What Do Your Kids Need for Their First Day Snowboarding?
About to take your kids snowboarding for the first time? Get them all geared up for their first day on the mountain with the help of Snowboard Expert Megan H.
So, you signed your kid up for snowboard lessons and you are all excited for your trip! Or maybe you are venturing out to teach them on your own! This is the beginning of an epic family adventure, and hopefully, your kids build the skills to snowboard and ride with you for many seasons to come.
But then reality sets in, and you remember that cold kids are miserable kids and this might be a little more challenging than you realized. What clothes do they need? Helmets? Goggles? Equipment? How much gear do they really need for their first day of snowboard school? How will I get them to the ski resort with equipment intact and no missing mittens? How much wine will I need at aprés?
Let’s break it down a little so it feels a bit more manageable.
First things first, check the weather report! The weather forecast will dictate what your equipment looks like. Sunny, warm days and snowy, storm days will require totally different preparation.
On the first day of snowboard school, we aren’t worried about long slopes. Most ski resorts have a learning area right next to the lodge, and if you plan to use a snowboard school, they typically have their own area for kids to eat and warm up. There will likely be numerous breaks, and probably some cocoa, so they can stay warm—making them a little less vulnerable to the weather report. In these early days, we’re really just trying to make them comfortable so they have a good experience on their first day and want to come back. That means keeping them warm and dry but not too hot; you know, like Goldilocks.
Equipment is a large part of a successful snowboard experience. Are you purchasing equipment for your children or renting? Most snowboard schools can rent equipment on site which is usually the most convenient option, and they often run promotions for a beginner lesson. Snowboard rentals should include the boots and the board with bindings mounted. Helmets may be rented as well.
When you drop your little one off for their lesson, they can often set them up with all the equipment they need. When you rent through them, the school can typically make any equipment adjustments that you may need throughout the day. But, be sure to allow plenty of time for rentals so they can start their lesson on time, and please reserve in advance so that your kid has the right sizes!
However, you may want to purchase equipment if this is something that you’re going to frequently do together throughout the season.
Helmet & Goggles
Safety first! Starting at the top, you definitely want to make sure your kid has a quality helmet. Sometimes these can be rented, but that’s not typically my preference as there are a considerable number of awesome helmets available that can be used for other sports as well when you return home. Hats are nice for breaks or getting your child to and from the mountain, but helmets are required.
Goggles on their first day may not be necessary unless you think there will be snow in the forecast. Otherwise, a decent pair of sunglasses will help protect their eyes. The glare from the snow is no joke! On that note, please be sure to use sunscreen as needed!
The Bern Bandito MIPS Youth Helmet is an awesome multipurpose helmet certified for both bike and snow sports!
Layers! You’ll want to be sure that your kid is dressed in an appropriate baselayer. If it’s going to be subzero in Colorado, a midweight or a Merino wool baselayer would be wise. Lighter weight layers will serve them well in warmer temperatures.
A neck gaiter, also known as a buff, is a great option to keep the neck and face warm too. Socks are important as well. A high-quality warm snow sock that is not terribly thick will keep your little one on the slope all day long! Be sure that it fits both the foot and the calf well and doesn’t slide down or bunch.
Next, you will want a fleece or breathable long-sleeve option. Many snowboard jackets have a fleece built-in that can zip out which is a fantastic option for kids so the layers are in one piece. An insulated coat is also an option, but there is less flexibility if conditions change throughout the day.
The beauty of layers is that we can take some off if we overdress them! (Pro tip: label everything with your last name while you are packing in case layers get shed!) That being said, fewer pieces = fewer items for your little to keep track of!
Jacket & Snow Pants
Most snowboard schools allow plenty of cocoa breaks, especially on stormy days, but you will undoubtedly need a waterproof jacket and snow pants. You are looking for a true waterproof fabric as they might spend a good part of the day playing in the snow and/or falling and picking themselves back up! Snow bibs and one-piece snowsuits are a fantastic option for keeping your kid dry, but please do consider how easily they can use a restroom without you or an instructor's help!
These 686 Insulated snow pants are both waterproof and breathable—keeping your kiddo happy even on a colder day!
Gloves & Mittens
Quality waterproof mittens or gloves are one of the most important pieces. Look for an insulated option with GORE-TEX or another similar “dry” product. Bonus points if it mentions “taped seams” as this product will withstand storms and stay dry! Again, consider the weather at your destination.
If you’re deciding between gloves and mittens, mittens will typically keep your little ones' hands warmer. Many of the new kids' products have wrist straps which will save you many headaches! No more mitten dropped off the chairlift and miserable kids on the way down! If you have a toddler, several manufacturers make fantastic toddler mittens with a zipper down the back of the wrist for ease of getting them on. Again, these are worth their weight in gold not trying to wiggle tiny fingers into even tinier holes!
These Hestra kids mittens are a fantastic option and they are some of the warmest mittens on the market!
Do We Really Need Snowboard Lessons?
You will need a lift ticket for your little one. Sometimes these are free for children under five years old! Lessons are optional and available typically to three-year-olds and up, depending on the resort. You can certainly save the money and teach the kids yourself. But either way, your little shredder will need to start on gentle beginner terrain. Before you commit to teaching them on your own though, think back to your very first day. Were you linking turns in no time? How was the first chairlift? Did you get frustrated or yell at the kind soul who offered to teach you?
As the very first day can be really difficult, this may very well be a fight that you just don’t want to have with your kids! Consider leaving it to the instructors. Snowboard instructors can help make their day a little more fun while they learn to make turns!
Snowboard lessons may fill up quickly, especially during holidays and weekends, so do plan ahead. Since Saturdays are the most popular day of the week, schedule your child's lesson as soon as possible to ensure availability!
You will have the choice between a private lesson and a group lesson. This varies in cost and both are great choices. My daughter made lifelong friends on her first day in a group lesson.
So now you are ready to brave your first family snowboard adventure! May you have a day full of stoke and giggles and no lost gloves! Be sure to get a couple of pictures! You and your family will be making laps on powder runs in no time.
If you have any questions or want help getting your kiddo geared up, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated!