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Winter snow vacations are the best! They are some of my fondest memories as a child and a parent. Our kids love being in the snow, skiing, snow tubing, snowball fighting, etc. But more than any other destination, it takes careful packing to make a success.
While you should be able to get essentials at local stores, you will probably be paying a premium and go through unnecessary stress at the beginning of your vacation.
So best is to leave home with everything you’ll need for everyone to stay warm, dry, and happy!
This is what we always take with us when going on a snow vacation with kids:
Sunburns are probably not the first thing coming to mind when thinking of your upcoming trip to the mountain, but the sun shines strong on snow and you should protect your skin and eyes very carefully. Per Health Magazine, the best sunscreen for babies and kids is the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby SPF 50. We love it for being gentle on the skin and low on fragrance. Always protect everyone with at least an SPF 50!
Chapstick With SPF
When protecting your skin, make sure to care for everyone’s lips as well. With the cold and runny noses, kids will be licking their lips over and over again. The cold and the wind will burn them and on day #2, you’ll have beautiful clown lips with tears for pain and burns… Apply SPF chapstick at the start of the day and leave the stick in your kids’ snow jackets so they can reapply often! We love the “sunny” flavors of Sun Bum!
Sunglasses / Ski Goggles
For your skiers, equip them with quality children ski goggles. You will want to pick a model with 100% UV protection to avoid eye burns from the reflecting snow. Do not compromise on ski goggles. Their eye sight can be damaged for life if they look at snow in the sun unprotected for too long! We’ve always trusted UVEX and BOLLE ski goggles for the whole family and they’re fun to pick out and match to the kids’ snow outfits!
For your non-skiing babies, pick some high quality sunglasses.
The goal here is to keep everyone warm and as comfortable as possible! For your little skiers (and adults!!), always put a balaclava under their helmets. They will serve several purposes: keep hair tucked in, limit itches from the helmet’s friction, and keep the whole face nice and warm! Have fun with it, the one in the picture above comes in 20 different colors!
Pro tip: for ski days, under the helmet, pick a thin balaclava since the helmet will be snug and you don’t want to add pressure on cranium and ears, which could give headaches. For fun days outside that do not involve the wear of a helmet, pick a thick one in fleece!
While we’re thinking of our heads, let’s talk safety. Do not ever let a child ski without a helmet. Not even on the smallest slopes. Children are rarely the danger themselves. Danger comes from other skiers who might loose control, ski too fast, cut your child off, or be surprised by the sudden movement of a beginner. And you don’t want someone to come crashing into your child without his head protected. Always equip everyone with a helmet. If style is of concern, they have really cute and colorful helmets that do a great job at protecting!! If you already have a helmet, check out those cute helmet covers to add some fun!
Pro tip: we love helmets that have a soft ear cover like in the clickable image above. Hard shells can sometime put pressure on the ears and give headaches if worn for a long period of time. The newer helmets with soft ear covers keep ears warm without pushing on them!
The main goal here is to keep everyone nice and warm. Try to wear layers to break the wind and always wear technical underwear as the first layer. Those are typically a bit expensive but a great investment that you can wear at home on cold days as well! If you buy a good brand, you’ll be able to use on siblings and hand them down easily!
Extremities get cold quickly and easily. Pack warm socks for everyone!
Pro tip: for your little skiers, get quality socks that keep them warm but are thin. You want to limit the thickness so there is no pressure inside the ski shoe, which is already tight. More pressure will mean less blood flow and colder feet, defeating the purpose of the warm sock!
Waterproof Snow Boots
When you purchase snow boots, make sure they are fully waterproof. Some brands make very cute boots which are great for the city or school, but not fully waterproof and not meant for a snow vacation. Kamik for example, is an excellent brand for kids and adults, but as long as you stick to waterproof boots, you’ll be fine!
Continuing with extremities, pack a pair of warm gloves. They’ll come in handy in snow ball fights and good quality gloves will remain fairly dry inside. Younger children do best with mittens, while older kids prefer gloves.
Pro tip: For babies and kids up until the age of 6 or 7, tie gloves to each other with a long string that you slide through the jacket’s arms to make sure no glove goes missing again!
Pro tip #2: Always cover the top of the gloves with the jacket’s sleeves. Your kids will be thankful when they fall and no snow sneaks inside their gloves!
Skier or not, each child should have his own snowsuit. The biggest question is: 1 or 2 pieces. Typically, children up until the age of 3 or 4 will wear one piece snowsuits on top of all other layers. For older children, 2-piece suits are great since they make bathroom visits a bit easier. Have fun with style and colors!
Jumpsuit For Babies
For your smallest / non-walking travelers, pack a warm jumpsuit instead of a snowsuit and boots. They will mostly be carried or in the stroller and will stay warm with enclosed feet and hands. Dress them up warmly underneath and put a hat and sunglasses on!
Stroller Sleeping Bag
Last but not least, if you plan on putting baby in his stroller a lot, invest and pack a warm stroller sleeping bag! It will not only make baby’s stroller nice and comfy but also keep him warm while on the go. Taking baby out on a sledge? No problem, just put the sleeping bag on the sledge and pull away!
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