They say it’s all about the journey. But, in skiing with kids, it’s all about making it to the chairlift to start the day with your sanity, kids and gear fully intact. Am I right? I mean, I fully believe they are learning something along the way…rising up in the face of adversity from the “longest walk eveerrr and this stuff is soooo heavy and I’m hooooottt” but seriously, it’s no way to start the day! Stick with me and I will share with you our favorite set up across ages for getting to the chairlift.
If, like us, you seldom indulge in the luxury of a ski-in ski-out condo on the mountain, you have likely hauled skis and boots and lunch and kids on the great pilgrimage from the parking lot to the base of the ski hill in what seems like a trains, planes, and automobiles kind of situation (ok, spectacle). Or, you are wondering how you are going to accomplish this herculean task before you have even popped you and your kids into skis for the day. Are you exhausted just thinking about it? Snow Happy is here to help!! We have perfected our various systems for our family of four from baby carriers to our babies carrying their gear. We won’t tell you every attempt has been as smooth as ripping freshly groomed corduroy, but it will get you from point A to point B. I can’t guarantee it will keep your kids from, at some point, falling apart. (If you’ve got that part figured out, I’ve got a guest post with your name on it!!)
Stage 1: Infant
Honestly, if you are in this stage, you are in an easy place. They are immobile, want to be on mama or papa, and want to eat or sleep. So here’s what that looks like:
- Adult 1: Our favorite Deuter back country back pack or any old kind that you can strap skis to and that can hold lunch and extra gear for the day.
- Adult 2: Baby in a comfortable (for them and you) front carrier. Another option is a solid jogging/off-road stroller like the BOB. The upside you can load it down with babe and gear AND it is a hands-free nap spot. The downside is it can be cumbersome in the lodge depending on the set up of tables, etc.
This is a great set up because you can haul what you need, still have free hands and also be mobile enough to go for a hike or walk around the resort with the baby happy and cozy!
Stage 2: 6 months and up
Your little is likely sitting up at this point and can ride in a full-on hiking backpack. This enables you to have some additional space for hauling stuff. When my daughter was at this stage, my son was 3 and skiing so we added additional gear to our mix. My husband not only used the back country back to strap on skis, he added straps to our Deuter kid carrier for more ski carrying ability!
- Adult 1: Same set up…get out your favorite backpack and load up!!
- Adult 2: You’ve got the baby in the bigger hiking back pack that may or may not also be loaded down with more stuff! (Are you seeing a theme here? You didn’t know becoming a parent – especially a skiing parent – also made you a Sherpa.)
Stage 3: The Hardest One
You’ve outgrown the kid carrier…now what? It is the hardest stage. By now, your little is likely learning to ski so you’ve added another pair of skis to the quiver and the tiniest most adorable ski boots. At this point, you may be entering a flying solo one adult scenario so plan accordingly based on the recommendations below.
- Parent 1: You get a back pack loaded down with all the things.
- Parent 2: You get a backpack loaded down with all the rest of the things. Or, this is where a solid stroller can come in handy. It becomes a cart for all the extra things.
And now, you have hands available to carry said skier. I would start working out NOW if you are envisioning this in your future!! This was legit my turning point in getting back to regularly working out. Because legs for days when you start carrying the weight of all these skiers and their stuff on your back. Seriously, though, these methods have kept us all skiing and all happy (mostly, I think).
We still carry two backpacks for lunches and extra stuff and we sometimes even throw the kids skis on there at the end of the day (and I’ll be honest, I got used to not carrying them on my shoulder). Now that our kids are older and stronger, and have (most days) more stamina, we needed to find a way for them to more easily carry their gear. Like I said, even if we stay somewhere overnight, we usually have some sort of walking to do because we typically stay in town, not at the resort. The kids were also interested in being able to walk in their snow boots rather than their ski boots and they are getting way to big to continue to stash the once adorably tiny ski boots in my pack. Enter boot bags.
Not only do they carry boots, but, my kids are also able to keep all their gear stowed in their own bag when we aren’t skiing, which helps keep everything organized (which I could write volumes on because staying organized is the key to making all of this work). When all the gear is in one place it makes getting out the door for a day trip or a weekend away so much easier.
For my 6 year old daughter, I decided on a kids sized bag. Kulkea makes this great bag that has a full zipper around the front for easier access. Her boots fit in the special boot compartments with room to spare. There is less room in the main storage space for her helmet, pants, jacket, mittens and goggles, but we have some room to grow over the next couple of years. (And, when she’s carrying it, most of that stuff is on her body anyway).
My 9 year old son uses the Amazon Basics Boot bag and we have been really impressed with the organization and quality for the price. It is an adult sized bag, but not so huge it becomes unmanageable for him. He is also a tall strong kid with a fairly high tolerance for carrying a bigger heavier bag. He is also in a boot size that was nearly too big for the kids bag so we opted for something he could use for a longer time. I recommend taking a look at the dimensions of whatever bags you are looking at and comparing to their boot size and how much they can, and are willing, to carry.
With the kids carrying most of their own stuff in a bag, walking in snow boots instead of ski boots (which are no longer tiny and cute), they can manage their own skis and poles. They both love having their own bag and being in charge of it (usually, er, sometimes).
Mostly, these strategies have resulted in significantly easier days. There were (are) still some tears (maybe theirs, maybe ours), but our sanity (and backs) remain relatively intact most days. Whatever way you haul your mountain loving family and 8058 pounds of gear for some fun, remember it’s fun and it’s a season and it will be worth it! Change your perception, find joy and be Snow Happy!!!
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