May 29, 2012
You have booked your family trip to the snow (Hooray!), and now it is time to think about what to pack! If you have never skied before, you will probably not have all the “kit” you need to stay toasty on the slopes. Winter is my favourite season- give me a cosy coat, boots and a cashmere jumper and I am as happy as can be! However, I also suffer poor circulation so I get particularly cold so need to layer up when I ski. On a recent trip to Breckenridge (or Brecken”fridge”) I had six layers on.. no joke. However, most Australian and NZ resorts do not require you to dress anywhere near that warmly. And if your kids are anything like mine, they tend to be immune to the cold weather- I struggle to keep them in their ski jackets. So, what to take, whether it is your first ski trip or you are an experienced snow going family, I’ve put together some ideas for what to pack for children
Thermals: These are a must have. My children spend much of their skiing and après ski time in their “Stripey’s” as they call them. I purchased ours from Kathmandu. They are often on sale, and are a must have. Now is a fantastic time to look for these on sale at ski and outdoor gear specialists.
Mid Layer: Depending on the weather, this can be a fleece or a long sleeve thermal t shirt. I am a big fan of the Columbia and North Face ones as they can be worn off the slopes as well.
Ski Jacket: One of the easiest items to rent or borrow if you are new to snow sports. Every ski rental shop will have a selection of jackets for children. If you are planning on taking regular ski holidays, I highly recommend looking at some of the “grow with you” options, if you decide to purchase a jacket.
Obermeyer have a fantastic range of jackets and trousers that you will get at least 2 seasons out of. Also look for some jackets that have detachable hoods or liners- this can extend the life of the jacket beyond the ski season. The Powder Hound (aged 5) is a big fan of Helly Hanson, Columbia and North Face Jackets… just like Dad
Ski pants: Some people like bib and brace overalls, but I, and your child’s ski instructor, will most likely prefer ski pants- these are much easier to get on and off, especially for toilet breaks on the mountain. Tuck in all the “layers” and your child will stay toasty. The Powder Hound wears Columbia pants, these have adjustable tabs at the waist, he is heading into his third season in them. Again, there are several brands that offer built in grow systems. One thing to consider- if your child has a slim build, look at ski pants with suspenders to help hold them up- these are easy to slip off shoulders in a hurry.
Mittens/ Gloves: Mittens are easy to get on small hands, gloves are great for kids aged 3 and over as they can wiggle their fingers in. I always pack at least two pairs as these are one item that seems to always disappear on ski holidays. One pair we take for general wear around the resort, one pair is a pair for skiing.
Helmet: Absolute essential- on many mountains, you cannot ski without one and they are essential for ski lessons. These can be rented from every ski rental shop or again, if you do plan to ski frequently, consider purchasing a helmet- Giro ones are terrific- with vents on the top for warmer days and POC have a cool range of new kids helmets POCito.
Goggles: Another essential, glare on the slopes can be harsh on little eyes. Don’t forget to pack goggles or rent with a helmet/ ski clothing package.
Ski socks: Toasty toes are happy toes, ski socks will keep your little ones happy on the snow for longer.
Snow Boots/ Apres Footwear: Stomping about in the snow is great fun… soggy cold feet are not. When you are out of ski boots and walking thorugh the snow, some good snow boots make a difference. I have these Sorel’s for The Powder Hound- they are easy to slip on and off and keep his feet toast warm. You can rent snow boots when you rent skis or at a pinch, some thick socks and gumboots will be OK- just bear in mind gumboots will be a bit more slippery on the snow as they don’t have trea that snowboots have.
Little snow bunnies:
Under three’s will unlikely to ski, so their snow bound adventures will not need the same technical gear as older children. I have some favourites, when we took the Ski Bunny on our first ski trip she was 3 months old, she was dressed in baby thermals and spent much of her “on snow time” in this all in one Bunting Suit from Baby Gap- I loved it so much.
As she got older, we found this toasty all in one suit from Kathmandu- we do think she looks a bit like a Teletubby, but it is super warm, not too bulky and easy to get on and off. The wrists and ankles fold over to keep hands and feet warm and mean no lost mittens and kicked off boots.
If you have any questions about what to rent or what to buy, please feel free to ask in the comment section below. I’m happy to answer any questions!
More ski gear reviews coming up soon!