Chill Out!

Logistical Ease
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Kid with Snowboard
BORN TO RIDE: Kids are drawn to boarding, as it’s the "cool" snowsport (PhotoDisc)
Training and Preparation

If you live at sea level, going up to five or six thousand feet may cause drowsiness and headaches. Everyone in the family will adjust to a new elevation easier if they know what to expect. If possible, plan for an easy first or second day on the mountain. Remember that elevation and cold weather conspire to deprive your body of fluids, so keep everyone hydrated.

Skiing is a great way to keep in shape. It develops strong legs, abdomen, arms, and back, while also providing a decent cardiovascular workout. The better shape you are in, the better you ski or ride and the less likely you are to incur an injury. If you and your children bike, swim, hike, or play tennis in the summer, the transition to winter sports will be easier. Even if it’s two weeks before your trip, use skiing as motivation to get out and take a brisk walk. Show your child some basic stretches and work on them a few minutes every morning and evening. Add a few sit-ups and push-ups. Children love to exercise with their parents and you don’t need to drag them to the gym to do jumping jacks. Most kids could ski down and run up the mountain all day in waist deep powder, but swimming, soccer, mountain biking, or hiking are great off-season training activities.

Helpful Hints

Teach your child that everyone ends up going to the bathroom behind a tree at some point. When your four-year-old remembers that he has to go potty at the top of the chair lift, be grateful you’re not in the middle of a long lift line during Christmas vacation. In case of an accident, keep an extra set of underwear and long-johns in the car.

Pack snacks to distract kids when they get chilly (or take a fall and get snow down their collars and pants). Use treats as rewards for a good performance on the slope—M&M’s or Skittles can inspire a child to make a turn rather than bomb straight down the hill until the inevitable crash, and a small thermos of hot chocolate does wonders on a chilly day.  Keep a zip-lock treat bag in your pocket, fanny pack, or backpack—plus you’ll have somewhere to store sunblock and extra clothes. If rushed in the morning, donut shops and fast-food breakfasts are your best friend (and inspiration for the kids to get ready and out of the house). And don't worry—they’ll burn off those cinnamon rolls and jelly-filled donuts on the mountain.

As far gear organization, everyone should keep their own duffle with all of their personal equipment. If you plan to ski multiple times, life is easier if each person’s helmet, gloves, neck warmer, socks, base layers, mid layers and shells are dried out after each use and then repacked. Keep a check list in the side pocket, and you can quickly tick of the necessary items the night before. Keep an emergency kit in your car with extra sunblock, baby wipes, gloves, and underwear.

Published: 13 Nov 2007 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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