Dressing your child well for skiing can literally be the difference between them loving or hating it. Cold hands, feet or face, rubbing boots or an uncomfortable helmet can all ruin their day and that likely means it will ruin your day too! And this is even more important if your child is in ski school and doesn’t have a parent on hand with a bag full of extra layers. Here are a few tips to ensure you appropriately dress your child for skiing to ensure they feel warm and comfortable on the slopes.
How to Layer Your Child for Skiing
What to put on their feet
Good quality ski socks
Your child should wear one pair of good quality ski socks. Don’t be tempted to double them up as they will rub and cause irritation. The socks need to be long enough to come up to just below the knee so that they will clear the top of the ski boot to avoid rubbing. Make sure they have clean ski socks each day especially on cold days. Even if they are dry and appear or smell clean, if they have sweated in them the day before then they hold this moisture and their feet will become colder much quicker.
Dry ski boots
The best way to ensure that ski boots are dry is to take the liner out of the boots and leave like that to dry overnight. Often the inside of the boot can feel dry enough but when you take out the liner you find condensation on it. Here’s how to take the liners out of your boots.
How to keep their legs warm
These should be tight-fitting and consisting of warm breathable fabric. But most importantly, the bottoms should be pulled up to the knees so that the socks meet the leggings and don’t overlap. There should be no layering or bunching inside the ski boots to avoid rubbing on the shins. You can now buy leggings that are shorter and don’t go right down to the ankles so don’t need pulling and scrunching up. Even better, you can now buy tights for kids which have ski socks built into them which means that you have no bunching, the socks can’t fall down or twist and the leggings can’t overlap.
Ski bib pants vs. normal salopettes?
Bib pants are ski salopettes that come up to their chests and higher up their back too. This is useful so that if they fall over, the snow doesn’t get into their thermals or go down their back. Put their ski pants on over the top of their mid-layer fleece and avoid tucking any of the pants into the ski boot, they should go over the ski boot if possible.
We couldn’t decide between bib pants and normal ski pants in the office, so we’ve concluded it’s a personal preference over using bib pants or trousers. Some of our team believe bib pants are better for children under six years old as it keeps their bodies warm. But they can be more difficult to get off in a rush to the toilet for younger children. Others believe bib pants are better for older children as they can take them on and off themselves and usually have more time before they need the toilet. It all depends on your child’s development and bathroom routine.
Ways to keep their body warm and toasty
In the morning, the first thing to put on when dressing your child for skiing is a thermal long-sleeved top. We suggest tucking in their thermal top into the leggings for extra warmth. Use a tight-fitting top in a warm breathable fabric and even better if there’s a turtle neck for extra warmth. The North Face does some great thermal tops for kids.
Layer a fleece on top of the thermal layer to keep the heat trapped close to the body. Preferably choose one with a full zip so that your child can easily unzip it if they are too hot, or take it off in a restaurant at lunch.
To appropriately dress your child for skiing, they will need a waterproof and lined ski jacket. Check it has a pocket in the left arm to put the lift pass in (as the lift pass scanners are on the left-hand side) and pockets big enough to keep a cereal bar and hand warmers.
How to protect their face from the elements
Perhaps the best piece of clothing that we have ever bought for kids who ski. Made of a thin light material and worn under a helmet. This not only makes the helmet comfortable to wear but keeps the neck, face and head warm. Unlike neck warmers the part over their chin and cheeks doesn’t fall down, meaning that for cold days only the tip of their nose is showing. It also helps to keep long hair out of their face which means fewer tears at bath time! And if the day warms up, they can pull it down around their neck and use as a neck warmer.
Most ski hire shops will now rent helmets with the children’s equipment for a low price. If however, you are looking to buy a one, look for one that is adjustable at the back so that it may last longer as they grow. With a clip at the back to hold the goggles in place which will make your child feel much more comfortable when getting ready for a day on the slopes.
Put goggles on your child, not sunglasses. They protect more of their face from cold weather or harsh sun, their eyes don’t run when they ski fast and they are less likely to fall off. If you own a helmet for your child, take that to the shop when you purchase the goggles to make sure it fits well with the helmet. Try to make sure it doesn’t create too much of a gap between the top of the goggles and the helmet as otherwise, they will get a cold forehead.
On a sunny day, they should have at least a category 3 lens to protect their eyes from the sun. You can now buy photochromic goggles that change colour depending on the light levels which avoids the need for different lenses – whether its a whiteout or a sunny day. At the end of the day take the goggles off the helmet and put them inside the helmet to avoid them getting scratched.
How to keep their hands toasty all-day
Gloves vs. mittens?
Gloves can be the most difficult item of clothing to keep on kids. There are so many badly designed gloves on the market, so it’s important to find the right pair that your kids will want to keep on. It’s really important for kids to wear gloves on the slopes. If you want to learn more about skiing safely with kids then we have lots of tips and tricks to make your holiday run smoothly. An example of a great glove has the following:
- Mittens (rather than gloves) are far warmer and easier to get on and off.
- Choose a waterproof mitten that has a long part that comes up and over the wrist and arm and is most importantly is wide. There are many mittens on sale that are too narrow around the wrist which means they need to be worn under the coat sleeve in order to keep them on the hand. This is so impractical if your child takes their mitten off, as you then are struggling to get it back on under their sleeve.
- Even better if it has an elastic loop to put around the wrist as your child, so they can take off their mittens and not drop them as they will still be attached to their arms.
Hand warmers are a lifesaver
Always keep some hand warmers in the pocket of your child’s coat, to save the day on a particularly cold ski trip. They can open these and put them inside their gloves and they last for up to 8 hours. You can buy disposable and reusable hand warmers. If you’d like to read more about other ways to dress your child for skiing and another 8 ways to stay warm on the slopes, click here.