Dear Brave Ski Mom,
I grew up in the flatlands of the Midwest. My husband grew up on the icy slopes of New England. Our children are now in ski school and in the race program at a local rugged mountain.
Having not grown up with the ski family mentality, I have found it difficult to adjust. When my husband first took me skiing I had fun but when I was confronted with putting my child’s foot in a stiff boot, getting him into the car, remembering to put warmers into his gloves and the myriad other duties of a ski mom…I failed.
Do you have any tips for us new ski moms?
Tips for New Ski Parents
You know I do and I thank you for asking, “abc”.
This is a huge topic, so I’m going to try to hit some things new ski parents may not have considered. Everything I miss will, hopefully, be included in the list of posts at the end.
Don’t Skimp on Warmth
The first time we took our son skiing, we dressed him in a cute coat. Unfortunately, it was not a warm coat.
He was cold and miserable and did not want to be outside. The next time we skied with him, he was snuggly zipped into a water-resistant down coat. SUCCESS!
And don’t feel you have to buy all this gear. Kids grow fast, so check in with friends for hand-me-downs, search Craig’s List or rent for a vacation or season.
One Pair of Thin Socks
Your kids (and you) will stay warmer, and be more comfortable, with just one pair of thin socks. Make sure their boots fit properly (ask for a fitting at the ski shop) and never wear cotton.
We think mittens are warmer and easier to put on. It’s also easy to use hand warmers with mittens. No special pocket required.
If you don’t want to commit to buying equipment, look for season long rentals at ski shops and resorts. You only go through the rental and fitting process once and you can trade in gear when your child suddenly outgrows it.
One Person, One Bag
A place for everything and everything its place. It’s trite, but solid advice. Get a bag for each person in your family. I love ski boot backpacks because they hold everything from mittens and spare socks (another tip!) to helmets and jackets. Plus, they leave hands free to carry skis, poles or to help a little one across a slick parking lot.
“abc” specifically mentioned putting stiff tiny boots on soft little feet.
Here’s how you do it: Separate the front of the boot as wide as you can and then pull the tongue out of the way. This opens up a larger cavity in which to put your child’s foot.
School Age Passes
Most states with ski areas offer discount passes for kid in certain grades. In Colorado, you can get a 5th or 6th grade pass good for a set number of days at each of 21 resorts. It’s free for 5th graders and $99 for 6th graders. Deals vary by state (and country — yes Canada, we’re talking about you!).
Pack Your Pockets
Pockets are your friend. Us them to carry spare hand warmers and snacks. Since kids get hungry quickly and at unexpected times, small, energy-packed snacks can stop whining and save your sanity.
Other items to pack in pockets are Chapstick, sunscreen, neck gaiters or buffs and lift tickets/pass.
Staying hydrated is critical to enjoying skiing and snowboarding. Not only will everyone feel better and ski better, but everyone will also stay warmer.
Take breaks to visit the drinking fountain. Or, ski with an insulated Camelbak or refillable bottle.
Bring a Sharpie
Keep a sharpie in your ski bag. If you’ve got little ones in lessons, or skiing with someone other than mom and dad, write your name and cell number on your child’s lift ticket (or a wide piece of tape on her helmet, or a piece of paper in his pocket). Let the adult in charge know where to find the number and you can rest easier, knowing there won’t be any delay or confusion if you need to be found.
Getting in the Car
Pack the car, the cooler and the backseat the night before. Go ahead and pack your ski boots, IF you have a heated garage. If not, keep them nice and warm in the house overnight.
When our kids were small, we found it helpful to have special snacks, books and music/stories that were available only in the car.
With older kids and teens, the key is clear communication. One ski dad I know sets a fixed departure time, communicates it to the family and expects what he calls AIS five minutes ahead of time. When the car rolls, if you’re not AIS, you’re staying home.
I’ve never been a fan of boot warmers, but I love, love, love boot dryers. Why? Because even on the coldest days your kids’ feet can get sweaty. And, if they don’t dry out, they will be cold, damp and clammy the next time you ski (not to mention smelly).
We think the fan type dryers work the best. If you don’t have one, you can pullout the liners and drop in some hand warmers Or, dry the liners near a heater or fireplace.
Finally, I just want to reassure all ski moms and dads out there, whether you’re new to snowsports or not, if you are out there doing it, getting your little ones dressed, dealing with balky teens, improving your own skills, or whatever, you are far from failing.
Remember, you’re a brave ski mom or dad! And like all other moms and dads, you’re doing your best.
I’m tipping my helmet to you.
Enjoy every moment.
Thanks so much to abc for her terrific question.
If you’ve got any questions related to family or women’s skiing, I invite you to ask!
You can also search over 500 posts here at braveskimom.com using keywords.
And, if you want the world to know your true status as a BSM, send me your address and I’ll send you some free stickers!
More Ski Mom Secrets:
- How To Ski With Babies and Toddlers
- Bravery 101: Chairlift Safety for Parents and Kids
- Talk to Your Kids: Skiing Safely and Skiing Safety
- Ski Safety: Know the Code From A to Z
- What You Need to Know to Start Your Child Skiing or Snowboarding
- What to Do With a Scared Skier
- Do Kids Have to Ski Before They Ride?
- Get Your Kids Ready for Ski and Ride School
- Start Right: Eight Learn to Ski and Snowboard Tips
- Tips for Your Best Family Ski Vacation Ever
- Overcoming the Enemies of Fun Family Skiing
- Fitting Kids Skis and Boots
- How Do I Tell if My Kid’s Ski Boots Fit? And, More Importantly, How Do I Keep My Kid’s Feet Warm?
- How Do I Tell if My Kid’s Skis Fit? The Brave Ski Mom Gear Guide for Skis and Poles
- Of Course You Should Put A Lid on Your Kid
- Ski Helmet Safety Tips for Kids and Families
- Ski Snacks
- How Cold Is Too Cold For Skiing?
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