Here’s a question: What’s the scariest thing about skiing with a young child?
In my opinion, it’s riding the chairlift. Actually, riding isn’t as bad as boarding the chairlift. You know how it goes: your child is looking back to grab the seat, the liftie is waiting to grab your child, and you are trying to juggle two sets of poles and sit down and grab your child, just in case he or she doesn’t quite hit the seat or needs to be pulled backward quickly so as to not fall off.
There were times when I was lucky to get on board.
Next question: What’s the most tiring thing about skiing with a young child?
In my opinion (again), the most back-breaking, exhausting part of skiing (and I assume riding) with little people is picking them up after they fall. And picking them up again, and again and again all day long. Add fresh powder and double your “fun.”
Okay, that’s enough whining from me. Especially since I’m about to introduce a product that can help with both of these problems.
The Kinderlift Vest
On Monday, I wrote about learn-to-ski aids and tools, and promised a closer look at the Colorado-made Kinderlift Vest.
I’ll be completely honest with you. When I opened my sample Kinderlift vest, I fell in love with it. This is not my normal reaction. Usually I am more skeptical, but the pink camo XS vest I got was just SO DARN CUTE! Here see for yourself:
Better yet, as I zipped and unzipped the vest, turned it over and turned it inside out, pulled on the beefy, yet unobtrusive handle and checked out all of the reinforced stitching, I realized that not only is the vest super-cute, and super-functional, but also super-well made!
The fabric is a water-resistant, heavy-duty polyester canvas, lined with heavy-duty nylon.
One concern I had was whether or not the handle would be uncomfortable on a child’s back. Because it is padded and really only about 1/4 inch thick, it doesn’t poke or push and shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, it’s big enough and wide enough for a parent to grab and hoist even wearing bulky gloves or mittens.
In addition to pink camo, the vests come in Tie-Dye, black, blue, lime green, khaki, red, sliver, yellow, orange and hot pink, with coordinating, different color handles.
The Kinderlift Story
Although Kinderlift vests are now sewn in Colorado, the company was started in the early 1990s by a woman in California. She was skiing with her son and he fell off the lift. He wasn’t hurt, but they both were scared and she decided to design a garment which would help her hold onto her son. Working with ski patrollers, she designed the Kinderlift vest and marketed them to ski schools.
Currently Kinderlift vests are used by the Vail Resorts, Telluride, Deer Valley, Squaw Valley and many other big and small names in skiing.
I recently asked Vail ski instructor (and inventor of the Ski Bumper) Bo Pitto what he thinks about using Kinderlift vests with his young clients.
I’ve been a ski instructor at Vail for 8 years and when I walked into ski school a few seasons ago and saw a bin full of Kinderlift vests, I knew my dreams had come true.
It was always so hard and awkward trying to pick kids up when they couldn’t get up on their own, or lift them onto the chairlift when they couldn’t reach. With the Kinderlift, all my kids have a giant “target” (lift handle) on their back that makes it easy for me to hoist them back on their skis and lift them onto the chairlift safely.
Not Just For Ski Schools
Until this season, Kinderlift sold only to ski resorts and ski schools. Randy Burkland of Denver bought the company in 2011 and now sells the vests directly to consumers via Kinderlift.com and WinterKids.com.
Kinderlift vests come in sizes ranging from XS (ages 3-4) to L (ages 7-8). My kids are (obviously) too big for Kinderlift, but if they were little I’d consider it money well spent to buy a vest. The vests are well made with lots of reinforced stitching, a big beefy zipper that’s easy to pull up and down, and they’re cute!
Best of all, they help make getting on and riding the chairlift a lot less scary. They make picking up a fallen child a lot more easy. And, because they come in bright fun colors and patterns, they also make it easier to keep an eye on your child and spot him or her on the hill.
Not bad for $47.95.
Randy Burkland generously offers a Kinderlift vest of any size and color to one lucky reader of Brave Ski Mom. To win, please leave a comment. For a second entry, please “like” Kinderlift on Facebook.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing on Friday, December 14th at 8:00 a.m. MST.
- More Than Gadgets: Learn to Ski Aids for Young Children, December 3, 2012.
To facilitate this post, I received a Kinderlift vest to review. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Michelle!
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