Keeping your children warm and dry is the key to a happy day on the slopes. Getting good gear before you get there is also important. Be ready. Waterproof everything first, whether you are sending your kids to ski school, or they are skiing with you. You easily can do this at home with snow pants, coats, and gloves.
Don't over bundle them. They're wearing too much if they can't bend. However, layers are the way to go because the weather can change so quickly. Higher quality clothing is generally less bulky. It also will keep the kids warmer and it's easier to move in. The old adage "you get what you pay for" applies to all skiwear. The right length is also important. Some ski clothing companies make pants that "grow" with your child, and can be adjusted.
Helmets are a must. They are required at most ski schools nationwide. The National Ski Areas Association recommends a helmet specifically designed for recreational snow sports. Any helmet needs to be properly fitted and does not uncomfortably restrict vision or hearing.
Helmets are lightweight, warm, ventilated, and come in many styles and colors. Give your kids some stickers to put on their helmet. Have an expert at your local ski shop fit your child for the perfect helmet.
Buy a balaclava for under their helmet. These are like a very thin hat that turns into a neck warmer. Some are silk. They're easy to wear under helmets and they keep kids especially warm.
Do not send your child out with knit gloves. Their fingers will turn into little popsicles. Make sure their gloves are warm and waterproof. Shelly Schaffer of Treasures Child Care Center at Smugglers' Notch, Vt., says Velcro mittens are best for the littlest kids as they're so much easier to put on when you are dressing 20 kids at a time. She also says don't get anything fancy. "Go to a thrift store and get your kids used stuff because they're going to grow right out of it." Glove clips let the gloves hook to the ski coat and not get lost.
Don't overdress your child. One pair of socks is fine. Make sure the socks are thin and not bulky. Schaffer says kids really get upset when they have creases in their boots. They only need one pair of long underwear and pajamas don't count. Make sure it is good wicking material. Don't dress your kids in cotton.
Alison Cummings of Stratton Mountain, Vt., adds, "Don't buy black neck warmers because everyone has that color. Purchase things that are unusual and then they don't get lost as easily. Definitely put a set of hand warmers and toe warmers in your child's coat pocket. Buy jackets with zippers and zipper flaps so that the wind doesn't blow through."
Put extra clothes in their bag. Make sure they have goggles that fit, although it might be too tough for the toddlers to wear them. Still, some eye protection is good, as it's easy to forget how much closer we are to the sun in the mountains and the reflection on the snow is so bright. Rentals typically are available through the ski school.
Here's a tip for everyone: Stick everything in your helmet or sleeve of your coat when you take a break during the day, or for lunch. That way, you don't have gloves, goggles, gators, and hats all around the table if you are at an on-mountain restaurant. Put it all down your sleeve and you won't lose anything.