By its nature, skiing is a pretty gear intensive activity. Between all that clothing needed to stay warm in cold temperatures and the specialized gear that makes it possible to slide downhill on snow, every single one of us requires a pile of stuff just to head to the hill. Not even the littlest skiers among us—the ski bums of tomorrow—are immune.
Those reading this have likely already begun indoctrinating—I mean teaching—their children about the virtues of snow using some of our handy tips. Now we’re going to tackle gearing up your little skier, so you have the right ingredients for a great day on the slopes. Here’s what you need to make it happen.
Generally, the clothes your kids need for skiing are just a shrunken versions of what adults wear. Just be wary of over layering the kiddos to the point they look like the Michelin Man out there. Discomfort and restricted movement beget crankiness, and heaven help you in the event of an urgently needed bathroom break.
Base layers made from wicking material (wool or polyester) will help moderate little shredders’ temperatures. It’s as functional for them as it is for us, except they tend to look insanely cute instead of kind of weird while walking around in a patterned matching set after getting off the slopes.
This can be a puffy layer worn under a thin shell jacket or, more likely, an insulated ski coat. Usually, kids will stay relatively warm with a base layer, some kind of mid layer (like a fleece vest or similar) and an insulated ski jacket. Remember, the right amount of layers is better than all the layers.
The only people I know who still ski in pants are in the pocket of big belt, so start your kid off on the right foot with bibs. They’re warmer, they keep the snow out better and they’re frankly cooler looking. Look good, feel good, ski good.
Dexterity isn’t important here, but warmth sure is. I recommend the kind of mittens that zip over the coat like these Baby Zip Long Mitts from Hestra. They are way easier to get on and off 30 times a day, which is about how many times you’ll be doing so over the course of 90 minutes of skiing, and they won’t lead to dreaded wrist claustrophobia.
Kids’ heads are relatively enormous (see: the always entertaining forehead and skis tripod seen on the slopes adjacent to magic carpets), so help protect those domes with a helmet from day one. Building good habits from the beginning is easier than trying to make them happen later. Sunglasses work in a pinch, but goggles not only help keep kids’ eyes from cooking with reflected sunlight but will also help keep helmets from sliding all over the place.
I’ve found these items to be particularly helpful for skiing with kids.
While I’m certain there are some ski instructor types who will beg to differ with me, using an elastic band with clamps to help keep your kid’s legs from straying all over the place makes things a whole lot easier. The original Edgie Wedgie has been helping little skiers pizza since 1970.
A variety of backpacks, harnesses and vests exist that all have the same general purpose: to help guide little skiers down the hill and hoist them up off the ground and onto the chair when they’re flopping around like overcooked noodles. My personal favorite is the Lucky Bums Ski Trainer Harness, which is lightweight and has removable eight-foot leashes that offer great versatility for teaching different levels of skiers. They also save your back from bending over all day.
Don’t leave home without ‘em.
Everything else I’ve mentioned is useless if you forget to bring pocket snacks. Outright bribery and immediate reward through the use of sugar-laden treats are the key to a successful day with young skiers. Fruit snacks and M&Ms are personal favorites.
All the gear in the world won’t help you if you aren’t out there to have a good time. Keep it fun, and your little shredder will be on their way to ski bumming in no time.
Anything we left out that you like to bring along for gearing up little skiers? Let us know in the comments!
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