There have been times in recent years that we were a “fair weather” ski family. We’ve all heard of “snow snobs”... those skiers that only come out for powder days (not that I blame them.) And we were “sun snobs”, only taking our family out on sunny days… warmer weather meant more skiing and less tears.
But this season we’ve been wrestling a busy schedule and picking only sunny days means we aren’t skiing much at all. So I’ve embraced the idea that,
“There isn’t bad weather. Only bad clothing.”
In fact, many of our favorite ski days have looked like this:
[caption id=“attachment_5656” align=“aligncenter” width=“640”] Snowy Day at Needles Lodge[/caption]
Last Friday when the wind gusted at 40 mph, we still made it up to Snowbasin and had a fantastic day skiing. Here are my tips for keeping your kids (and yourself) warm and happy.
1. Get a balaclava. A.K.A a ninja hood. Our bodies loose heat most rapidly from the head, the groin, and the armpits. SO…keeping the head and neck covered helps keep the whole body warm. Even a lightweight balaclava will keep your head, neck, and face significantly warmer and protect you from the wind. In my experience, a “ninja hood” style balaclava works better than a Buff or gaiter.
2. Keep those ski socks dry. As a mom, the thing I dread most about skiing is getting all the kid’s gear on. I would like to save time by putting socks and boots on before we leave the house. But on cold days that is a bad idea. It is hard to keep sweaty feet warm. Better to let the kids ride up in socks only and put the boots on right before getting out of the car.
3. Get a helmet, even for the really little ones. I’ve often thought, “why does my toddler need a helmet? She barely moves and I hold her up most the time.” Until someone ran into my husband and her. So, sure, we all know helmets are a safety thing. But they are also very warm and many brands have vents for warm days.
4. Invest in good layers. A few basic rules I live by when it comes to layers: First, layer a high-wicking fabric close to the skin, like Patagonia Capilene or REI midweight long underwear. For exceptionally cold days I add a fleece layer. Fleece bottoms or ¼ zip tops. Finally, down jackets are warmer than synthetic. Down Jackets are also compressible, meaning they pack easily, are less bulky, and can be used year-round for camping, hiking, and backpacking. Here are my favorite kid jackets.
5. Not all chemicals are bad. Don’t be afraid of the chemical hand warmers. They are great for keeping kid’s hands warm! Just exercise caution when using with a young infant or toddler who cannot communicate if they become too hot.
In the end, embracing the weather is part of embracing the adventure. Howl into the wind and trek off into the white… dressed to conquer.
Alyssa Erickson I am a wife, mom, rock climber, skier, coffee lover and all around adventure lover with a passion for writing. I have my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado and am the founder of KidProject.org. I live and play near the Wasatch Range, partnering with my husband and teaching my kids to make the most of life and the One who gave it to us.