Does morning mayhem prevent your family’s ski day from starting smoothly? Harley Johnson, an avid skier who is director of Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s award-winning Snow Sport University, shares tips based on her own experience raising three children who are enthusiastic fans of snow sports.
“That time together on the slopes is what skiing families value. But many parents tell me that the beginning of a ski day can be a bit daunting, as they organize their young children and their gear,” says Johnson. She believes that the secret to a smooth start to the day is in the preparation you do ahead of time. “I learned to be as organized as possible before leaving the house,” she laughs.
Johnson shares the following five tips to fine tune your family’s ski day preparation:
- Pack snacks for the ride home because your children are likely to be tired and hungry at the end of the day. This is a good idea whether you ski at an area near your home or are heading “home” to lodging at a vacation destination.
- If your drive is a short one, dress your kids in their ski boots, helmets and ski wear before leaving the house. If your drive is long, suit up your children once you arrive at your destination so that they don’t overheat or feel uncomfortable in the car.
- Pack a sled in the car so that upon arrival, you can load extra gear and small children into the sled. To securely little passengers and gear, a plastic sled with sides is best. Adults should change into their ski boots and load up the sled prior to getting children out of the car. (At Smugglers’, complimentary wagons are available at the rental shop for toting kids and gear.)
- Ski poles can be hard to keep in a sled because they are lightweight and tend to slide out easily. Teach kids to carry their own poles safely with a pole in each hand or with both poles held together in one hand – but always pointy end down!
- Encourage kids to carry their own skis. Even kids as young as 3 can carry their skis for a short distance – and each time they carry them, the distance is likely to get longer. To carry their own skis, have your child hold their arms out in front of them at a comfortable level, then lay the skis across their arms. This is the easiest way for young children to carry their skis.
Johnson and her kids love to head to the mountain to enjoy time together on her days off from managing the resort’s ski and snowboard instruction. The family is increasingly reaping the benefits of their ski day preparations. Johnson says, “As the kids have grown older, they have become more independent, and what they have learned over the years has contributed to us all enjoying the ski experience together.”
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Have you fine tuned your family’s ski day preparation? We welcome your tips in a comment.