We hit the slopes this weekend with a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. I'm not going to lie, there were a few tears and ton of gear to schlep, but we absolutely love this family activity. Skiing is wonderful way to enjoy winter and a super workout (about 300 calories burned an hour) using our POWDER Tips for Skiing with Kids guide--you'll be on the slopes with a smiling family this year.
Tips for Skiing with Kids
P=Planning. Pick a location that is suitable for kids. Call ahead and ask about the lessons and facilities for Children. We'll be heading out to Keystone and Breckenridge this year for a Momtrends trip. We've heard raves about the children's programs there. We advise moms to research ski locations that welcome families.
O=Own the right gear. Warm kids are happy kids. Outfit them with proper ski socks with padding, a snowsuit, warm Gortex mittens, goggles and a helmet. We'll be recommending brands later this week. To save cash, head to end of season ski swaps or buy on sale during the summer--but don't skimp on quality.
W=Watch the weather. You've inviting whining if you are skiing in sub 20 temps. Our limit is about 25. After that it's simply not worth getting the kids outfitted for only one run before fleeing to the warmth of the lodge. Try to give your family the best conditions possible. I heard a dad lose it today with his 6 year-old son while we were packing up. The kid was freezing and miserable and his dad was pushing him for another run. Cool it. There's always another day.
D=Don't push. Know when to call it a day. Sometimes your tots will need a warm up and a snack and then they are ready for a few more runs on the bunny slopes. Sometimes they are just tuckered out. Pushing your kids too hard is a sure-fire way to get them to hate skiing.
E=Enlist a ski buddy. Kids love having other kids around. Group lessons are one way to go (but can be pricey). The good-natured encouragement of a good instructor is great and often these classes help even the shiest child make friends and embrace a new sport. If you don't want to pay for a lesson, coordinate with another family when you hit the slopes.
R=Reward. Have an incentive system. We let our daughters add a sticker to their helmet whenever we go on a family ski trip. Another suggestion: Hot cocoa at the end of the day. Just like potty training, positive reinforcement goes a long way.
With this simple guide you'll be teaching the next generation of skiers to enjoy the sport and the magic of winter. For more tips check out our Ski Guide.