Kids absolutely love the snow. From snowman making to snowball fights and of course skiing or snowboarding, the options for fun are limitless. There are things about a trip to the snow with little ones in tow that can seem daunting, however, so here’s a few tips that will help make your winter adventure run smoother than a freshly waxed toboggan…
1. RENT THE BEST QUALITY KIDS SKIS AND SNOWBOARDS
In order for a child to learn to ski or snowboard confidently, they need equipment that is reliable, easy to use and will enhance their technique, just like an adult. The only major difference is that a child will outgrow their equipment from season to season, so renting is definitely the best option. Nowadays ski and snowboard companies are developing their children’s ranges with many of the same technical specifications as their adult ranges. For example a toddler ski like the Armada Bantam (available for rent from Rhythm Japan in Niseko and Hakuba is lightweight and forgiving, but still responsive enough to assist with turning.
2. WARM KIDS ARE HAPPY KIDS!
Kids in the snow are more likely to get cold than adults, mostly because they spend more time playing in it, sitting on it or even lying in it. Here’s a few ways you can help keep them warm and dry…
- Layer up! Start with wool or wool blend thermals, add a fleece or wool mid-layer and then a quality waterproof snow jacket and pants, or full piece suit. Burton has a fantastic range of ski clothes for kids, as do Spyder and Kjus. You can find these brands at Burtons Niseko, Zaka and Rhythm Japan Hakuba.
- Mitts are a great option for kids because their fingers will be kept cosy by sharing their own warmth. Choose a pair that are water resistant and also have easy access. The Bado mitts from Oyuki are ideal .
- Never buy cheap socks for kids! They need good quality wool socks, just like adults.
- Balaclavas are a great way to add a layer under their helmet that will also keep their neck and chin warm. Check these ones out from Oyuki.
3. SAFETY FIRST
Most ski schools have a ‘lids on kids’ policy, which means they won’t be able have a lesson without a helmet. This aside, helmets are the best way for your child to stay safe on the mountain. Companies now make helmets that ‘grow’ with your child’s head, which means they will last a couple of seasons at least. Check these ones out from Giro, which are available for purchase at Rhythm Japan. Rhythm Japan also has children’s helmets available for rent.
4. LESSONS ARE KEY
Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing your child’s learning experience! Not only are ski and snowboard instructors highly skilled when it comes to getting little ones sliding on the slopes, they will also make it non-stop fun. And the best part is parents reap the rewards by having children that are confident, safe and happy little riders. Check out GoSnow in Niseko for more information
5. SHARE THE CARE
Parents deserve plenty of time on the mountain as well! Niseko Kids Club is a great example of the kind of in-resort care that’s available for children. It’s an international childcare centre in Niseko that provides adventure and education to children from 12 months to six years. This means mum and dad can head out and enjoy the powder snow and feel confident their little ones are being looked after and entertained. And here’s a tip, if you’re looking for great babysitters, ask around and the local ski school. Ski instructors make fun and responsible babysitters and are normally more than happy to earn some extra money!
6. SNOW PLAY AND APRES
The fun of a family snow holiday isn’t limited to the ski runs. Kids love to get down and dirty in the white stuff both on and off the mountain, so make sure they are dressed appropriately, just like you would if they were going riding. That means layering with thermals, midlayers, waterproof outerwear, beanies and mittens. They will also need après boots, which are available in kid’s sizes for both rent and purchase. Make sure they have good grip and also easy entry (like a long zipper or Velcro). Rhythm Summit and Boot Solutions (in Niseko and Hakuba) both have a range of excellent après boots for kids.
7. MAKE IT FUN
The most important part of any ski holiday with kids is to keep it fun. If you’re on the mountain, make time for regular hot chocolate breaks or plan an adventure that will only take half the day, then top it off with a warm, hearty lunch. Skiing and snowboarding is full on, however, so don’t expect them to be able to do it every day. Spending time off snow, doing activities in and around the lodge is a great way to avoid running them down and help save their energy for the slopes.