Dress your baby or toddler for winter and introduce them to mountain life

Writer: Kelly O’Neil, Collingwood native Ski Mom

A wise outdoors mama once told me, there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only dressing badly for the weather. Dressing your baby or toddler for winter is their first line of defence against the elements.

No matter how long, or stressful it might seem to gear up your baby to take them out for a day on the ski hill, you will never regret it, I promise! As long as you follow some basic layering techniques, you will be headed for a warm and happy experience outside.

Here are a few things that I recommend trying out with your baby or toddler to get them prepped to enjoy the slopes.

Layering for the weather.
Layers are the way to go in my opinion. As a parent, you will know if your baby runs hot or cold.  Dress them according to their typical core temperature. My 4-year-old daughter Audrey typically runs hot. Knowing this, I like to select smart base layers. Mountain Equipment Co-op makes a fantastic base layer that provides exceptional quality for the price. Shop the Bambini line. As long as this layer is a dry technical fabric that hugs the skin, you are off to a great start!

Next layer depends on how much your child will move on the hill.
Whether your baby will be bundled up in a backpack or your toddler will be learning to ski/snowboard, you want to cater your next layer to the amount of activity they will get. It is a great idea to invest in a one-piece puff layer for your infant with which you can build upon with outer layers. Patagonia makes an amazing option. I looked for a second-hand version for Audrey to save on cost. Well worth the splurge.

Now that my child is 4 and she has been skiing for 2 entire ski seasons, she is very active on the hill. Up and down and in and out of any terrain we attempt! I typically dress Audrey in an additional layer of warm fleece on top, typically a zip off that can easily be removed if she gets overheated. On top of that layer, she dresses in outerwear. Columbia Kids has been my go-to line for her because it is well priced and versatile. The Outgrown Extend collection allows you to get at least 2 seasons out of snow pants, one-piece suits and jackets.

Training skis.
I laughed when I saw these for the first time. Here is Audrey’s cousin Bruce getting the feeling of having skis on. They can be used on carpet or outside with regular snow boots. Awesome way to get them used to the way they need to move their body when they have skis on. This pair was made by Komperdell.

Hot chocolate après.
Yes, Audrey has started the ritual of après at a tender age. Who doesn’t enjoy unwinding after a cold shift on the slopes with a warm beverage? Her choice: the kids hot chocolate from Starbucks.

Getting ready for a lifetime of winter fun with your toddler is a rewarding experience. My parents invested in the opportunity for me to become a skier and I thank them for that as an adult. I hope that Audrey will share my passion for mountain sports and love winter as much as I do. In the meantime, it’s amazing for me to watch her learn and grow into a healthy, active and energetic child!

All the best to you and yours!


This post is also available in: French