01 Dec 7 essential tips for children's ski gear and a handy packing list
With the new season for 2014-15 upon us, it's that time of year we start to plan. Packing for the children is no mean feat. There is nothing more irritating than forgetting a vital piece of kit only to have to purchase another at great expense in resort.
So here are a few top tips for getting the right ski equipment in the first place and a quick checklist to refer to when it's time to pack!
Choosing the right gloves
Cold fingers mean guaranteed whingeing so it's worth splashing out on these to ensure they are really toasty. Note: mittens are often warmer. Look for gloves with wrist straps ideally so when they take them off (a foregone conclusion) they're still attached. Size wise, check they come up the wrist so that they cover the jacket cuff.
Goggles vs Glasses
Personally we'd recommend goggles over glasses. They cover the full eye area / face more fully. They fasten onto helmets well so they don't tend to fall off. They're less likely to steam up and they're much easier for kids to deal with. Plus you can play the ‘real skiers / boarders wear goggles' card. If you're skiing in late March or April, however, you may want to go for glasses as goggles are often simply too hot. Also – it's worth having another pair of sunglasses for downtime in resort.
Jacket vs all in one snowsuit
This is probably not a decision you'd even consider for children over 8, given the risk of refusal to wear said one piece ski suit! But even for toddlers and young children, I would opt for a two piece suit over the all in one, quite simply because of the difficulties of going to the bathroom!
Make sure it has an elasticated spray skirt to stop snow ingress. Otherwise one inevitable tumble later and the wet jacket equals tears and end of play for all concerned. The same applies to the cuffs – the ability to adjust and fasten these tight is a real bonus. Style wise – I would avoid falling for overly fashionable gear as next year it'll be passé already. Instead go for bold, bright colours so you can spot them on the hill as they snake down the pistes.
Hats and helmets
Skiing with a helmet is an absolute must for children. The question is whether to hire or buy. This probably depends on how often you're going to ski. Hired helmets are fine but usually well used. The answer may be a multi-purpose helmet. These days you can get one helmet that is suitable for skiing, scooting, biking and skating. Check the specs of course and look for extras that allow for temperature regulation, for example detachable inners / flaps and so on.
Pocket sun cream
You cream them up in the morning, thinking you're covered and then you meet for lunch on the mountain before another quick ski. It's so easy to forget to put more sunscreen on. The sun is so strong at altitude, that I advise packing your kids off to ski school / instruction with their own pocket sun cream, complete with lip protection. Get them in the habit early and you won't need to worry.
The almighty buff
There are I'm sure other brands out there but Buff reigns supreme for many of us. It can be used instead of a scarf, as a hat, hand warmer – a thoroughly versatile and fun bit of kit that stops nasty chills down the back of the neck and doesn't get in the way like a scarf. Plus it packs down nicely into a pocket without any fuss at all.
That wraps up our top tips on ski equipment must-haves for your next family ski holiday. Now for our definitive children's ski packing check list:
December – February
- 1 x snow boots* (we love the children's Sorrel boots)
- 1 x hat (remember they're in helmets on the snow so this is only really for apres-ski time)
- 2 x base layers* (ideally merino wool – they're by far the best. More breathable and warmer than anything else)
- 3 x ski socks (again merino is best if possible)
- 1 x salopettes
- 1 x jacket
- 2 x fleece or suitable extra layer*
- 1 x goggles*
- 1 x pocket sunscreen with lip protection too
- 2 x trousers for après-ski*
- 3 x long sleeved tops*
- 2 x jumpers*
- 1 x slippers (we provide these at Le Chardon so don't pack them if you're staying with us)
- 1 x pyjamas
- 1 x dressing gown (the chalets are toasty so I would only bring this if in a shared chalet)
- 1 x toothbrush & paste
- Comforter / teddy (or you could save space and cuddle our Chardon teddy that will be waiting for each child)
- Lots of pants!
- 7 x socks
March and April
Delete one or more of all those marked with an asterix.* And add in:
- 2 x shorts
- 2 x t-shirts
- Wrap around sunglasses
- Baseball cap / Sunhat
- 1 x trainers instead of snow boots although the latter is still handy for walking across the pistes
Remember we are writing these as a guide but it pays to always check the snow conditions ahead of travelling! We like www.snow-forecast.com Have a fabulous trip!