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Tips for getting TO the slopes with small kids

MsWax

Certified Ski Diva
#1
For our family, the hardest part about skiing as a family is getting everyone ready to go and out the door. My oldest (9) is pretty capable of putting his stuff on and getting himself ready, but still needs help buckling his boots. My middle guy (7) cries and complains that every piece of clothing hurts or doesn't feel right. We have to help him put on, take off, put on, take off, and put on again his socks, snow pants, and ski boots a million times. It's SUPER frustrating, exhausting, and long. This process can take 30-40 minutes! My little one (4) needs help with everything, which is normal, but getting him to stop doing whatever he was doing and actually let us help him get dressed takes almost as long as the frustrating loop with my middle guy.

I feel like it's getting worse, not better, and it's really impacting how I feel about skiing lately. It's becoming not fun, which sucks! Once we get on the slopes, everyone is happy and enjoying themselves (mostly, they are still young kids with mood swings).

We do the boots and stuff at the house to avoid a scene at the mountain. Any other suggestions to helping the process go a little smoother would be VERY much appreciated. This weekend I was ready to sell all my kids to the highest bidder!!!
 

MsWax

Certified Ski Diva
#3

marzNC

Angel Diva
#4
We do ALL those things (minus the boot dryers)!

His clothing aversion is pretty much entirely reserved for ski clothes (and jeans). I'd think it was a delay tactic if he didn't LOVE skiing once we finally get on the mountain!
I'm not surprised. A mother of three usually has stuff pretty well figured out. :smile:

Are his ski clothes hand-me-downs from the oldest? What about the jeans?

Is one day of tough love an option? Meaning that the ground rules are clearly laid out in advance about how long he has to get dress, and there is a clearly understood consequence you are willing to do. The most severe would be staying home with one parent. But could also be sitting in the lodge with a parent for 30 minutes while his siblings get out on the slopes. Meaning sitting and reading a book, not playing a video game on a phone or something considered more fun by a 7yo.

Just a thought. Family dynamics are unique and I don't know you and your kids at all.
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
When mine were younger, ok who are we kidding, I still do it with my sleepy teen, is donuts, cocoa, whatever on the way but ONLY if there is enough time. Dawdle too much and you are out of luck. If the others are eager to hit the slopes and parent #2 is available I might try taking the middle one in his pjs once and deal with things at the lodge at his pace, however slow and frustrating that might be . Maybe seeing the rest head out without him would be incentive. And maybe a lower stress situation without everyone waiting for him might help ease some of the clothing comfort issues. Grab a coffee, send the rest out, reassure middle kid you will catch up with the others once he is geared up, take a deep breath and take it from there. You might be calm as can be at home when trying to get ready, but for some just knowing they are delaying everyone (or anticipating that they might) can be anxiety inducing. And then minor annoyances, like the clothing issues, can magnify and seem insurmountable. Of course how much of a scene is made would be the determining factor for if I would try it a second time or not.

My youngest had similar "quirks" around that age when she started skiing. Merino socks too itchy. Had to pull her buff just so over her head before her helmet, but the helmet often messed it up and then she would start again. Once you got past the boots and socks and helmet there were the mittens to deal with. Getting those tucked under her cuffs the right way ...and then usually they would need adjusting AFTER we were outside in the cold, and guess who had to take her mitts off to fix things? Sigh. But now I am just down to donut bribery to get her out of bed. Well, donut and caffeine at this point.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
We do ALL those things (minus the boot dryers)!

His clothing aversion is pretty much entirely reserved for ski clothes (and jeans). I'd think it was a delay tactic if he didn't LOVE skiing once we finally get on the mountain!
I wonder if he would respond better to getting dressed at the hill? One more thing, but it might motivate him more since he is more enthusiastic once he is at the resort?

My kids are both way younger so I don't really have much input otherwise (we get dressed at the hill in the warmth of the lodge and have a snack before going out!)
 

MsWax

Certified Ski Diva
#7
We iterated on this last year and found it better to get dressed at home, but he wasn't getting quite so worked up about it last year either. Maybe it's time to change it up a bit!

Also, @diymom, I appreciate the commiseration as much as the advice! Sometimes it's just nice to know you're not alone. So thanks.
 

