Gone are the days of one-piece ski outfits available in blue, pink or unisex red. Also, thankfully, behind us are plastic skis and retrofitted gear. Today's kids are "poshing" around the mountain in trendy fashions that rival any adult skiwear currently on the market. The technology in junior gear has evolved to match its older counterparts' and every year new gadgets come out to help your children learn at younger ages and quicker.
Spyder Mini Leader Jacket and matching Mini Expedition Pant: These are for the parents who don't want to give up functionality and comfort, but still want their tike to be seriously in style. This outfit has everything you could ask for: waterproof, fully lined, plenty of pockets, and even small to tall cuffs, which can extend as your child grows. The coolest thing about these pants is that they are one piece (better for kids) with a fleece-lined top which can eliminate a layer. Less is always more. www.spyder.com. Msrp: $150 jacket, 100 pant.
Kids Gravitator Mitts by Outdoor Research: Mittens are always best for small hands. Fingers can curl up inside and there is less stress of working individual fingers into gloves. Cold fingers can ruin a great day on the slopes. Make sure you choose a toasty mitt like the Gravitator with non slip hands and powder cord to keep tiny hands warm and dry. www.outdoorresearch.com Msrp: $39.
Fischer Junior Addict Team Skis: If you are a parent who is more interested in seeing your child charge the entire mountain, not just skip through orange cones on the bunny hill, you have to check out these sweet skis from Fischer. These twin tips with cool graphics with air-power and fiber technology will have your child busting moves in the terrain park before she can even spell her own name. www.fischerskis.com Msrp: $179 with binding $100 without.
Leki Junior HTS Adjustable Poles XS: Everyone who has seen these poles wonders why no one has thought of this before. You will never have to purchase another pole until your child is five feet tall. A two-year old can hold this pole (not that he should have poles at that age) at its smallest adjustment. These poles do adjust smaller than Leki's site implies. Ours adjust from 26 to 44 inches. These poles are wicked cool. www.leki.com Msrp: $59.95.
Head Carve X-1 Ski Boot: Head has long owned the market on the best entry- level junior boots. The Carve X-1 is no exception. Don't be deterred from the boots beginner label. The Carve X-1, besides being the easiest boots to slide small feet into with the most support, will progress with your child onto challenging terrain. New colors and fun stickers to individualize boots make these even more enticing to your little one. www.head.com. Msrp: $89
Roces 6in1 Growing Ski Boot: Budget conscious parents must look at this. Roces (known for inline skates) has come up with a very unique concept: adjustable boots that come in 3 sizes (S, M, L) and cool colors. The concept is in an easy-to- adjust, comfortable liner. Roces claim these will fit a large two-year-old on up to a 15-year-old. However, the small size were too big on my small five-year-old. Check the Web site for sizing and ordering info. These boots may help ease the pain of emptying the pocketbook. www.roces-snow.com. Msrp: $100
Giro Slingshot Helmet and Children's Super Fit Goggles: The popular slingshot is back with plenty of new patterns and colors. You should easily be able to find a helmet and goggle to coordinate with your little powder hound. The Slingshot continues to crush the competition with an adjustable liner for growing heads and super cushy lining. www.giro.com. Msrp: $55
Hot Chilly's Peach Skins: Silky and cozy these lightweight thermals will keep your ripper warm without being restrictive and stuffy. Check out www.hotchillys.com for plenty of great choices, colors and styles. Msrp: $35 top; $30 bottom
SKI-PAL Training Hoop: Forget about skiing tots between your legs or skiing backwards while hunched over as you cajole your crying youngster down the mountain. Order a hoop from www.ski-pal.com and get your smallest child cruising in no time. Get a Ski Pal and watch them go. Also, search Ski-Pal on You Tube and you will get a great instructional video on how to properly use this great tool. MSRP: $74.99