Preparing for a family skiing holiday can be a real headache. There’s so much to organise and take care of; it often leaves parents wondering where to start.
Here’s the Little Skiers top 10 tips for things to remember this winter when taking the family skiing.
1. LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS
Base layers are essential and will adapt to all kinds of weather conditions. In a week’s holiday you can one minute be baking on the slopes and the next day freezing in temperatures well below zero. Ideally, a good thermal set (top & bottoms) to start and if you are going somewhere very cold like USA, Canada, Lapland or even some European high resorts like La Thuile, a micro fleece top and bottom sets on top are ideal. Next comes the mid-layer, which should provide the warmth. A soft thin micro-fleece and/or jersey ski polo top should be enough for most European resorts but you can add a thicker fleece or gilet for colder resorts. And the final layer; the ski jacket.
2. SKI JACKETS
Ski jackets are usually the most expensive purchase but also the one you can get the most wear out of, making brilliant school coats. The primary function is to keep you dry and the most important features are being waterproof (not water resistant) with taped seams, windproof & breathable. The insulation provides the extra warmth to the jacket. The key is a breathable jacket as the moisture produced when skiing must be wicked away from the body, through the base layers and OUT of the jacket. If it settles inside the jacket then when you stop, like on chair lifts, the cold weather cools the water vapour, chilling you or your child.
3. TAKE 2 PAIRS OF MITTENS
It is well known that mittens are warmer than gloves but also children do play in the snow a lot more than us grown ups so inevitably mittens will get damp while making snow balls and angels.
4. SKI SOCKS
It is worth spending a bit of money on good ski socks (don’t buy tube socks, get socks that fit properly). Comfort is a priority. Thick socks are not necessarily warmer and don’t double up on socks which can cause blisters. Buy 2-3 specific ski socks, slightly more expensive socks have extra padding on the shins and are more fitted which are more comfortable.
5. EXTRA COLD RESORTS
For very cold resorts like USA and high altitude windy resorts consider silk balaclavas or neck warmers that can pull over your head under the helmet, inner glove liners and chemical hand-warmers for gloves or in pockets which keep warm for the whole day.
6. A POCKET FULL OF SWEETS
Sweets or raisins are excellent snacks for little ones to give them instant energy. Ski school is hard and thirsty work so also consider small drinks that fit into pockets as many European resorts don’t allow rucksacks on chair lifts so don’t allow children to take them to ski school.
7. DON’T WASH SKI CLOTHES
Don’t use detergents or ever wash ski clothes in normal washing powders; it strips the waterproofing finish. Use a technical cleaner like NikWax.
8. SUN PROTECTION
Sun protection and lip salves are essential to prevent chapping from the wind as well as the sun, put it on every day. Small tubes containing both cream and a lip salve are commonly found with neck cords & are easy to apply with gloves on.
Goggles are essential for protecting eyes from the sun but also wind & cold. They’re better for children as they prevent eyes from watering, they don’t fall off (often secured by helmet clips) and good quality ones don’t fog up and have anti-scratch coating so will last a good few years.
Helmets are essential, they are never too young to protect their heads. Adjustable helmets are available for children meaning they can last a few years. So rather than risk hiring a helmet where you don’t know if they have been dropped, invest in a quality brand. Set an example and wear a helmet too!
This blog post was written by Tess Bradshaw of Little Skiers, the on-line specialist children’s ski clothing & accessories shop.
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