By Kate Hull
Exploring your backyard winter wonderland with kiddos is a mountain town-living must. Yet getting geared up for any ski, snowboard, or Nordic adventure can take as much time prepping as participating. Not to mention … the pants that no longer fit, the socks that are consistently damp, and the pair of gloves that just don’t cut it. From babies and toddlers to tweens and teens, our list of parent-approved winter accessories help nix the cold toes, keep bottoms dry, and prevent adventures gone awry this winter.
Cozy, cuddly wool blanket. Your little one might be too young to ski, but you can make them winter-ready tucked under the Iksplor Adventure Blanket from the Jackson Hole-based company. Use this merino wool layer to snug your baby up in his carrier, or tuck him into a Chariot for a ski. Pack it in your backpack for extra warmth that doubles as a backcountry picnic blanket. Available at iksplor.com. MSRP $89
Cinchable mittens. The key to keeping your baby’s fingers warm and dry is all about ease of use. Local Teton Valley mom (and former Targhee cat ski guide), Jennie White, swears by the cinchable Dakine Hornet Mitt for babies and toddlers. Water resistant and insulated, your snow-loving child will keep these on throughout her adventures, thanks to the elastic cuff. (Hint: Look for other brands that have cinch, zip, or Velcro functionality to keep gloves put.) Available at REI, Teton Mountaineering, Wilson Backcountry Sports, Habitat, and Peaked Sports. MSRP $20
Adjust-as-you-grow outerwear. We get it. Snowsports gear can be pricey. And your kiddo—no doubt—is growing like a weed, so it’s hard to justify an expensive purchase you may only get one season out of. Charlie Jones, hardgoods buyer and floor manager at Teton Mountaineering recommends finding a ski pant with an adjustable design. “Both Marmot and Patagonia make kids ski pants with a stitch in the pant that you can pull out; it gives you another couple inches,” he says. “It’s a sweet design for pants and parents.” Try Patagonia’s Baby Snow Pile Bibs for waterproof, fashionable layering, with the grow-fit extended wear feature. Available at Teton Mountaineering, Skinny Skis, Yostmark, and Grand Targhee Resort. MSRP $139
Handmade beanies. Choosing the best beanie for your kid is all about warmth and personal taste. We all have that one beanie we take on each and every outing. For Jake Hawkes, a local web developer and father of two ski-loving daughters, giving them handmade beanies from their grandparents was a great way to attach sentiment to their outside gear. Hit up a crafty member of your family, while shaping extra appreciation for exploration while you’re at it. You can also source beanies from tons of local artisans. Check out MADE and MD Nursery’s stock around the holidays.
For Grade-School Kids
Socks, socks, and more socks! We’ve all been there—a great ski day turned disaster because of cold toes. Jones recommends buying budding skiers warm, wool socks, like the Bridgedale kid’s merino ski sock (available at Teton Mountaineering, MSRP $25 for a two-pack). Not only will wool socks extend your kid’s powder day, Jones says the thick socks can also help fill a gap in big ski boots (to squeak out an extra season of use). Ski patroller Corey Rafeld’s go-to for adventuring with her daughter is Darn Tough Kids Over-the-Calf Ski & Snowboard Socks. (MSRP $20) Guaranteed for life, the midweight sock is ideal for hard-charging kiddos who need performance. Available at REI, Skinny Skis, Teton Mountaineering, Snow King Mountain Sports, JD High Country Outfitters, Yostmark Mountain Equipment, and Peaked Sports.
It’s all about that base … layer. Noticing a theme yet? Warm. Dry. Functional. It’s a delicate balance between finding a base layer that’s both warm and thick, or not thick enough. Smartwool hits the sweet spot with the Kids’ Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer Crew. This breathable layering top is made from 100 percent merino wool with a slim fit for movability. Available at Jackson Hole Sports, Teton Mountaineering, Skinny Skis, Yostmark, and Peaked Sports. MSRP $60
From sleep to summit, the Iksplor Kid Top is as versatile as it is cute. Featuring bold colors in buttery soft, biodegradable wool, they’ve thought of everything: a tagless neckline, thumbholes, and temperature regulating qualities. Your kiddo will, for sure, wear this shirt on and off the mountain. Available at iksplor.com, MSRP $55
This ultimate facemask comes in tons of styles and designs to showcase your teen’s individual flair. The Blackstrap Hood Balaclava helps provide wind protection, sun protection, and can be laundered easily in the washer and dryer. It is also made in the U.S. and comes in kids sizing, too. Available at Teton Village Sports, Teton Mountaineering, and Grand Targhee Resort. MSRP $38
Patch it up. When playing extra hard in the mountains, even the best gear can’t take a beating. Locally-based NoSo Patches has your teens covered in style. Choose from a variety of funky and functional mountain designs to cover pesky holes in a favorite puffy jacket or pair of ski pants. The patches are waterproof, peel and stick, and made with tough adhesive that gets the job done. Available at nosopatches.com. MSRP $10 to $18
Parents can prep, plan, and pack for all the weather elements, but the secret weapon for a great day in the mountains isn’t necessarily gear. Are you ready for the must-have item that every parent mentioned? Snacks! Load your daypack with healthy snacks to stem off hungry bellies. Grab a handful of
Kate’s Real Food bars loaded with energy-producing nutrients. (Oh, and a thermos full of hot chocolate is always a hit, too.)