• How to dress kids for their first lesson

    by Marilyn Hertz
    Camelback Ski School Director

    As with any other new experience, a child's first encounter with the sport of skiing is the most important one and should be as pleasant an experience as possible.  One of the most important ways --and one of the simplest--is to make sure that your child is dressed properly and warmly.

    It is not necessary, however, for parents to go out and spend a fortune to completely outfit the child to make sure that he or she is comfortable and warm.

    Hat.  Any warm cap that the child normally wears for playing in the snow will do fine, Make sure that the youngster's ears are covered.  A large percentage of body heat is lost through an uncovered head.

    Neckwear.  A warm scarf (not too long, please) will help keep your child's face warm.  The scarf must be tucked into the jacket.

    Underwear.  A set of thermal underwear, while not very costly, will add immeasurably to your child's comfort, in very cold weather.  This should include both a top and bottom.  Flannel pajamas also will do.

    Sweaters.  Over the thermal underwear, depending on how cold it is, a child can wear a top and sweater.  Knitwear, while not the only alternative, provides warmth together with ease of movement.  Turtlenecks are very popular in this category.

    Pants.  Although it is not necessary to buy specially-designed ski pants for your child's first attempt at skiing, it is wise to dress the youngster in slacks that are flexible and will repel water.  One of the most uncomfortable feelings associated with learning to ski is having your pants turn wet and cold from falling in the snow.  Warmup pants are inexpensive and can be worn over slacks.  A traditional "snowsuit" would be perfect here and will take the place of an outer jacket at the same time.

    Jacket.  As mentioned above, a traditional one-piece "snowsuit" is a perfect alternative to pants and a jacket.  They are generally made of water-repellent material, are warm and easy to move in.  Or the child may already own a "ski jacket," which, of course, would be perfect.  Several lightweight layers are better than a heavy jacket.

    Mittens.  One definite item needed for your child's comfort is a pair of gloves or mittens that repel water.  Woolen-type handgear get extremely wet and cold when they come in contact with snow.

    Socks.  Be sure that your child is wearing thick, warm socks.  If it is extremely cold weather, a thin pair of socks underneath the other pair provides extra warmth.  

    The following reminders are important to your safety and fun on the slopes:
    1.    Ski under control and in such a manner that you can stop or avoid other skiers or objects. Hi speed in any endeavor can result in injury.  Do, not ski at, excessive speed, especially on the edge of the trail where there is little room for mistakes.

    2.    When skiing downhill or overtaking another skier, you must avoid the skier below.

    3.    Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.

    4.    When entering a trail or starting downhill, yield to other skiers.

    S.    A!l skiers should use devices to prevent runaway skis.

    6.    Stay off closed trails or posted areas and observe all posted signs.

    7.    For your safety and the safety of others, be familiar with the common courtesies
    and basic guidelines for riding the various surface and aerial ski lifts.  Obey all posted instructions.

    8. Match your ability to the trail you ski.  Do not try to come straight off the top of the mountain until you have had proper instruction and can control your skis.

    9.    Cutting -- Some children cut in on the lift lines.  This is highly unfair.  Chaperones will start sending the offender to the rear of the line.  If a child wishes to be with a friend, the one in front should go back, not the other way around.

    10.    Rack skis -- For safety's sake, skis and poles should always be placed in the racks before going into the cafeteria.

    11. Litter -- Please place trash in the proper receptacles.

    12.    Rentals -- Rental equipment should always be returned to the rental shop and your name checked off the list.  This is one way we can tell how many are still out skiing.

    13.    Expect the unexpected!  Weather and slope conditions may change quickly.  Ski with care through snowmaking areas, and stay out of the way of snow vehicles.

    14. Be in good physical condition, loosen up your muscles before attacking a big slope, and dress appropriately!

    Beginners should take lessons to get off on the right foot. Veteran skiers should consider lessons periodically to maintain and improve their skills.

Last Modified on October 28, 2008