I’m very lucky to live in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc with two small children now aged 3 and 6 years old. We enjoy some amazing weather and of course the scenery isn’t bad either! Having children here is a wonderful experience because they spend a lot of time outside being active, changing sports in time with the seasons changing. They were both born here and therefore I’m now quite experienced in the art of surviving the snow with small children in tow. Because even when the snow hits, we have to be mobile, running to school, the shops, after school activities and ski lessons, etc.
Here are my top 5 tips on how you can survive the snow, a few hints to ensure happy children throughout your ski holiday.
1) Ski suits – All in one snow suits are ideal for babies and under 3’s. If your child doesn’t stay still for long they can sit in the snow and crawl around whilst keeping warm and dry. I’ve always found it easier and faster to get them in and out of the suit compared to combination suits. As they get older they’ll move to the combination of jacket and salopettes, they can regulate their own temperature, adding and removing layers as needed and also they’ll likely potty trained so it’s easier and faster when they need to go and go quickly!
2) Gloves – Finger gloves or mittens, which should I choose? I’ve always found that mittens are far quicker to put on and keep hands warmer. Be ‘oldschool’, attach them by cord and thread them through the arms of the jacket. It will save you time and money in locating missing and lost mittens, especially if it’s at the start of your day.
3) Skin – When it’s really cold or really sunny, it’s so important to protect any exposed areas of skin. Their skin is delicate and can burn/damage very quickly. When not covered by a warm hat, balaclava, sun glasses, baby goggles, gloves or mittens, cover skin with either sun cream or cold cream and carry extra with you for extra applications. When the weather is particularly cold I use cold cream to create a barrier between the skin and the cold air and I’ve used Mustella for years on both my children and for myself.
4) Energy – Keep their little energy levels consistent throughout the day. Playing in snow is exhausting and I’ve been on the other end of far too many tantrums to not have plenty of snacks and hot drinks at the ready. For older kids attending ski lessons I would recommend adding a snack into their jacket or trouser pocket, something that won’t get too scrambled if they fall over on it. Low blood sugar also increases the risk of hypothermia !!!
5) Transportation – In heavy snow and when the ground is covered in ice, pushchairs can be heavy, unresponsive and a nightmare to move around. When my children were babies I used a baby bjorn to move them around, I liked the fact that I had two hands free should I slip and fall on any ice. If you decide to use a baby bjorn to carry your baby, use walking or ski poles to help with balance and you can also invest in some ‘cat tracks’, grips for the bottom of your shoes that act as spikes. For older children why not buy a cheap sledge when you arrive in resort. They’ll have fun finding a good place to sledge, but also it’s a fun, fast way to ferry them around town.