The Mum Diary: Skiing with a baby
I have just returned from a wonderful skiing holiday to Lech. My little one (8 months) joined the adventure and the trip was a great success. Travelling with a baby requires a different approach to when you are flying solo and there are also lots of extra things to think about if you take a baby to a ski resort. For those who want to go skiing with a baby, I thought it would be useful to share some tips, based on what I learnt from the experience…
Invest in a baby ski suit
When you are in the mountains, it is really important to have the right equipment and it is worth investing in a high-quality ski suit to protect your little one from the elements. We experienced temperatures as low as -28, thanks to the ‘Beast from the East’ that powered through Europe. Although babies grow out of clothes quickly and you may only use a ski suit for one trip, it is really important to make sure that you have the right gear for the climate and you can always sell it second-hand afterwards. We ordered a Canada Goose Baby Ski Suit prior to our trip. It came all the way from America because we couldn’t track one down in the UK. It was absolutely excellent and kept Baby cosy throughout the trip. I had no concerns about her getting cold in the extreme conditions and it is also 100% waterproof.
Baby Uggs for toasty toes
In addition to a ski suit, it is vital to have very warm baby shoes or boots. Baby Uggs are brilliant. The sheepskin lining and resilient outer material gives extra protection and stops toes from getting frozen!
Buy a baby balaclava
After a quick search on Ebay, I found a soft fleece baby balaclava. I have used this in England before on cold days and find it very good for keeping Baby’s neck warm. This is essential in snowy conditions and I sewed a stitch in the back to make sure that it fitted perfectly. She wore a hat on top of the balaclava during the extra cold days. JoJo Mamman Bebe currently have them in stock for £15.
Customise your pushchair for snow
In Lech, a lot of the prams that we spotted were three wheel multiterrain models. However, my Joolz pram performed outstandingly on the snow and I would thoroughly recommend this brand for a ski trip. The large back wheels helped the pram across the tricky landscape and the sturdy frame is ideal for the conditions. Taking a stroller, or a model with small wheels, would be pointless because you wouldn’t get very far. The snow would just clog up underneath you.
I made the most of pushchair accessories too. I used the Joolz rain cover to help remove any wind chill, which is crucial when skiing with a baby. However, when the sun is out, you need to be careful that it doesn’t act like a greenhouse! Keeping the little window open for ventilation and airflow is helpful. I also customised the pram with some amazing AXSO skis, which we ordered online (see them in action on our Twitter and Instagram). They clipped on to the wheels and helped the pushchair to glide lightly over the snow. We walked for hours in Lech along the footpaths that ran through the valley and Baby was given a smooth ride. The skis were much admired by everyone in the resort and they proved to be a great purchase. Lastly, I would recommend using a pram safety strap in the snow. This fixes on to the handle and then ties around your wrist, so that you can have extra security in case you slip or let go by mistake. Prams tend to get away from you much quicker on snow!
The mountaineering child carrier
Osprey has child carrier that has been designed especially for hiking. The Osprey Poco AG Premium was an essential piece of kit for the trip and we used it a lot when skiing with a baby (we have featured it previously here). I hiked up the hills with Baby on my back and I felt incredibly secure with the Osprey. It balances the weight perfectly and you feel very stable, despite the icy or snowy surface that lies underfoot. There is a protective frame that guards your child in the event of a fall. There are also lots of little pockets for food, water and extra clothing.
Sun and light protection
Babies and sunglasses don’t really go together! A lot of my mummy friends have problems keeping sunglasses on, but they are essential in a ski resort. Even on a whiteout day, we made sure Baby’s eyes were protected. Luckily enough, she seemed to realise that sunglasses were a compulsory piece of kit and didn’t pull them off. Perhaps it was because all the grown ups were also wearing them and she wanted to feel the part. I also used an off-the-shelf baby sun cream on her every day.
Take a supply of convenient food
Baby has been fully weaned for a while now and my husband makes her food at home using the Beaba Babycook. However, for our skiing holiday we decided to take a supply of Ella’s Kitchen goodies with us. When you are skiing with a baby in tow, it is useful to be able to pack food that you can give easily. The Ella’s Kitchen food comes in handy pouches and the range includes lots of delicious options. We also took milk with us because we didn’t want to suddenly change her diet. The supermarkets in Lech had lots of options for babies, but they didn’t have our milk brand, so I was happy that we came prepared on this front.
Remember the different atmosphere
The atmosphere is completely different in the mountains and the air was extremely cold and dry during our visit. This made Baby more thirsty than usual. We kept topping her up with fluids more than normal and also found that using a humidifier to put moisture in to the air in her room during the evening really helped her sleep through the night. You should also be wary about altitude when skiing with a baby. It may help to keep young babies at ski resort level for the first few days before climbing higher up the mountains.
Pick a versatile resort
Obviously, there are some limitations to what you can do with a baby in a ski resort and daily activity is mainly focused around walking. Lech Zurs am Arlberg is an amazing resort when it comes to catering for the needs of non-skiers. There are plenty of pisted walking routes and you can enjoy beautiful scenery down by the river (with your pram) or panoramic views from high up in the mountains (with your Osprey). Many of the luxury hotels have pool and spa facilities too. A lot of the restaurants are accessible to walkers – even mid-slope destinations like those in Oberlech – so it is possible to enjoy a wonderful winter holiday without feeling left out. I also took a fews days off walking and baby duties to ski, thanks to the help of family members, and there is a babysitting service that can be used (depending on where you stay).