Now that SNOW finally arrived last week, it’s time to play! One of my family’s favorite winter activities is to hit the slopes and spend the day skiing. Sharing this winter past time with my kiddos is such a joy. I’ve learned some tips and tricks to going skiing with the whole family, so I’m sharing them with you! I have tips from helping your kids get started with skiing to how to help the non-skiers in your family have fun during a day on the slopes.
My Best Tips for Skiing with Children Near the Seacoast
1. FIND A GREAT SKI SCHOOL
To be totally honest, even though you may be the best skier out there, teaching your own child to ski can be frustrating. I recommend paying for ski school to get your child skiing on their own faster and to ditch the frustration. There are some great local programs for kids to learn to ski as well as some of the bigger mountains offer day lessons.
Here are a few of my favorite:
- MCINTYRE SKI AREA – Located in Manchester, NH – they have great seasonal programs and are just a short 35-minute drive from the Seacoast (all of my kids did their ski programs)
- SUGARLOAF – Located in Carrabassett Valley, ME – WORTH THE DRIVE – Sugarloaf is MY FAVORITE! After working there for 4 years, I fell in love and so have my kids. Their Perfect Turn Programs are great for all ages and each year we spend at least a long weekend skiing this amazing mountain. The kids’ programs are in my opinion the best on the east coast.
- Pats Peak – Located in Henniker, NH – This is where we have had our season passes for the last 3 years. Just a short 1 hour from the Seacoast – it makes for great day trips. My daughter who is just 5 loves being able to ski from the top with me using her Ski Harness (a MUST HAVE to save your back).
2. FIND PROPER SKI GEAR
Having your kids dressed and ready to go in the RIGHT gear is key! You want them warm and comfortable. Besides the obvious, skis & ski boots, you will need the proper gloves, base layers, socks, and a HELMET. Not to mention, hand/feet warmers are a must-have when they are little. They will help to keep them warm all day. Always pack extra gloves as they are sure to get wet when your little one falls in the snow.
My favorite local shops for ski gear for kids (and adults) are:
- Fire on the Mountain in Dover, NH – they have a wonderful boot program where you can get your kids the next size up year after year without investing in new boots every year. Last year my boys even went in the middle of the year to exchange their boots after a growth spurt.
- Golf & Ski in Greenland, NH – the $99 junior lease program can’t be beaten when you have kids just starting out.
3. TEACH THEM TO CARRY THEIR OWN GEAR
Even at a young age, I made a rule that we don’t ski unless you carry your own gear. There is a LOT of stuff to carry and, as a mom of 3 who has done solo skiing with the kids A LOT, I needed them to learn this early on.
Here are a few must-haves to help:
4. HAVE FUN AND BUILD IN BREAKS
Remember that skiing is about having fun, BUT it is physically demanding. Your kids will need lots of breaks. Try to build in some breaks throughout the day so everyone rests and refuels before heading back out. Playing games like pizza/french fries (use an Edgie Wedgie to help with the pizza) and Red Light/ Green Light will help to keep your toddler/child engaged. If you notice your kiddo getting tired, take a break, get some hot chocolate, and make a snowman. A day on the slopes is all about making fun memories!
5. FIND YOUR SKI TRIBE
Hey, just like anything with parenting, having a tribe is important. I have a handful of families who we ski with and I am always grateful for them. Some will take the older boys off on their own and then I have a few who will tough it out on the bunny slopes with me when my 5-year-old is practicing her skills. My ski tribe is a BLAST!
6. BONUS FOR NON-SKIERS
For YEARS my husband was a non-skier (he just learned last year) and we had to find activities for him while the kids and I skied. Snowshoeing was one of his favorites. We would also end the day with family tubing – like sledding but WAY BETTER! Ski resorts have so much to do OTHER than skiing you just need to check out their websites. Who knows… maybe your non-skier will want to join the fun someday. 😉