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Skiing as a family is great fun but it can soon turn miserable if kids are cold and wet; anyone remember Ski School in the 80’s?

All children, but particularly young children, can sometimes find it hard to express their discomfort. This can turn a good day bad as their mood rapidly deteriorates, but this can be easily be avoided with the right gear, leading to happy kids and a longer day on the slopes for the whole family.

Here are the top ways that you can prepare children for maximum warmth, comfort and safety on the slopes:

1. Layers: Dressing correctly for skiing can be tricky as the temperature and the level of physical activity can change throughout the day. A large part of the day, particularly for children, involves waiting: waiting in line at ski school, waiting for the lift and sitting on the lift, or waiting on the slopes for their group. This means that a balance has to be achieved between wrapping them up and preventing them from overheating. Infants who are bundled in sleds and not yet mobile need extra layering as they are not generating as much body heat as the children who are playing or skiing. The layered approach is ideal for children. The base layer should ideally be a long sleeved t-shirt with either a high polyproline content, that can absorb moisture effectively, or Merino wool. Never use cotton. The Lukla base layer is perfect, designed with loads of child friendly features for ultimate comfort and style.

The fit should be tight enough to be close to the skin without constricting movement. Merino is a highly breathable fabric and great for temperature regulation, wicking moisture away from the body to keep the children dry, and also releasing body heat when too hot. It is also light-weight, and very soft and comfortable, as well as having anti-bacterial properties. Most importantly, Merino keeps its insulating properties even when damp.

The mid layer should be easily removable if the temperature changes or if the child is too warm. This layer traps heat close to the body and reinforces the base layer on cold days. A zipped mid-layer works well as it is easy to remove. Wool will pack down smaller and weigh less than fleece. The top layers should be breathable as well as wind and waterproof. Kids love to roll in the snow and during ski school and will often sit on the snow while waiting around. 

2. Helmets and Hats: In most countries and skiing resorts, helmets are compulsory for children at least until the age of 14. It needs to fit snugly and feel comfortable, even when shaking your head. It is also useful that children have hats for walking to and from ski school, as we lose most of our heat through our heads. The Kosi hoodie is ideal as it is a thin, warm base layer, with a lightweight seamless hood that will sit comfortably under the helmet and will also provide warmth when the helmet is off. It comes without an irritating neck label for maximum comfort. Most skiing helmets will come with adjustable and removable ear flaps, which can cushion and protect the ears and prevent frostbite, but also can be removed when the child is too warm and prevent them from overheating. If the helmet allows for ventilation that is an added bonus, as well as having goggle clips. Goggles are helpful, not only for eye protection, but for keeping the face warm as well.

3. Food and Drink:
Skiing is lots of fun but it uses a lot of energy. Children have faster metabolism and deplete their glucose content more readily than adults. Give them easy access snacks that they can eat without removing their gloves such as high energy bars and chocolates. Fatigue and dehydration can cause poor control and also can limit the blood flow to the skin and cause chills. Hydration Packs, such as Camelbak mini M.U.L.E. with an ergonomic design and levers to prevent any leakage make it easy to keep the children hydrated with minimal fuss. Water is the preferred first fluid to start with. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates (sugar), which can provide an immediate boost of energy, and electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which the body loses through sweat, and that are necessary for muscles to work properly.

4. Boots and Mittens: The extremities are the first to feel cold, and so good fitting gloves and boots are so important. Boots should fit well, and allow children’s feet to breathe and be able to move their toes around so that good circulation is maintained. When buckling the boot up, do not make it too tight. There is an artery that runs across the top of the foot and if the pressure on this is too much it will reduce the circulation and make the children’s feet colder. Again, although many boots have a warm layer, good socks are important that will provide warmth and also act as moisture wick. One pair of thin merino wool socks such as BARTS will prevent frostbite. Too many thick layers can cause weird lumps and discomfort. Similarly for hands, good well-fitting mittens will work better than gloves as they create an air pocket that allows circulation and also traps warm air. For additional warmth a pair of thin gloves can be worn under the mittens. Hand warmers are also really useful to keep the little hands and fingers warm and well-circulated especially when the children are out on the snow.

The excitement of the day can often take over and so make sure that the kids are having regular breaks, even if they don’t wish to stop, and check that they are not feeling numb in their fingers or toes. A good layering system, regular hydration and high nutrition food will help a huge deal in making your ski trip a trip of a lifetime.