CarverJill

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
My son is already having a hard time with jeans and its only been cold enough for them this past week. He has always tended towards being sensitive about his clothing compared to his sister who will wear and be excited about most anything. DH was too young for ski lessons locally so I took them for a January sledding weekend instead. We still wore all the ski clothing so they got lots of practice with that. A few months later when we got up to Mammoth in March neither kid had any major issues with the clothing. Fingers crossed this year we will be okay skipping the clothing practice weekend
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
My kids are still (fairly) young, my oldest *just* turned 7 and my younger two *just* turned 5. (OMG - WHY does that seem so old *sniff*)

I have a large tupperware bin that all of the ski stuff goes in the night before, helmets with gloves and goggles put inside and boots, plus extra socks, and anything else we may need. Plus a bag with some snacks like granola bars or fruit snacks. They put out their long underwear and socks in their room ready for the next day at bed time. We get up, get a quick breakfast, and then everyone finishes getting ready. There is usually some sort of issue: things feel "crump-ly" according to my 5 year old daughter, whatever the f that means, I have no idea sometimes. My older daughter freaks out because her socks are "wrong". My son is pretty easy going - so that helps. lol. We make sure we have enough time to deal with whatever clothing issues there may be.

After a few "episodes" in the parking lot, where any casual by-stander probably thought some sort of strange exorcism was going on, we instituted the rule that if something feels wrong, or you need extra help, screaming melt downs get you taken home.

Once we get to the hill, my DH usually brings all the skis from the parking lot to the lodge, and I work on getting kids in their boots.

Nothing is ever perfect though, and today my older dd put her boots on and I asked her if she was all set, and I got yesses all around, only to find out after her first run she never buckled her boots. And at the end of the day my younger daughter walked to the car screaming at me the whole time because it was time to go home, and I was mean and I obviously hated her because I would not let her stay.
 

Albertan ski girl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
DD and DS are now 12 and 14 respectively, so it has gotten easier - but we really struggled a lot of morning when they were younger. My SO and I would basically get as much into the car the night before - ski poles, skis anything else. And then we would prepare on hill lunches and leave then in the fridge over night. And then we would lay out the kids outfits on the floor in the living room. base layers and socks, and snow pants, mid layers and jacket. SO and I get up early toss the food and then ski boots into the car, and then we would get the kids up 15 mins before we had to leave, and just get base, mid layers and socks on the kids. Sometimes jackets and snow pants, and we would basically pop on their winter boots and guide them to the car, while they were still sleepy. We would pick up some breakfast on the way - they would still be sleeping. Feed them before we got to the hill, and have them put on snowpants, jackets and winter boots in the car. We wouldn't put on ski boots until we got to the lodge. Yeah, there were many grumbles along the way - especially the parking lot trek (that was the worst for me always!). But they just got used to it, as long as we did it the same way each time.
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I may some nights use base layers as pjs for my daughter before ski school to reduce steps required to get out the door... why can’t ski school start an hour later?

I’m not the only one since another ski school mom is the one who gave me the idea.
 

CarverJill

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I'm heading up to Mammoth in 2 days with my 3 and 5 year old. I did get one of those fold-able wagons to haul their gear from the car to the lodge. We have all the necessary cold weather gear; warm jackets, decent quality bib snow pants, anon goggles, fleece neck gaiters, Burton mittens, ski socks, and of course helmets but I didn't get them base layers. They will just wear their fitted cotton PJs thermals. Fingers crossed we don't have any clothing freak outs. They are both signed up for morning lessons and we will see if they want to (or can) ski with us in the afternoons. At Mammoth you can't access the magic carpets, they are for lessons only. They will need to be able to ride a chair to ski with us. I'm hopeful, excited and nervous. Wish me luck!
 

echo_NY

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
ours is 7 and we carry our stuff to the lodge at the base of the hill.

we used to put on our boots in the car and walk over with all of our stuff and fully dressed while in the car. but now we have a place on-hill - so it's a longer walk, much harder/longer to do in ski boots. so now we carry not just skis/poles, but boots in a bag as well.

this is good for us b/c now we can cook our own lunch and bring it in our boot bag too. extra layers or storage for extra layers. it's all around much easier.

as for putting stuff on, she's really excited to ski and she'll put all her stuff on. i usually have to check to make sure her pants gaiter is over her boot, but she gets the buckles down appropriately.
 

socalgal

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Just finished a week at Mammoth with our 4 yo, 10yo nephew and 12 yo niece. It was the other kids first ski trip but by the end of the week we got the system down. DH and I would wake up at 5 ish, get ready, and start the day. He would make some breakfast and I would get the kids going at around 5.45 to 6. The older kiddos dressed themselves-thermals, snow pants, top layer, regular socks and shoes. Ski socks in their pants pocket (repeatedly checked). I would layout the clothes for DD. She would dress with some assistance. Time to eat. Lunch planned the night before and either packed or thrown together while they ate. Teeth brushed, faces washed, outer jackets put on and out the door by 6.30.

