Skiing with young children can be a daunting thought, but if snow-sports is what you love then there is no reason why you can't get the whole family involved. Introducing kids to snowsports activities at a young age can be beneficial, but making sure they are comfortable and enjoying themselves is key to avoiding any "I don't want to" tantrums along the way.
We've put together a few ideas that will go a long way to helping them keep warm and happy so that everyone can focus on enjoying their time on the slopes!
Just like grown-ups, active kids need a quality layering system. Start with a merino wool or synthetic base layer that will help wick any excess moisture away from their skin. As always in cold conditions, avoid cotton - it will hold on to even the slightest bit of moisture and sit next to the skin, zapping away body heat rapidly.
An insulating mid layer should be breathable and wicking but able to trap warm air around the body for cosiness. Avoid anything too bulky that will stop them being able to move comfortably as this will likely frustrate them after a short time.
A waterproof, windproof jacket and trouser set or a snowsuit alternative are a must, even on milder days, as it will be cold and wet on the ground when the mandatory snow angels (or mud angels if the weather demands) are made. Features like inner gaiters at the cuffs and hems, along with a powder skirt at the waist of the jacket will help to keep snow on the outside when they take a tumble or two.
Babies and young children who perhaps aren't going to be so active while in the outdoors should have at least one more layer than those who are going to be more active to ensure warmth. A romper suit combination will ensure no cold spots but will also offer more comfort in general throughout the day.
A quality hat is a must for excellent heat retention, or an appropriate helmet if they are going to be active on the slopes. Something that covers the ears properly will ensure these often-forgotten extremities stay warm.
For inactive younger children and babies, a beanie with ties or a trapper style hat will make sure it stays in the right place at all times.
Warm fingers and toes are paramount to kids having a great time. Waterproof gloves will offer protection when playing with snowballs and making snowmen. Helpfully, many styles come with wrist ties to prevent them going AWOL, but it is always worth taking a couple of pairs just in case the inevitable happens and one goes missing. Taking a spare pair also allows you to swap them over when the pair they are wearing become saturated.
Mittens are a great option for babies, they are warmer due to all the fingers being together and much easier to get on and off without squashing said tiny fingers.
Socks & Boots
Good fitting winter boots for kids will keep their feet protected from the cold ground but should always be accompanied by quality winter socks. Again, cotton should be avoided as these will absorb moisture and zap vital heat away from the skin. If your child is still a little unsteady on their feet, be sure to let them practice wearing bulkier boots at home before you go.
A Buff will offer extra protection around the neck area. Draughts can often creep in the gaps between collars but a Buff or similar neck gaiter will offer an extra layer of protection to reduce the chance of any heat loss. They are also very versatile and can offer a warm haven for cold cheeks during periods of inactivity.
While goggles won't provide a huge level of insulation they will offer much needed protection from UV damage, glare from the sun as well as blizzarding snow.
Aside from a great selection of layers, it's good to make sure you take them for plenty of inside breaks too. Take off their outer layers and indulge in some warm drinks and a snack or two by the fire. If their base layers are damp, swap them for dry ones before they head back out.
Although many of these will no doubt come as parental instinct, it is all too easy to get caught up in worry and keep putting off your trip. Hopefully these tips will offer a little encouragement and reinforcement that with a little extra planning you can achieve an incredible family holiday and enjoy many more to come.