Family skiing is supposed to be fun. But sometimes things happen that make it not so fun. In fact, some of these things can so effectively suck the joy out of the sport that all you are left with are tears…and whining.
While we can’t control the weather, the conditions or the company, several of the “enemies” of family skiing are easily predictable and easily overcome.
Enemy #1: Cold Feet
Nothing, but nothing, can ruin a day like cold feet, especially for a child.
- Use just one pair of good, thin ski socks. Look for wool or polypropelene, not cotton.
- Make sure their boots fit correctly. Kids need more “wiggle room” than adults. Little kids tend to sit back a little, due to their low center of gravity. This means they need a bit more toe room than their parents.
- Don’t buckle their boots too tightly. While the toe buckle should be snug, the buckle over the top of the foot should not.You don’t want to compress the artery along the top of the foot, or you’ll have cold toes.
- Start warm and stay warm. Make sure your child is properly dressed before going outside. A bundled up kid is a warm kid, whether you’re just going from the car to lodge or the condo to the bus.
- Dry out everyone’s ski boots after skiing. Chronically damp boots, whether from snow or sweat are a big contributor to chronically cold feet. We use boot dryers and they work great. You can also take out the liners and put them over a heating vent or next to the fireplace.
Enemy #2: Dehydration
Even when its cold outside you, and your kids, can get dehydrated. Dehydration in cold weather can creep up on you because you may not be sweating, but you’re still using up your reserves.
By the time you feel thirsty, you’re too thirsty. Chances are you are also not skiing as well as you’d like and you’re getting more cold.
Plan breaks to go in and grab a glass of water or hot chocolate. Carry juice boxes in your pocket if you don’t like to take breaks. Or, if you don’t mind yet one more piece of ski equipment, get a winter hydration pack.
I have a winter Camelbak, with an insulated tube. We’ve used it for years and I think it’s indispensable. When I start feeling a bit off my game, not skiing as well as I’d like or catching edges, I stop and take a big drink. Immediately I feel, and ski, better.
Depending upon your aversion to germs, you may or may not think this is a good idea, but I share my water with my kids. When they were younger, they simply sucked off the tube. Now, we squirt water into their mouths.
Then when we go inside, we partake of long, big drinks of nature’s best elixir: H2O.
Enemy #3: Hunger
Hand-in-hand with thirst comes hunger. When you’re battling cold weather, and exercising, hunger can creep up very quickly, especially if you’re a kid. The best way to fight hunger, especially on a powder day when you don’t want to stop skiing, is with “pocket food.”
Put these items in your pockets and when hunger strikes, you’re got snacks at the ready.
And while my kids would love it if I provided an endless supply of M&Ms, we try to balance out the sugar with some long-lasting protein.
We’ve even carried hard boiled eggs!
- Warm Kids are Happy Kids (Especially When Skiing), November 28, 2012.
- How To Keep Your Kids’ Hands Warm This Winter, October 10, 2011.
- How Do I Tell If My Kid’s Ski Boots Fit? And More Importantly, How Do I Keep My Kid’s Feet Warm? October 14, 2010.
- How Cold is Too Cold for Skiing?, February 22, 2011.
- Avoid the Bonk: Winter Athletes Need to Hydrate Too, April 5, 2011.
- Ski Snacks, December 8, 2011.
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