It only takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to the slopes but we wanted to get a good, free parking spot before it fills up. Once at the mtn, the first day, the kids wore their helmets and gloves, and carried their own skis and boots. Except DD, we carried her boots for her. Mammoth does have wagons available to haul your stuff, but it just depends in where you park. After the first day,we rented lockers and were able to store the hard goods.

Then, we had about an hour to relax in the lodge, before the hordes of people showed up. I always packed an "activity" bag- crayons, coloring books, mad libs, regular reading books. something that each kid could occupy themselves with. Grabbed a good table and waited.

We wait till the very last minute to put on boots so that the youngest doesn't get tired out walking in them. All in all, lots of planning and coordinating, but lots of fun and memories.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#16
Just finished a week at Mammoth with our 4 yo, 10yo nephew and 12 yo niece.
All in all, lots of planning and coordinating, but lots of fun and memories.
:thumbsup:

It's great when cousins can share a fun activity even though there is a big age gap. My daughter has had great times skiing with all three of her first-cousins (two families) even though they are 10-12 years older. Given my interest and where that they live in flatlands, she started younger and they skied less so were compatible by the time she was skiing blue runs at age 6.
 

CarverJill

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
We are actually going to have 2 overlapping ski days with my brother and his kids. His oldest are 9 and 7 and will also have lessons out of Canyon Lodge those days. My kids are very excited to ski with their cousins however I'm not sure if they will all be at the same level. The cousins skied last year and since they are older got competent on the snow faster. I'll be lucky if I can ride the chair with them.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
We just did a ski day with our neices and nephews. My son (almost 4) is just starting to ski and the older two kids (14, 11) were competent blue skiers and the younger three (7) were competent green and trying out blue. We skied with my son on the harness/leashes for the first part of the day with the whole crew, then I split off with the older kids while the younger ones and my husband/son skied more greens and a bunny slope. Then in the afternoon I skied the bunny slope magic carpet with my son and the two younger girls since they were getting tired. My son had so much fun skiing with his cousins, he took his first runs all by himself without any help from mom or dad while following them down the bunny slopes!

So @CarverJill I think if you are flexible about splitting up to keep higher skill levels happy you can still get some time for the various age groups to ski together. I know that even though my nieces and nephews are stronger skiers than my son they still enjoyed skiing together for short periods of time and it really worked out well.
 

socalgal

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
My son had so much fun skiing with his cousins, he took his first runs all by himself without any help from mom or dad while following them down the bunny slopes!
Ahh, the "if they can do it, I can do it too" mentality:wink::thumbsup:. We saw that dynamic play out as well as they took turns flinging themselves off every jump they could find.
 

Randi M.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
I have a 9 and 7 year old and I *think* I figured it out. At least for us.

First, I agree with the PP - I don’t argue about anything. Donut for breakfast? Fine. Want to wear regular socks? Fine. Want to wear only your base layer pants? Fine. The goal is to get TO the mountain. Once there we can address any issues.

Second, we plan to leave 15 minutes earlier than we really want to, and I tell the kids to get in the car 10 minutes before that. So when we add in the 25 minutes of yelling to finish up breakfast and brush teeth, we are right on time.

Third, I got everyone a transpack backpack. The kids got to pick out their own pattern. Everyone stores ALL their gear in their own backpack - gloves, ski boots, face warmers, socks, base layers, helmets, etc. The only things not in the bags are their ski pants, mid layers, jackets and skis. When we get to the mountain, everyone carries their own bag - since they picked them out, this excites them. Since we are organized, I’m calmer. And since they know where their stuff is I don’t have to spend our getting ready time at the mountain throwing things at them in a panic. Instead I spend that time doing nine million ski boot buckles. Regular boots, socks and gloves go back in the back for storage during the ski day.

Seriously, it took one day for my kids to get used to working out of their bags. The next day getting on and off the mountain was a total dream. I even remarked about it to my husband.
 

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