Skking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the Canadian winter as a family. Getting to the lifts takes some practise and patience though when you consider all the gear you need to keep kids warm and moving over a long day. Here are some tricks to help you get to the lodge without losing your cool.

 Gear transport

Don't find yourself trying to juggle 4 pairs of skis, all in different sizes, while your kids whine about carrying their boots and poles. Save yourself some heartache and plan ahead by throwing your family toboggan in the trunk. You can load all the skis and poles on there and have a kid or two tow it from the car, while you carry the gear bag with boots and lunch. Alternately, you can invest in gear backpacks for each kid, so they carry their own winter gear, boots, and snacks.


Pack a lunch

While there's something to be said for enjoying a special lunch of fries and burgers around the chalet fire, there's also something to be said for not waiting in a huge line while listening to at least one kid complain about the options. You can save time and money by packing some of your kids' favourite items ahead of time. Go big, and throw in some treats to motivate them to get back outside after lunch.

Pro tip: if you know that there is a day lodge with power outlets at the hill you are visiting, you can make your family the envy of everyone by bringing your slow cooker so you have a hot lunch. You may feel crazy, but trust me, everyone wishes they were in your family!


Label everything

In the world of Costco mittens, it quickly becomes clear that labels can save your sanity. Have all your kids' gear labelled to avoid fights and allow accountability for lost gear. If you still have the helmet bags for your kids, label the outside of them as well and tuck the goggles inside. Then you can just pass a clear package to each kid without having to examine each one.


Remind your kids about basic line etiquette

Take a minute to remind your kids that it is important to be respectful in line. A busy line is not a good place to swing poles around, you should try not to run over other people's skis, and it's not nice to laugh if someone falls trying to get on the lift. After all, we all have our off days.


Gear up like it's a polar expedition

It might not seem so bad to you, but to smaller hands and feet skiing can be an ordeal. Make sure your kids wear at least two layers on the bottom and three on top (plus their snowsuits of course). Have a balaclava for under their helmets and consider buying hand and feet warmers (preferably ahead of time, rather than at the hill where they can be exorbitantly priced). Remember, the more geared up they are, the more likely they are to have a great time! Just be sure to take off a bunch of the layers before you put them into the car home.