Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Embrace the wonders of the season and all that it brings, like the chance to enjoy fantastic winter sports!
Getting the whole family up and out and well prepared for a long day in cold weather can be as challenging as your very first snow plough. Here are a few tips to make life a little bit easier…
Layer 1: Next to the skin
Polyester thermals are best for active kids because they’ll take moisture away from the skin when they sweat. Merino wool thermals are ideal for colder than -3C, for less active kids and for non-skiers. Knitted wool socks are so much warmer than cotton in cold weather, knee-highs are essential for ski-boots. Inner gloves will add an extra layer of warmth if you are expecting temperatures below -3C. Merino or fleece balaclava or beanie hat should be thin enough to wear under a ski helmet. Neck-warmers or ‘fake polos’ are a warm and safe alternative to scarves. Cotton is not recommended because it retains moisture without locking in warm air making the wearer feel cold.
Layer 2: Middle
Polyester fleece is ideal for all temperatures as it is warm yet breathable. Remove and stash in a backpack when the sun comes out. Merino wool can also be worn as a middle layer, this natural insulator will lock the heat in. Avoid heavy knitted wool sweaters as they are too restrictive and not breathable enough.
Layer 3: Outerwear
Waterproof ratings greater than a water-pillar of 10,000 are best for kids as they tend to spend lots of time playing on their knees, bottoms and backs. Be snow-tight, look out for elastic ribs at sleeves, snowgaitors, footstraps and adjustable waists. Padded outerwear is best for younger children, and also for older skiers when the weather is below freezing. Lift pass pockets and chest pockets with large handy zip pulls make life easier. Hard wearing fabric that can withstand plenty of ground contact will last for the next child…and the next! Lightweight fabrics and pre-shaped arm sleeves and knees will not restrict movement. Windproof fabrics should also be breathable to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Reflectives front and back enhance safety for après ski excursions.
NB Comfortable and safe features such as chin protectors and detachable hoods are a must for young children, especially around button and chairlifts.
Great games to play on the slopes? Try follow the leader, suitable for all ages and real fun if you are a bigger group. Build snowmen and create your own little ski resort or hold a build a snowman competition – the one most like Olaf from Frozen wins. Take hot sheet sledges and hold a family race or bored on the chairlift? Think of as many words as you can that start with A, B, C etc. or count the chairlift pylons as you pass them.
The Hobbledehoo, is an innovative harness specially designed for active children and families. AFTER finding that traditional child reigns were not cutting it for their sports-loving family, an entrepreneurial mum of two developed the prototype for skiing after realising that a simple rope was the common alternative. With its padded harness, front and back grab handles, and detachable leash, it allows you to pick up a child and set them on their feet without over bending. Available to purchase via Amazon and at hobbledehoo.com RRP £30.
For the youngest members of the clan in winter weather why not make life easier by investing in an all-in-one snow suit? Get your baby dressed for the day and once you are ready to leave the house, pop them into the snowsuit just before you head out of the door. Ensure the suit is both warm enough and water resistant. Some suits may have hoods but they may not stay up.
Hats! We all lose heat through our heads but this is especially true for babies! So ensure you keep their heads covered. Gloves and mittens are also a necessity and you can never have enough as babies are particularly good at pulling them off and dropping them.
Blanket Up! On truly cold days, you will also need to put a blanket over your baby. If you are taking them for a stroll in their pram, think about layering with a few baby blankets. To prevent overheating, ensure these layers are removed when you go indoors, even for just a quick stop. You can also use blankets over your car seat but take care that the blanket goes over the straps and never underneath.
Tips and advice from Babaloo who offer a wide range of baby clothing and products. Find at babaloo.uk
- Helmets and ski goggles for all the family.
- Ski harness for very young children – if they are sturdy enough to ski.
- Skiwear with practical features such as lift pass pocket and adjustable cuffs on salopettes, so they are easy to get on and off with boots on.
- Skiwear with 360-degree reflectors so you can be seen when dusk descends.
- Underlayers that wick away moisture. Wool is especially good. Taking two sets is advisable.
- Face mask/balaclava in case of very cold weather.
- Thinner wool socks that do not wrinkle in boots.
- A good intermediate layer for cold winter weeks. An intermediate layer of fleece or a wool blend will keep children warm all day.
- Ski gloves that you can fasten and unfasten boots easily while wearing.
- A back plate offers good protection if your children are a bit more daring on the slopes.
- Sun block – the sun can be strong reflecting from the white snow.
- Sledges and hot sheet sledges.
- Take raisins, energy bars, biscuits and drinks with you on the slopes for a quick energy boost.
- Action cams – are available that you can fit to a helmet or ski pole. They will produce fantastic footage that you can watch when you get back home again
- Familiarise yourself with the ski system – discuss where you are going to go and which slopes you intend to ski on in advance. Plan and think together.
Advice and tips courtesy of Polarn O. Pyret who have been designing outerwear especially for children for over 40 years and their vast collection of wind, rain and waterproof clothing will keep children warm and dry in all possible weather conditions. Visit polarnopyret.co.uk
Where to Ski
Hit the slopes at CairnGorm mountain
CairnGorm Mountain is excited to begin their second year with a new Snow School – Cairngorm’s only on-site Ski and Snowboard School offering professional instruction for all levels. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro, they’ve got a lesson for you. Group lessons and private lessons are on offer for all levels, depending on your budget.
Group lessons give you the opportunity to meet new friends and become part of a team whilst you learn. Or, if private lessons are more your way to learn, then they can provide instructors who will cater specifically for you. The whole lesson will be dedicated 100 per cent to you and your specific needs and desires.
To find out more or book call Tel: 01479 861 322 or visit cairngormountain.org
An energetic day at Glenshee
Glenshee is the most extensive ski area in Scotland with three chairlifts and 19 ground lifts, it gives a wide range of family friendly terrain. There are two on-site Snowsport schools that will help you hone your skills, as well as the Glenshee Performance Squad that coaches for racing and freestyle – a chance for kids to have fun in a supervised environment.
There are two mountain cafes and one at the roadside to refuel during the course of your day, providing everything from drinks and snacks to a hearty meal. For the non-skiers why not take a return trip up the Baddoch chair to Cairnwell cafe and enjoy a hot chocolate and panoramic views? If the worst was to happen there is a free rescue service provided by the Ski Patrol team. While the weather can be inclement on some days, Glenshee strives to give all visitors an enjoyable and energetic day.
For more information visit ski-glenshee.co.uk or facebook.com/GlensheeSkiCentre
A thrilling Experience at Hillend
Why wait for the snow this winter? Enjoy an action-packed Christmas at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding or tubing, they have an activity for you!
Christmas ski and snowboard camps are available from December 27 to 30 and January 3 to 6. For those who simply want to enjoy practice skiing, great value lift tickets are available –and an added bonus is that the views across Edinburgh from the chairlift are spectacular.
The Tubing Runs are open every day through the festive period, and zipping down the hill in an inflatable tube is made even easier with a travelator to help you back up the slope again. It is fast, fun and exciting! Great for all the family (all tubers must be at least one metre tall and four years plus).
Christmas gift vouchers are also available, treat your friends and loved ones with something different this year and give them a unique Snowsports experience.
Visit ski.midlothian.gov.uk to find out more.