The biggest tip I have for skiing with kids (or camping with them, or doing anything that involves prep, travel, and going to a unique or unknown location) is to develop systems. Systems for gear. Systems for getting out of the house. Systems for organizing clothes. Systems for eating lunch, etc. They don’t need to be rigid, no-flex rules, but systems allow you to have a plan and means of organization that can streamline the frustrating parts of getting ready to do something fun.
If you’re like me, spinning your wheels when you’re getting ready to go somewhere can drive you batty. My oldest daughter actually started calling me “Ski Dad” when I got into that tizzy “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” mode. She usually laughs and says, “Uh oh, here comes Ski Dad!”
One day stands out when I was hoping to get out of the house at 8:00. At 9:30, both girls were still in their PJ’s, neither had eaten breakfast. I could only find one of the girls’ collective four skis. (They had put them somewhere “special” which was sweet, but frustrating) None of the clothes or equipment were packed. I couldn’t find anything and every time I got part way through getting one thing organized, I realized I was missing something else and moved to that. It took us until almost noon before we headed out to the hill, and I started the day frustrated, angry and stressed out.
Luckily, my oldest daughter sees the good humor in most things and laughed at me most of the morning, but the last thing I wanted to do is to stress her out before we even got out the door on the way to go skiing. Skiing should be fun, remember. And worst of all, I was stressing largely because of my failure to organize, and it wasn’t fair to pass that onto her.
The next time we went, I started developing systems to help move things efficiently. For this post, I’ll outline my system for getting out the door. I always shoot for 8:00. With an hour ride to the hill, a half hour to get geared up, and a half hour cushion, we can usually be skiing by 10:00 which feels good.
The night before, I get the duffel bags out. In it goes anything the girls won’t be wearing in the car- ski suits, extra clothes, helmets, harnesses, extra gloves, ski boots, etc. We have two duffels, so I have one for clothing, and one for equipment. I put those by the door. I don’t want the boots to get frozen overnight. Skis and poles all go into the truck the night before. When it’s bed time, the girls’ clothes for the mountain get laid out for them to put on when they wake up- base layers, socks, fleece pants and an insulating top layer. When they wake up, they can put them right on (or bring them downstairs and we’ll put them on- at least we know where they are!).
The next morning, we have breakfast, use the bathroom, and head out. It is much smoother. Does that mean that there’s never stress to get out the door? Absolutely not. Kids are kids and they’re weird. There are still times where it’s past time to get out and one of my girls has crammed cheerios up her nose rather than eaten anything from her breakfast plate, and is wearing her long johns on her head while dancing to my other daughter singing a Taylor Swift song. But at least we know where the clothes and equipment are and the steps to getting on the road are clearer- remove the cheerios, put the pants on the right appendages, socks, boots, go.
For the next post, we’ll talk about layering and clothing.