There is Still Time to Bundle Up for Winter Adventures
By Stephanie Olsen
If you love winter as much as I do, and you want enjoy the season outdoors with your family, there are many fun options and still time to enjoy them this season. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, many resort areas offer other alternatives, such as nordic/cross country skiing, skate skiing, tubing, ice skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling and other touring options. With so many choices, there really are plentiful opportunities for families to try new things together (and enjoy those long-loved family traditions). If you have a range of ages in children within your family, it's also nice to mix up the activities and do some things all together. There's still time to look in to the options on your local mountain or on your next winter getaway-- winter typically lasts until April in the mountains!
After you've planned your trip, the next trick is planning your clothing so that everyone can stay warm and have fun! You may be able to tough it out with just the basics, but staying warm will be key for your kids enjoyment level. If you live in a year-round warm climate, it may take a little bit of an investment. If you live in a colder climate, you probably already own most of the items you need. The good news is that once you own these items, you will use them more than you'd think. Even summer hikes or camping trips to the mountains will put the base and mid-layers to good use. Sledding, snow forts and building snowmen can be enjoyed for hours instead of minutes with the right clothing, so once you have it, you'll be happy you do!
Clothing List (adjust quantities for length of stay and proximity to skin):
Base layer: Avoid cotton and go with synthetic wicking fabrics such as polypropylene, Under Armour® Coldgear, or silk blends. This layer should fit well, even snugly, with fabric close to the skin for maximum warmth and “wicking” away moisture.
Midlayer: Fleece (synthetic, not cotton) is a great option, with jacket and pants. Full-zip jackets prevent frustration with undressing independently on bathroom breaks (especially if wearing bibs). Also pack plenty of other layers for layering up and down. If you only have cotton extra layers, this is the place to wear it, with the wicking base layer and outerwear doing the heavy-duty work to keep you warm and dry.
Outer layer: Make this layer waterproof and windproof, if possible. Consider the fit of the jacket and pants together on small children. Bibs or one-piece outfits are especially cozy with no chance for cold gaps or places for snow to sneak in.
Ski Socks: It's amazing how much difference a good sock can make in your experience (psst Smartwool is divine).
Hat: Warm hats that come down over the ears make all of the difference in retaining body heat.
Helmet: Simply a must for safe sporting with kids—rent helmets if you don't want to purchase them. Helmet liners are also helpful.
Goggles (or sunglasses for spring conditions): Again, the comfort level goes up a couple of notches when you can cover the eyes and face with goggles, especially in windy conditions.
Mittens/Gloves: Find some cozy, waterproof gear for your hands and life is good. Glove liners go the extra mile.
Snow boots: Traction and a decent fit with thick socks will make you good to go.
Neck gator/Balaclava: Optional, but if the wind comes up you will be glad you have them.
Hand/Foot warmers: Great for a quick warm-up or for avoiding the chills in the first place. Bring treats for bribery and snacks to get you by when hunger strikes!
The Safety Chat:
Talk to your kids about all of the safety basics you would when you are going anywhere new. The climate in a ski resort allows kids considerable independence, but it's still best to have a thorough discussion.
Designate a meeting place in case of separation. It can happen easily, especially if the family splits up to take different routes down the mountain.
If possible, put together a buddy system with a sibling or friend.
Discuss the safety code and other safety tips.
Pack mini-sunscreen, tissues, lip balm, sanitizer, and a granola bar or dried fruit into everyone's pocket.
Tuck a card with parent's cell phone numbers and cash into a zipped pocket of each child in case of emergency.
Now, do the snow dance as a family (style and steps are all up to you) and get ready to make some fun winter memories!
MilitaryConnection.com is proud to be featuring the travel articles of Erica I. Pena-Vest to our users. Erica is a travel industry veteran with over ten years of experience in public and media relations. Erica has worked with hundreds of travel writers before becoming one herself in 2004. As a Navy wife, Erica understands the needs of military families and focuses her research and articles to travel deals for those in the armed services. Erica's travel column is appropriated titled "Sweet Land of Liberty". MilitaryConnection.com works hard to bring a multitude of resources and information to our audience. This site has thousands of pages of resources and information. There is something for everyone. Users refer to MilitaryConnection.com, as the "the Go To Site" for the military and veteran communities. When the next tour is back home, it's on MilitaryConnection.com