That is a great question!
I go cross country skiing with my kids, ages 1 and 3, and my husband often. We find it a great way to enjoy the winter months as a family. We also love all the benefits that our family has gained from hitting the trails together. I recently shared some of the benefits to cross-country skiing as a family. To help those of you who are new to this activity, I rounded up my top cross country skiing with kids tips. I hope that these will encourage your family to get out on the trails.
Family Cross Country Skiing Tips
Visit a Rent or Re-used ski store
Try to find some trails that have a rental shop attached or check with a local sports store to see if they rent skis. If this is challenging to find, head to a reuse ski store or check online on local buy and sells like Craigslist or local Facebook groups. Sometimes buying re-used skis is just as affordable as renting.
Take a ski lesson
While not necessary, taking a lesson or two will help the family learn some of the techniques of cross-country skiing. In the long run this will help you use less energy and enjoy the experience more.
Don’t give up
The most important lesson we have learned is to not give up. There have been many days where we start skiing while the kids are upset and I often wonder why we are trying to take our kids on a mini adventure. Our challenges are usually followed by a quiet “ski date” while they are sleeping or an awesome family lunch surrounded by the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.
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Ski at optimal times
With small kids we try to pack them up in the chariot ski stroller during nap time to avoid whining and crying while we are skiing. Then we let them try skiing or exploring in the snow while they are awake! If they are awake while we are skiing we often ski to a hut or have a snow picnic after 30 minutes of skiing where we enjoy our surroundings with a cup of hot chocolate and snacks.
Dress Ski Appropriate
Base layers (long sleeve shirt and pants) that wick away the sweat are important because cross-country skiing is a work out. Add a long sleeve shirt, sweater, light breathable jacket and lightweight pants that provide some protection from the elements. If your kids are going to be sitting a lot in a ski stroller then make sure they are dressed warmer for the weather.
Pack Extra Food
Food is necessary on any outing with kids but especially when out cross-country skiing. Make sure to pack more food then you think you will need for your outing. Cross-country skiing uses up lots of energy and the last thing you need is kids that are hangry (angry and hungry=Hangry).
Pack a Treat
While not necessary we have found that having a treat along makes the longer cross-country ski outings more special. Our treat is often hot chocolate. We ski to a hut or a look out and enjoy the warm hot chocolate and each other. On special occasions we might bring along a chocolate croissant from one of our favourite bakeries!
I hope these tips help you and your family get out on the trails together. We have had good days and challenging days but we never regret getting out with our kids.