First Time Skiing With A Baby: Do’s & Dont’s For Parents (One Thing To Avoid)
Although skiing can be an expensive, time-consuming, and hectic endeavor especially if you are traveling with a baby (or two), it can be a worthwhile experience that will give you cherished lifelong memories. That said, what are the best ways to ensure your next ski trip with your young ones will be an enjoyable one?
Taking extra time to plan your trip so that you can avoid cold temperatures and crowded slopes while allowing yourself more flexibility on the mountain and equipping yourself with baby-friendly gear will all make your next ski day as easy as possible.
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Things You Should Do
1. Determining The Right Age To Start Skiing
Deciding the right age get your child on skis is a highly debated issue throughout the skiing community. As a resort employee, I have seen kids as young as 12 months old learning to ski with their parents, however, I have also seen much older kids that just don’t seem ready to take on the mountain.
Ultimately, this is up to you as the parent. You know better than anyone else how confident and coordinated your child is, so you should be the one to make this call. You don’t want to scare them away from the sport for good, but in my opinion, the earlier they are on skis, the better.
My parents put me on skis at the age of 2, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this. Like anything else, the younger you get your child started at an activity, the more time they will have to grow and learn to become a natural at the sport.
2. Scout Out Lifts And Terrain Prior To Arrival
If you are considering taking your baby to a resort that you have never skied before then it would be wise to scout out the layout of the mountain prior to bringing the younger members of your family. (Only relevant if you're within a few hours of said resort).
Some resorts consist primarily of expert terrain while others have large portions dedicated to beginner skiers.
Knowing what you are walking into will give you peace of mind, not to mention it is an excuse to play hooky from work and go skiing instead. Talk about a win-win situation.
3. Consider The Time Of Year & Check The Weather
It's rare that resorts get warm enough to ski in t-shirts and shorts, though it does happen, however, there are varying degrees of cold you may be accustomed to that your baby is not. Consider when you want to plan your trip and try to choose some of the warmer skiing months to avoid subzero temperatures and gale-force winds.
Winter climates can change drastically depending on what part of the country you are in, coastal resorts will be much wetter than those located in the Rocky Mountains, which tend to be higher in elevation and thus much windier. December and January tend to be the coldest months on average, so try and plan to take your tot skiing earlier or later in the season when temperatures are milder.
4. Choose A Family Friendly Resort
Not all resorts are as equipped as others to handle infants and the extra care that is needed to cater to their needs. It will save you a lot of time and headache to simply call the resort before showing up to see what they offer.
Many resorts will offer extra amenities like childcare, transportation, and kid-friendly ski zones to make your day on the mountain much less stressful. These options can be the difference between an epic day full of memories and one that will scare you away from skiing altogether.
If you decide that your child is too young to start skiing then childcare is your best option for keeping both you and your baby happy and occupied. Not all resorts offer this option, but most do, so be sure to check in with the resort before traveling.
Childcare prices can vary and availability is limited, but if you plan far enough ahead you should have no problem securing a spot for your young one. You should expect to pay anywhere from $80-$150 per day for a full day of child care, this will include meals and a day full of activities to keep them entertained.
6. Bring Friends And Family
This may sound counterintuitive to some, but bringing reinforcements to the mountain is the best possible thing you can do to ensure everyone has an amazing day skiing. This includes extra adults that can watch the baby while you go explore more expert terrain, as well as other children of the same age to keep the baby entertained.
You can even consider inviting family members who don’t ski to help watch the children while you enjoy getting in some fresh turns. Many people are more than happy to hang out in the lodge and marvel at the breathtaking views that ski resorts are known to offer.
7. Bring Extra Supplies
Bringing a baby to a ski resort should be treated like any other situation that you are unfamiliar with, plan for the worst but expect the best. This means bringing extra clothing, toys, diapers, food, and anything else that your child could possibly need during a long day of skiing.
Slips, falls, and spills are commonplace at any ski resort (even for adults), so bringing extra warm clothing is a must to ensure your baby stays warm and happy. All of the hustle and bustle of a busy ski resort can be overstimulating for some young children, so be sure to bring familiar distractions for them should their day begin to turn sour.
What Should I Avoid?
When it comes to the things you shouldn't do when bringing your youngest children to a ski resort, it is necessary to remember most things are going to be out of your control. This may sound like a terrifying thought for many parents, but it should serve as a reminder that taking a baby skiing is no small endeavor.
This is why it is so important to consider the variables that you can control like where you go skiing, how you dress your baby, and how you choose to ski with them. As a former ski resort employee, here are a few of the things that I noticed parents neglecting the most.
1. Skiing With A Baby Carrier
This is a far too common sight at resorts and it is guaranteed to make every resort employee cringe. These backpack-style baby carriers seem like a great idea and companies do a great job of marketing them to the public but they are simply unsafe.
If your child is too young to stand on skis then they have no business being on the mountain in the first place. This may sound harsh, but it is a safety issue that many choose to ignore. Skiing with a child strapped to your body greatly increases the chance of serious injury.
Parents tend to ski at much higher speeds when they are carrying their children versus teaching them the old-fashioned way, and it can make them overconfident on the slopes. On top of this, many parents aren’t accustomed to skiing with the extra weight on their upper body, making them unstable and prone to falls.
2. Crowded Slopes
Important: You can’t control other skiers and riders on the mountain, so the best way to avoid an accident is to bypass crowded slopes altogether.
The best way to avoid overcrowded slopes is to avoid skiing during peak times of the season including weekends and holidays.
Larger resorts offer more terrain, but they also draw much larger crowds than smaller mountains do. Consider choosing a mountain that is off the beaten path, especially if your only option is to go skiing on a weekend or holiday.
Even though they are underused, helmets are the most important piece of equipment that a skier can own. You only have one brain, so be sure to protect it. However, helmets aren’t always the best idea for very young babies.
Babys have very weak neck muscles which make it hard to support their heads, especially when there is extra weight strapped to them. You and your baby should be skiing at speeds where a helmet shouldn’t be necessary, but should you choose to use one, make sure that they can easily support the extra weight.
4. Babies Can’t Tell You When They Are Cold
Outside of crying, babies aren’t really able to tell you when they get too cold so you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping them warm. Just because you are bundled up and comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is too.
Make sure to outfit them in warm and waterproof clothing from head to toe. Their bodies don’t generate as much heat as an adult, so don’t be afraid to overcompensate when dressing them. This includes hats that cover the ears and neck gaiters that can cover parts of the face, especially on those extra windy days.
Key takeaway: For some, the thought of bringing a baby to a ski resort can be a nightmare, but by taking the extra time to plan for your next ski outing you can eliminate the stress and uncertainty that comes along with taking your infant to a foreign place.
Make sure to research the weather, and the resort’s child-friendly amenities, and bring a team of friends and family to help make you and your baby’s next day on the mountain a memorable one.