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  • Get In Gear!

    By Tammie Thompson

    First Wedge! Okay, the holidays are upon us. And if you are like me, all this holiday shopping has taken time away from winter organization! On a beautiful Sierra day I headed out for my first day this season. Disorganization is an understatement. My skis had grime and old wax from last spring. My goggles were scratched. I had only one glove in my ski box. And that was the good news. The kid's equipment was a nightmare. My son had grown ten inches or something and his skis were too short. There was no way he could squeeze into his long underwear and my three-year-old wanted to go too.

    A little preparation would have helped. Do as I say, not as I do. If you haven't already, get in gear.

    Outfitting the family for the snow need not be as complicated as it sounds. By following the layered effect, it's possible to combine everyday clothing with higher tech fabric to get maximum warmth and breathability.

    Photo courtesy Alpine Meadows Start with a cotton or polypropylene underlayer, follow up with turtleneck and either wool or fleece sweater or vest and cover with a water-repellent shell. While many manufacturers sport fleece outerwear, kids end up like snowballs in the first five minutes. One-piece suits work well with younger children and there are fewer items to lose!

    Consider the socks your child will wear. Though more expensive, ski socks offer wicking properties, but more importantly to you, they fit tightly around the foot, creating a smooth surface between foot and boot. Try to keep them dry (no barefoot treks to eat snow) until they are inside the boot.

    Often overlooked, ski accessories not only add to the overall look of your ensemble, but also play an important role in comfort and warmth. Helmets are a must for kids. They come in all kinds of radical colors and prints. Be sure to have them fitted each season by a professional. Think of adding a neck gaiter or neck-up for cold days. Waterproof gloves or mittens (consider spraying with ScotchGuard) are also a necessity, carry a spare in your backpack. Everyone should wear goggles or sunglasses (no excuses). Goggles tend to stay on better and don't seem to get lost as easily.

    Start with a healthy dose of suncreen and add frequently. Lip balm on a string around the neck is a good idea too (be sure it is tucked under jacket). Add a PowerBar or other high energy treat in the pocket and you are ready to roll!

    The icing on the cake: keep a packed bag full of extra mittens, sunscreen, hats, quarters (for lockers), long underwear, extra turtleneck and neck gaiter. Keep the bag in the car and it's a no brainer on ski day. I haven't met a family yet who hasn't forgotten something. One boot. No suit. No helmet. Gloves? Lunch. Oh and don't forget your American Express card.

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