Lil’ Shredder in the Making – Skiing & Riding with Kids

Skiing with kids

The snow is falling in the high country and your dreams are filled with making turns in the white stuff. You might be contemplating when and how to get your little ones up on the slopes, too. Here are a few tips for making it happen, smiles included.

Get Your Game Face On

If you make a big deal about what a great adventure it’s going to be, kids will follow your lead and get excited too. The first time I took my 3- and 4-year-old by myself, they had a barrage of questions. I responded with, “I don’t know exactly, because I’ve never done this with you before either. It might not go perfectly but we’re going to figure it out together. That’s what makes it an adventure, right?!”

Get the Gear

It takes a ridiculous amount of stuff to get oneself up on the slopes, so multiply that by 100 with kids and it can feel overwhelming. Here’s what you need: Skis/snowboard, boots, bindings, helmet, goggles, and if you’re skiing with a beginner, I highly recommend a pair of  Edgie Wedgies.

You can rent skis/board, boots, and bindings {beginners don’t need poles} at several locations in Denver or up at the resorts. When renting at the mountain, the rates may be lower if you call or rent online ahead of time. If you think you’ll ski/ride more than 2-3 times, I highly recommend Colorado Ski & Golf’s Junior Trade-In Program, where for $100, they fit your child with used skis/board, boots and bindings, which you then own. The next year you receive a $50 credit when you trade in your gear and purchase new gear for $100. So, it costs $100 for the first year and $50 in subsequent years. This is our second year with the program and we love it, both for its cost-effectiveness and ease.

When it comes to helmets, opt for a youth size, one with an adjustable internal harness so it can grow with your child’s head. When selecting goggles, a medium-tint goggle works best with varying conditions.  You may want to check out the helmets that come with goggles attached.

If you’ve got a kiddo in diapers or newly potty trained, learn from my mistake and be sure to bring extras of EVERYTHING. And keep a pocket stash: tissues, chapstick, hand warmers, credit card, and a few treats.

Go Prepared

Before we even loaded the car, I called the ski resort with questions like, “where’s best to park with kids?” “where do we purchase our tickets?” “what bus do we take?” “where are the bathrooms?” “how do we get to the magic carpet?” I asked all the questions ahead of time because decision-making when I’ve got two preschoolers tugging on my sleeve is not my strong suit. Consider being prepared for the ride home too, by bringing extra snacks and activities, in the event you get stuck in the parking lot otherwise known as I-70.

Start With Full Bellies And Empty Bladders

What’s worse than a ‘hangry’ child on skis? Ok, a lot. But still, you catch my drift. When I took the boys, we hit up Chipotle RIGHT before we arrived at the resort and I even bought an extra quesadilla to go. Feeding the kids, whether it be breakfast or lunch, right before we hit the slopes is always a key play in my “Fun Will Be Had On The Mountain” game plan! But you know kids and their metabolisms, so I also carry a backpack on the mountain filled with snacks and water. You can either ski/ride with it or throw a few snacks in your pockets and stash the bag somewhere. Be sure to hit up the bathrooms before you head to the lift. In fact, we usually stop at the bathroom in the parking lot and again in the lodge before we start skiing.

Keep ’em Warm

A warm {and well-fed} child is a happy child. Mountain weather can change on a dime, so it’s best to come prepared with all the layers {which I just throw into a laundry basket and bring up in the back of the car}. Start with a base layer. Ideally this is a tight fitting top and bottom made with non-cotton material. That being said, I dress my kids in fitted cotton pjs and they’re just fine. On colder days, we throw a pair of fleece pants over them to act as an insulating layer. On top, we add a fleece or sweater and maybe two if it’s particularly cold or windy.

For the outer layer, aim for a jacket and pants that are windproof, waterproof, and breathable. I’m a fan of ski pants with adjustable bib straps for the littlest skiers/riders. Socks and mittens – these are the game changers, folks. I think it’s absolutely worth spending a bit more for quality socks and mittens. Socks made of wool or a synthetic are best. Make sure you use the same socks {or thickness of sock} when you are getting the littles fitted for their boots. When it comes to the tiny hands, say yes to mittens and keep those fingers as toasty as possible. Make your life easier by choosing a pair with side zippers, making it easier to slip them on over the jacket sleeves. Lastly, I highly recommend picking up a fleece neck gaiter to keep those little necks warm, as well. I found a great deal on these at the Sports Authority winter clearance – check it out!

Make It Fun

Keep it light, keep it fun. Play I-spy on the chairlift. Use food names like making a pizza for the wedge position to stop and french fries for when skis are straight. Challenge them to make the biggest pizza slice EVER. To practice turns, we label one leg sunbutter {we have peanut allergies} and the other one, jelly. You can bring stickers for them to pick from after each run. Tootsie rolls in the pocket is always a winner. Whatever you do, keep the smiles on and the fun coming.

Check Your Expectations

If you think your first time out will be perfect – that there’ll be no whining or tears and your child will master the hill and you’ll be hitting black diamonds by the end of the day – think again. Expect to do a few runs on the magic carpet and see what happens. That time I took the boys myself, I was prepared to bail at any point in the day. As it turned out, the day far exceeded my {very low} expectations and we had a blast.

Hit us up with your tips or questions and tell us about your experiences on the slopes. You can tag us in your photos with the hashtag #DMMBontheslopes

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One Response to Lil’ Shredder in the Making – Skiing & Riding with Kids

  1. Jackie M
    Jackie M December 24, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    GREAT post! I’m definitely bookmarking this for a few years from now.

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