Getting the whole family up and out, well prepared for a long day in cold weather can be as challenging as your very first snow plough. Here are a few tips from us to make life a little bit easier:
- Before your holiday, talk through cold weather layering systems and explain it to your children. This will make the getting ready chore easier from day one.
- Get your little ones self–dressing – practice before you go by making a clothes train.
- Practice taking off and hanging up to dry at the end of the day…it is your holiday too!
- Use layers and overalls when it is freezing in the UK, it doesn’t have to be snowing to appreciate warm clothing.
- Invest in outerwear that is easy to put on and take off. Show your children how to roll down their overall and tie the arms around the waist, handy at lunch time.
Layer 1 - Next to the skin
• Polyester thermals are best for active kids because they’ll wick moisture away from the skin when they sweat.
• Merino wool thermals are ideal for colder than -3C, for less active kids and for non-skiers.
• Knitted wool socks are so much warmer than cotton in cold weather. Knee highs are essential for ski-boots.
• Inner Gloves will add an extra layer of warmth if you are expecting temperatures below -3C.
• Merino or fleece balaclava or beanie hat should be thin enough to wear under a ski helmet.
• Neck-warmers or ‘fake polos’ are a warm and safe alternative to scarves.
Cotton is not recommended because it retains moisture without locking in warm air making the wearer feel cold.
Layer 2 - Middle
• Polyester fleece is ideal for all temperatures as it is warm yet breathable. Remove and stash in a backpack when the sun comes out.
• Merino wool can also be worn as a middle layer, this natural insulator will lock the heat in.
Avoid heavy knitted wool sweaters as they are too restrictive and not breathable enough.
Layer 3 – Outerwear
• Waterproof ratings greater than a water-pillar of 10,000 are best for kids as they tend to spend lots of time playing on their knees, seats and backs.
• Snow-tight, look out for elastic ribs at sleeves, snowgaitors, footstraps and adjustable waists.
• Padded outerwear is best for younger children, and also for older skiers when the weather is below freezing.
• Lift pass pockets and chest pockets with large handy zip pulls make life easier.
• Hard wearing fabric that can withstand plenty of ground contact will last for the next child…and the next!
• Lightweight fabrics and pre-shaped arm sleeves and knees will not restrict movement.
• Windproof fabrics should also be breathable to maintaining a comfortable body temperature.
• Reflectives front and back enhance safety for apres ski excursions.
• Comfortable and safe features such as chin protectors and detachable hoods are a must for young children, especially around button and chair lifts.
• Easy to clean, an anti-dirt finish with a wipeable surface and machine washable makes life easier for everyone.
• Helmets for all the family.
• Ski goggles.
• Ski harness for very young children – if they are sturdy enough to ski.
• Skiwear with practical features such as lift pass pocket and adjustable cuffs on salopettes, so they are easy to get on and off with boots on.
• Skiwear with 360-degree reflectors so you can be seen when dusk descends.
• Underlayers that wick away moisture. Wool is especially good. Taking two sets is advisable.
• Face mask/balaclava in case of very cold weather.
• Thinner wool socks that do not wrinkle in boots.
• A good intermediate layer for cold winter weeks. An intermediate layer of fleece or a wool blend will keep children warm all day.
• Ski gloves that you can fasten and unfasten boots easily while wearing.
• A back plate offers good protection if your children are a bit more daring on the slopes.
• Family games for evenings. Yazy, UNO and card games are obvious favourites.
• Sun block – if you are skiing in spring, the sun can be strong reflecting from the white snow.
• Sledges and hot sheet sledges.
• Prepare some stews and lasagne etc. and home baked bread before you go to take with you if you don't fancy cooking every evening. You can pack frozen meals in the car roof box – then you will have a few meals already sorted when you arrive.
• Familiarise yourself with the ski system – discuss where you are going to go and which slopes you intend to ski on in advance. Plan and think together.
• Car bag – let your children pack their own bag with things for the car journey. Then it won't be so infinitely loooooooong. Book, pens, iPad with films, earbuds and small toy figures will go a long way. Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and explore new places on the way to the ski resort.
• Action cams – are available that you can fit to a helmet or ski pole. They will produce fantastic footage that you can watch when you get back home again
• Take raisins, energy bars, biscuits and drinks with you on the slopes for a quick energy boost.
Fun and games on the slopes
• Follow John – suitable for all – and real fun if you are a bigger group.
• Meatballs and spaghetti. A good balancing exercise where you bend your knees on the slope and then stretch up like a stick of spaghetti.
• Build small jumps that you can ski over.
• Build snowmen and create your own little ski resort.
• Hold a build a snowman competition – the one most like Olaf in Frozen wins.
• Take hot sheet sledges and hold a family race – the winner gets 100 hugs.
• Bored on the chairlift? Think of as many words as you can that start with A, B, C etc. Say every other word. Or count the chairlift pylons as you pass them.