What to pack for a ski holiday with kids
With the arrival of chilly weather I immediately begin to think of a skiing holiday…perhaps we might be rewarded with lots of snow for the fast approaching Australian School Holidays.
Part of my DNA since I could walk – something we have passed on to our kids is a love of skiing.
With so much that is fabulous about the sport; first tracks on freshly groomed snow, the moment when you reach the top of the peak on a clear day and gaze at a breathtaking vista, hot chocolates at every stop (justified by the energy you expend…), taking your ski boots off at the end of the day and soaking in a hot tub outdoors (while falling snow flakes glisten in the fading light); the Apres Ski bar and cosy fireplaces…
Then there are the less pleasant aspects of skiing. Packing all that gear, and cold, wet kids…muck up the first one and the others are inevitable.
There are not many things I like less than packing for a ski holiday…it seems such an effort to get all the clothes together.
My stellar Mum points out regularily that I have it easy…when we were small Mum used to pack my three sisters and I (all under the age of ten), in the back of the 1st issue Subaru with all the paraphernalia that comes with keeping little ones warm and dry on the slopes. As she points out, there were no velcro tabs, clip on boots (yes I had leather lace ups and wooden skis), quick dry synthetic insulating fibres or dryers in our accommodation for that matter. She had to be super organised – you could say I learnt my ski holiday packing skills at the hand of a master.
PACKING LIST FOR A SKI HOLIDAY WITH KIDS
Thermals – long pants and long sleeved tops in a material designed to draw moisture away from the body (yes you sweat when you ski), that dry quickly. I pack 2 pairs – allowing for one in the wash – it is hard work getting ski suits off if you are in a hurry for the loo, accidents might happen. Ski thermals also double up as cosy PJ’s. When the boys were little I added a singlet to their layers as there is a lot more standing around in the cold when you are learning to ski.
Socks – specialist socks for skiing, I go for knee length so they don’t slip down and get bunched up in the ski boot which can become uncomfortable (3 pairs – feet get wet in ski boots, and smelly).
Neck Gaiter – in a fabric that breathes and dries quickly. You will need to have a face cover; wind gets brutal on ski lifts and they are a good way to prevent the sun burn that is notorious on mountains.
Jumper/Fleece – I go for ones with a zip neck. Done up while they are skiing and easy to let in some air while in the (generally over heated) lunch spots
Inner Gloves – now the boys are more independent I make them ski with a mobile phone incase we get separated. Last year I discovered wonderful inner gloves from Aldi, they have special fabric on the fingertips allowing you to use your mobile phone without removing the gloves. For little kids inner mittens are great.
Outter Gloves/Mittens – spend as much as you can afford on these items. They need to be WATERPROOF, hands get cold anyway when you are skiing, wet hands are a misery. I prefer mittens as easier to put on and off and I find not having my fingers separated in gloves keeps me toastier. It is all down to preference. Look for ones that have an elastic wrist band, so you can stay attached to the gloves even when you have removed them from your hands – over the years I have decided gloves fall into the missing pairs of socks category. Where do they all go?
Balaclava – either in addition to the neck gaiter, or instead of. Now helmets are worn (not ski hats), little heads need additional protection if you are out on a particularly cold day ,
INTERESTING FACT: Mum always used to say ‘put a hat on as you loose 80% of your body heat through your head’, well yes and no – you loose body heat through your head if the rest of you is clothed.
Um, unless you are planning on skiing in shorts (in which case the heat would be lost through your legs), keep a cover on your noggin.
Goggles – get the fit right and consider getting a pair that has lenses that alter (or can be swapped around), dependant on the weather conditions. On gloomy days you will have better visibility with lenses that are yellow/orange in tone, on bright sunny days a darker lense will save eyes from strong alpine rays.
Ski Pants – I have played on both the ‘hire’ and ‘buy’ side of the fence. In recent years it has become easier in Australia to find more affordable ski suits (I have also found fabulous quality bargains on Gumtree). I go for pants with braces and adjustable waists. Keeps kids backs warmer if the pants are not falling down ( you can get more than one season out of the pants with waists that grow with them). Make sure the pants have a ‘skirt’ at the bottom that goes over the TOP of the ski boot to stop snow falling into the boot.
Waterproof is again important. In addition I hang my gear on the washing line before we use it and give it a good spray with Scotchguard (not certain it is necessary with all the new technical fabrics, however we tend to stay dry so there must be something in it).
Ski jacket – Waterproof – a good idea if you can find one with an inner elasticated waist ‘skirt’, to prevent snow riding up the back.
Apres Ski Boots – most hire places have these if you cannot find a pair to buy. Essential for walking to and from accommodation, out for dinner (making snowmen) – ensure the boot comes high enough up the leg to allow for walking in deeper snow.
Suncream and Lip Balm – apply liberally.
Helmets, Boots, Skis, Poles – we always hire these items. If your budget allows, rent ‘executive hire‘, essentially an upgrade to better quality items and generally less ‘used’.
Mini Chocolate Bars – one for each pocket is the usual for my boys, skiing burns a lot of energy so a little chocolate goes a long way!
SUGGESTED KIDS SKI CLOTHING STOCKISTS IN AUSTRALIA
There are several specialty ski shops in Australia, however I generally find their pricing prohibitive for buying kids ski gear. The following outlets are where I buy our clothes (many are currently on sale). I have also had good luck with eBay for pricier brands (Spyder from suppliers in the USA where prices are much cheaper). If you search at the end of their Winter it is perfect timing for buying for our Winter. Be careful with measurements; that said I did make an error once and was able to send the garment back to be exchanged with the correct size.