It’s proud day as a parent when your child begins to enjoy their time on the mountain. Skiing or boarding as a family is a wonderful bonding experience. But we also know getting the kiddos ready for a day on the slopes can be a challenge! Here are some tips to help make your family shred day headache free.
For younger kids, it’s good to start to prep them a day or two before your ski outing, telling them what to expect. (skiing with mom and dad, taking a lesson, the drive time, activities for the car ride and after skiing, etc.) A review of the planned day is always best to reduce any stress, fears, or just the unknown. If this isn’t their first time, it’s good to mention some positive memories so they aren’t focused on any negative aspects like falling or the exhaustion afterward. Have your ski items all gathered and packed up the night before, including food, to further reduce everyone’s stress and to avoid forgetting an important item.
Keep Them Fueled
Kids will let you know when they are hungry, both with verbalization and overall attitude. And skiing/ boarding burns a lot of calories! Start with a filling, healthy breakfast, and make sure your kids are fueled up for their ski day. Dodge complaining by packing snacks like bars or nuts Keeping your hanger at bay will also help you better manage any situation that’s thrown at you. You can even let the kids help prep the food so that they are proud of their contribution. If you have a long drive or are leaving before everyone is ready to eat, pack a breakfast as well that you can eat once at the resort or ski area.
Make sure they’re never too hot or too cold by dressing them in an abundance of layers that can be easily added and/ or removed. A teeth-chattering kiddo is not going to enjoy the mountain experience quite as much and is more likely to want to bail out early.
Play games or put on a movie to avoid boredom and make the drive go quickly. This is especially helpful preparation if you hit some ski traffic. Now a-days, a video in the car can make that sometimes long drive easier to tolerate. Be careful to make certain any videos are finished before arrival, so as to not set up frustrated and angry kids wanting to watch videos rather than ski! For a longer, early drive, try encouraging them to sleep a bit in the beginning of a drive. As you get closer, try playing games with everyone in the car to help get them awake, chatting, and ready to get out and go!
Make Your Arrival Easy
Once at the resort of your choice, if possible, drive up and drop off the little shredders and what they will need for the day up at the front with one parent. It’s much easier to get the kids excited about taking the lift up when they are not too cold from a parking lot trek, loaded down with all the bags and boots, etc. Dress all the kiddos and hit the bathrooms, giving the other parent or adult time to park the car and get up to the lodge.
Once on the Mountain
Having the kids look at the ski trail map and showing them where they have skied while teaching them to understand the color codes is great practice. Often the little ones are interested to see how many different runs they can do, being the one to select the next run, and especially being the one to lead the way. Follow the leader (everyone gets a turn) and for younger kids even playing games while skiing like Red Light, Green Light, makes skiing for scared or timid skiers into a game while improving their stopping, starting and ability to move quickly.
Skiing can be tiring and somewhat frustrating if your child is still learning and improving. Mixing in a reward to make the experience more enjoyable for them might be a good idea! If they associate pushing through some of that frustration with getting a hot chocolate in the lodge after a couple hours, they are more likely to enjoy the overall experience. When shopping for your ski day, you can even let the kids pick out their favorite treat to nibble on after lunch.
Kids have a shorter attention span and are probably newer to the sport than you so getting frustrated is normal! Make sure that along with all of your ski gear, you pack your patience. Once you’re flying down the mountain with your family and see huge smiles on your kids’ faces, it will all be worth it!