It’s the thrill of seeing the white faced mountain dotted with moving specks. It’s the smell coming from the waffle house at the lodge below as the smoke dances in the cold air around you. It’s the sound of boots clicking into bindings and the low hum of the chairlift rounding the corner to pick up it’s next passenger. If you live in the NorthEast, you have two choices come January: 1) hibernate, 2) embrace Winter. My husband and I grew up skiing (together, actually) with both sets of parents encouraging us to tackle Winter head on. We don’t remember learning how to ski. Because we started so young, it was always just something we remembered how to do. Some of our fondest childhood memories involve skiing with our families. Plus, there is something truly magical about a shared cup of hot cocoa in front of a fire with rosy cheeks, tired legs, and cozy socks.
Now, with two young children, we refuse to be stuck indoors in the cold. Our kids eat, sleep and act better when fresh air circulates their lungs, so we try to get out as much as we can. After posting pictures on Instagram this weekend from our latest ski trip I was asked the same question by several people: Did your 2 year old actually like it? Well, no. (I don’t know too many toddlers that love putting on a ton of gear – including boots that inhibit forward motion, the very thing they love to do – in order to get pushed around in the cold, do you?) But here’s the thing – if you start them young enough, they grow up knowing the routine. They get used to the gear and the process and the cold early so that when it’s time for a family ski trip – it’s all just second nature. Plus, you’re ingraining in them the idea that getting outside is just what you do, even in the Winter. No questions asked. No weather-related couch potatoes allowed.
But until then my friends? The struggle is REAL:
Here are a couple of tips for taking toddlers skiing that (despite what the video and above picture depict) actually did make our trip a little easier, given the circumstances.
Oh and you know what? He hasn’t stopped
bragging talking about going skiing since we got back…
- Expect nothing. Seriously. “My toddler loves to be outside and doesn’t mind the cold, he’ll probably love skiing.” The more you expect the more you’ll potentially (and most likely) be disappointed. Kids can sniff out disappointed like goldfish in the couch cushions.
- Fight through the tears. They will probably cry: a lot. As long as nothing is seriously wrong (equipment too tight, temperatures too cold to be outside, etc.) “just keep swimming.” Remember when your newborn baby screamed in the bath the first couple of times? They eventually learn that it’s just part of the routine.
- Let them walk around in the ski boots at home before going outside if possible.
- Try a lesson. That’s what we did with our daughter when she turned 3. Most ski resorts have excellent kid programs and despite how good of a skier you may be, it’s a whole new ball game when teaching little tykes how to stay up on two skinny sticks.
- If you forgo a lesson and do it yourself remember to stretch your back first. You’ll be hunched over most of the time. (A heated back patch also helps.)
- Watch other kids come down the mountain from the lodge. A teeny tiny bit of
envycompetitive spirit never hurt anybody, right?
- Try a ski wedge to keep ski tips from spreading out.
- No poles for newbies. And don’t use words like “snow plow” or “parallel” because they don’t mean anything to the under 3 crowd. Try pizza and french fries instead.
- Tell them it’s okay to fall. It’s part of the fun!
- Get the equipment right. Don’t forget things like goggles and a neck warmer. Cuddl Duds (shown on the kids, here with a link below) act like a warm first layer and feel like Pajamas. They’re also perfect for Apres Ski!
- If you think you are going to get out more than 1 or 2 times for the season look to rent seasonal skis and boots for kids. It’s crazy to buy them since they will most likely grow out of all of it next year and renting every time can get pricey. We found a place near our local town to rent for the season (January to April) for $100.
- Take a video of your kids going down the bunny hill and show it to them the next day. They will love it and feel proud!
Click on the pictures below to check out some of our favorite products to use while skiing with kids:
Boggs Not for skiing persay say but for everything and anything else Winter related. They slip on easy, can be worn with or without socks, and can go right in the washing machine. Simply the best.