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  • Ski Trip Survival 101

    by Shannon Luthy

    Rippin' Rider Piper hits the Snow You're up early. You've loaded the car last night. You carry the sleeping kids from bed to the warmed-up car and head out into the frosty dark of an early morning, all in hopes of getting first tracks, and a good parking place at the local ski area. Steaming coffee from the corner gas station warms your hands and opens your eyes a bit wider.

    Pulling into the area, everyone is awake and excited now. You start unloading and kids start dressing. You hear, "Honey, where are my ski boots?" Uh-oh. "Why, I didn't pack the boots, dear. You did." Uh-oh again. The perfect day has just turned in to the perfect mess.

    Everyone has forgotten something sometime when heading up for a day, or week of skiing. That's why a check list is crucial, especially when you're packing for kids. Here's the list. Keep it. Make copies. Make adjustments. File it in the computer and print it up every time you head to the slopes. It starts with the obvious:

    Use columns, or a page for each member of your family ( Mom, Dad, Kid - 1, Kid -2, friend, etc.)

    Ski Pass
    Lip Balm
    Neck Gator
    Snow Boots
    Indoor Shoes
    Long Underwear
    Bibs or Snow Pants
    Shell/Ski Coat
    Spare clothes to change into
    Car Snacks (Goldfish, fruit snacks, juice boxes, water bottles)
    Car Toys (Books, cassettes, toys)
    Baby Tylenol
    BABIES: diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, extra clothes, pacifier, blankie
    Emergency Car Kit

    Once You've Arrived
    For a family day trip, get there early. You'll get a good parking space; no slogging across the frozen parking lot, lugging the kids and gear.

    Ski School/Day Care
    Make a reservation at the children's center in advance. When your kids go to ski school, give them their own special bag with their name on everything. Dan O'Connell, the Children's Center Coordinator for the Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen, says sunscreen is crucial; it's something they're constantly reminding people to bring. Either way, they still have gallons of it (as do most children's centers) in each room. But it is easier on everyone if you put it on your child before you come.

    O'Connell says glasses and goggles that fit are frequently forgotten. Children may not want to wear them, but it's very important that they wear them all day, especially at altitude. "Maybe from where they come from, they don't need glasses all day. People don't realize how important it is up here because we're so much closer to the sun, and the reflection of the snow is so bright."

    Make sure all of your child's clothing is waterproofed. That includes ski pants, jacket and especially gloves. Do not equip your kid with knit gloves. Fingers will turn into little popsicles. Conversely, don't overdress your kid. One pair of socks and long underwear is just fine. Put extra clothes in their bag, if you'd like.

    And finally, for little skiers in the three-to four-year-old range, let them bring blankie, or binky, or Baby Bop, or whatever they call it. O'Connell says, "Sometimes if they have something that really relaxes them, or that is really comforting, it helps them to get over separation anxiety. And it certainly helps if they become over-stimulated by being in a new environment and away from home." At three-years-old, our daughter used to stick her blankie in the sleeve of her ski suit when she went out. It made her happy and she had fun, so it was fine with me.

    Another List
    Here's what to have (all labeled) on your child or in his/her ski bag:

    Skis and Ski Boots if you aren't renting at the resort
    Snow Boots
    Indoor Shoes
    Waterproof ski pants or snowsuit
    Waterproof ski coat
    Long Underwear or warm underclothing
    Sweater or Sweatshirt
    Warm Socks, plus two spare pair
    Sun glasses
    Hat/ helmet
    Neck gator or ski mask
    Warm mittens/gloves
    Chapstick or lip protector
    Spare underwear
    A change of dry clothes
    Blankie/Teddy/Special Toy/Picture of Mom and Dad
    Babies need formula and bottles, baby food and snacks, disposable diapers, Pacifier, change of clothes

    Be like Santa: "Make a list and check it twice." Ho-ho-ho. Happy skiing!

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