aren't an issue.
Neck and head: I did a blog on finding the right helmet fit last season. My kids wear 2 different helmets because Emily races. She has to be in a hard eared helmet for racing. Poc makes one of the best hard eared helmets. I will warn you...they are expensive and tend to fit pretty tight. Emily knows it is important and is fine with it. But, it isn't necessary for everyday skiing as long as the kids have a helmet. Bren has the Giro helmet which has been a favorite of mine since the beginning since it has an adjustable knob in the back to grow as they grow. It is safe, affordable and comfortable. Balaclava is another must have. No questions asked, my kids wear them on any day it is snowing. It is a head sock that goes over their head, fits fine under their helmets since it is thin enough and covers their cheeks. This year I bought one with a nose breathing hole-reference my photos. Emily now wants mine-go figure-so I'm letting her wear it tonight. It does help with the snot/ice build up under the nose. (sorry for the gross factor). On cold days, on top of the Blaclava I put their gator. I bought the Bula brand because it is soft-guess who wants that now..Emily. I would wear a gator not matter what. Even on semi cold days, it makes a huge difference! Even if the kids don't put it on, put it in their pocket. Which leads me to the next category.
Outerwear: Pockets...my how jackets have come along. There are so many pockets you can't remember where things are. This is a good thing as you can stuff lots of things in the kids pockets. Their pass can be zipped in one, chapstick in another, a little pocket money if they are in a lesson, snacks-getting to this- and for Emily a few Calico Critters for the ski experience. I don't have a favorite brand. I do like the shells with a little thermal lining since I normally dress my kids for the north pole. I like hoods and nowadays all jackets come with powder skirts-refer to photo. They can be snapped together inside to keep the snow from going up their back. Don't go cheap on this. If they are cold, your day is miserable and done. Lots of ski shops have great sales and you can get a really nice ski jacket for under $100. Bren got a new Killtec jacket this year. Since he is a boarder-as he reminds me daily-it is a longer jacket. This is good as he is on him bum a lot to snap into his bindings. I would buy a little bigger size to get a couple of years out of it and also to layer. As on my photo, I would pack a bag with layer options into the car. On a semi cold day, I put a fleece jacket under the jacket. On a cold day, I put a big puffer jacket..yes I do! Emily has a nice little puffer from REI and when it is cold, on it goes. She doesn't like it, but in the end thanks me. Since they are squishy, they can be pushed down underneath. Pants, I like one a little more insulated. I've stuggled with Bren as he is shorter, but found a nice DC pant this year. Note in the photo, the elastic on the bottoms. Put those over the boot. This prevents snow from getting in them. Emily has 686 which I've been very happy with as well.
Mittens vs Gloves: Mittens. Even for Bren who has to take his mittens on and off, still warmer. I prefer the Burton mitten. I have the youth vent mitt. It has a zip on the top that you can put a hand warmer in or use to vent the hands. Always get a high mitten...period. You can stretch it over their jackets and cinch it down. I'm still searching for that "magical" mitten, but for now, this is my choice. I will sometimes put those little cheap stretch thin gloves in their pockets in case. They do make mittens with built in fleece gloves inside. I've heard great things, my kids hated them...oh well.
What to put in pockets including snacks: I'll start with hand/foot warmers. I prefer HotHands brand. Emily has cold feet. I must use the whole insole warmer in her boots. The self adhesive is best! We tried the ones that slip in and it didn't work. I tear off the back and stick them directly in her ski boots. Some stick them on the socks, but then they can bunch up when they put their foot in the boot. I also put one pair of toe warmers and one pair of hand warmers in each of their pockets in their pants. That way, they have them handy when needed on the slopes. Snacks...variety of choices. I like nuts and nuts mix. It has a good sustaining protein. Also, any bars work. We like the Clif Kid Z bars and the yogurt protein bars. I normally put 3 bars or snacks in one pocket of the jacket. The other pocket is used for the extra glove or gator.
So there you have it. Again, this is just my list of favorites, you can use it as a guide. After all, a warm kid full of snacks leads to a happy kid!
And...the pattern is a changing out here in the west. You in the east will be happy about that as a change here means the deep freeze lifts out east. More of a digging pattern out west will lead to many little storms riding through. Right into the weekend we'll be looking at fresh pow! The National Weather Service has the forecast very busy. Enjoy!