“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”― Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk
“The cold never bothered us anyway.” – Elsa, Frozen
At the intersection of these two quotes is the place where the emotional temperatures rise at the same time as the physical temperatures are falling–where parents find themselves boiling over while their kids are having a meltdown. Because, although the kids may claim the cold doesn’t bother them as they head out the door, we all know that the wrong gear will lead to miserable kids, and nothing puts a damper on a fun winter vacation than unhappy kids!
Instead, how about a kid who is exhilarated from the fun they have had in the snow, begging to go back out again tomorrow, while the parents are sipping a hot spiced wine at the end of a great day on the slopes? That sounds more like the family snow vacation you were hoping for, doesn’t it?
As you prepare for your trip to Big Sky, here are some tips on what to pack for your kiddos provided for us by Town Hall Outdoor Co., a trusted kids outdoor apparel company.
Local’s Tip: Kids who can take care of themselves become adults who can take care of themselves!
This checklist is an easy peasy way to stay organized an on track! Print this up and give to your kids so they can start the packing on their own. Fill in the quantity of the items listed with a “qty” next to it that you think they should pack based on the length of your trip. As a best practice, have them use this list, lay out everything to be packed, and then you can check off the list with them as they have fun figuring out the best way to roll up or fold up or cube up each item to fit in their suitcase for the trip.
Our Favorite Kid’s Packing List:
- Long Underwear tops
- Long Underwear bottoms
- Mid Layer (fleece, sweater)
- Wool Socks
- Snow Pants
- Puffy Jacket
- Ski Jacket
- Gloves/Mittens – Skiing
- Gloves/Mittens – Casual
- Cozy Hat
- Neck Gaiter
- Slippers or Cozy Socks – Inside
- Water Bottle
- Casual Socks
- Casual Long Sleeve Tops
- Casual Pants
- Casual Sweatshirt or Sweater
- Book to Read
- Devices & Charging Cords
Extra items to consider:
Slippers for cabin or lodge wear – because cozy feet are happy feet.
Water bottle – hydrate, friends.
Swimsuit for the hot tub – hot springs or hot tubbing? Heck ya!
Eyewear – Goggles for skiing and sunglasses for all other times outside. Did you know you can burn your eyeballs due to the light reflecting off the snow at this high elevation? Ouch.
Parents might want to manage the below:
Sunscreen- Of course you can purchase some here once you arrive, but remember those days of the raccoon eyes following a ski vacation were before we knew as much about skin cancer and wrinkles!
Hand warmers and foot warmers – Stash a couple in their pocket in the morning, or just pop them right into their mittens before they head out on cold mornings. Everyone will be happier.
Skis, boots, poles, (or board and boots) helmets, pass – We love nurturing responsible kids, but there are certain things that we can’t let go of control as we pack to head out of town.
Local’s Tip: If you’re looking for recommendations of what to buy, check out this list of favorite items for keeping her kids warm and cozy all winter long from Town Hall’s founder Robin Hall.
- Base Layer (Top and Bottoms) — (aka long johns- but not cotton!) – Synthetic materials or wool are the best for wicking away moisture and keeping your kiddo warm and dry. Insider tip: Wool doesn’t get as stinky, so you might find you don’t need to wash between wears and that saves space in your luggage. And don’t think of this as your sweet granny’s itchy wool sweaters!
- Mid Layers – From old fashioned wool sweaters to fleece to light layering puffers and vests, there are a lot of options for mid layers. The point is to add a little more insulation between the base layer and jacket. We love the Town Hall Midtown Fleece that is a perfect four-season solution.
- Wool Socks – Nothing is worse than cold feet, so make sure you have good socks to keep your tootsies warm. Kids tend to find ways to spend more time covered in snow than adults, so you’ll definitely want extra pairs so they can dry in between wearing.
- Snow Pants – The final barrier and the one that can make or break the vacation–insulated and waterproof snow pants are key with kids who are up and down on the snow throughout the day. Pro parent tip? Make sure those snow pants have reinforced knees….you’ll thank us after they’ve been digging in the snow all afternoon. The Town Hall Mountain Town Winter Pants and Bibs will keep them loving outside all day, and their built-in grow seams allow you to unstitch an extra inch so they can get another season out of them.
- Jacket – Of course we are jacket snobs, but we are fans of having a cozy puffy and a mountain jacket for making the most of your time in the snow. Town Hall’s award winning Down Town Puffy is good for checking out the sites or staying warm as you head out to dinner. Their Mountain Town Winter Jacket will keep your kiddo warm and dry all day on the slopes. Look for features like big pockets for stashing snacks, a pass pocket to keep that critical essential stashed away, and a powder skirt to keep the snow on the outside and your kiddo warm and dry on the inside. Bonus feature? Pit zips for when things warm up! As parents of kids who spend a lot of their time on the mountain, we are huge fans of bright colors on snow pants and jackets so you can easily spot your little ripper coming down the run.
- Gloves/Mittens – Nothing ruins a fun day of skiing like cold hands. Waterproof and insulated, and well made as once again kids dig into the snow a lot more than us boring adults, and snow is hard on fabric and stitching. Many kids prefer mittens, and they do a better job of keeping fingers warm. You might also bring along a lighter pair for wearing when you head out to dinner or to take a walk, as we can guarantee those mittens worn all day will be soaking wet by the time the lifts close.
- Neck Gaiter – It’s not 2020 anymore, but neck gaiters are still the rage when you’re trying to keep your nose and chin warm on a cold day. There are so many fun ways to accessorize with a stylish neck gaiter, and they are pretty inexpensive, so let your kid pick one that makes them happy! Better yet, grab Town Hall’s 100% recycled, made in Colorado, designed by a Steamboat Springs’ 5th grader neck gaiter that is silky smooth and super comfy. Some people like balaclavas to keep the cold out, but properly placed neck gaiter can accomplish much of the same goal.
- Wool or Fleece Hat – Steamboat locals take their hat wearing very seriously–a local’s hat basket is kind of like a shoe closet from Manhattan–filled with way too many but each has it’s own style and wardrobe pairing. A cozy hat makes a great souvenir, so maybe wait until you get to town to let your kiddo pick one that will remind them of your time in the ‘boat, like Town Hall’s Snow Tree Beanie, which is perfect for kids and adults alike.
About Town Hall Outdoor Co.
Town Hall Outdoor Co. is a kids outerwear company based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The company was founded in 2020 by former Smartwool executive Robin Hall with a commitment to encouraging kids to love outside, highlighting the importance of community, and always considering sustainability and the environment in every move the business makes.