Last week we took our 19-month skiing for the first time. My husband and I are both avid skiers and hoping to instill the love and respect for the mountains and snow in our kids. So...start 'em early!
It might seem daunting to take your kids skiing but with a little planning and management of expectations it can be fun and rewarding for all of you. Here are some tips to set you up for a successful first day out on the sticks!
1. Get the right equipment
There are basically two options for very small skiers:
Option 1) real boots (smallest I have seen are a 7) and skis with bindings (70 cms is the smallest I could find). It cost us a total of $45 to rent this set up.
Option 2) use snow boots and skis that have straps.
In my opinion the ONLY way to go here is with Option 1. It will cost a little more but if you want a successful first outing the frustration that comes with the flimsy nature of the strap in skis is just not worth it. Your budding Peekaboo Street won't be able to get any sense of control and most likely will get frustrated much quicker.
This tip goes for older kids as well. As temping as it might be to borrow cousin Andrew's boots that are just a "size or two" too big, don't. Go rent your kid the proper sized boot. They will stay warmer, be able to walk more comfortably and get the hang of skiing more quickly when the boot is holding their foot properly.
2. Layer up
Dressing properly for skiing is not just about staying warm (although it is that too!) When someone is learning to ski they are either 1) standing/sitting still on a lift or on the mountain listening to an instructor or you (ie. cold) OR 2) struggling to ski/standup/put skis back on/walk up the hill in clunky ski boots (ie. hot and sweaty). This means you need to layer up for warmth and for staying dry.
Start with a clean, dry bamboo base layer (like Little Lift Layers!) or a marino set if it is really cold. Then a long sleeve shirt and fleece/shell or down jacket. Snow pants are usually okay on their own but if it's below -14C/15F, throw on some sweat pants that are not too bulky.
3. Work with your kid's timeline
Think about the time in the day when your kid has the most energy. Skiing is a lot more than just being on the hill. You have to pack, drive to the hill, get all the gear out, suit up etc. For our day out, we waited until my son was up from his nap and had his lunch.
4. Don't push it
If you want your kids to fall in love with skiing, you have to pace yourself. The first time out is really just to expose them to the sights and sounds of a ski hill, the feel of the boots and the skis and (maybe) the thrill of a little downhill ride.
If you are like me, you will be SO EXCITED your kid is finally on skis you will want to keep them out all day. But as they say "leave when the party is still good."
5. Have fun!
It really is the best feeling to share your love of the outdoors with your kids, so enjoy it.
(oh! and remember to put suncreen on their face...I learned that one the hard way!)