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Trasport of gear with young kids

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I wanted to see if anyone could give me ideas on the best way to transport ski gear.  I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a sunroof and a hatchback.  I am a single mom of 3 young kiddos.  I snowboard they ski for now.  It will fit in the back but not easily.  And I'm 5'3" and not sure if a roof topper would be easily accessible for me?  

Or any other advice to make going up to the mountain with a 4,6 and 8 yo more smooth?  We've gone a few times and it's not been fun for me.  I really want it to be a good experience.  The logistics seems to be what's tough.  Thanks for any advice!!

post #2 of 4

Hi Kelli,

 

I'll share my experience w/ 4 kids 9-2yrs old.  Just like running your household, establishing a system or routine is key to making things run smoothly.  For equipment I use a cargo box & would never think of something else.  At your height it may be a little challenge, but you'll likely step inside the door to reach up to load/unload. (Same w/ a ski rack).  Keeping as much outside the car is always nice as you well know they fill the car with their 'must haves' to keep themselves entertained.   Also I don't like the excess snow, mud, grime in the car to be mixing with the Cheerios and other things that are on the floor.  You'll have bags, boots, coats, pants, helmets, etc in the back so that'll get filled quickly.  Position of the box on the roof is also important so you're not reaching too far across or actually leaning back because it's too far to the side.

 

The other rule I have is you have to carry your own equipment.  It's very tough for kids to carry skis.  I created my own slings for them to carry their skis & poles.  It is essentially 1" webbing cut to the length that would go across the chest so they can carry their skis on their backs.  The 2 ends are sewn with  D-rings to create loops that slip over the tips, then the tails (poles included if used).  It cost ~$15 to make 4 of them and have worked great.  I actually use them for storage as well by just hanging the skis on a hook via the strap.  When I unload the skis from the cargo box, the loop is already in place, I just slip it over their head, put one arm through the loop, swing it to their back & off they go.

 

I found some small drawstring (cheap) backpacks that I use for their helmet, goggles, gloves & neck warmer.  They always come out of the bag & go back into the bag.  I don't have to do an equipment check.  I just grab the bags & know all of those items are in there.

 

You'll figure it out, just be sure to be extra patient.  They not only need to learn to ski, they need to learn 'how to go skiing' and all it entails to pack, travel, unpack, get to the lodge, get tickets/passes, walk around, etc.  All the things we don't remember learning, but did along the way.  Our first trip was a dry-run to the slopes.  Didn't even ski.  Wanted to get them used to routine.  Get up, eat, get dressed, get in car, get out of car, get equipment on for carrying, go to lodge, etc.  We're only 1hr from the slopes so it wasn't a huge time investment & spent the day playing in the 12" of snow that fell while we were there.  I'd say after 3 trips, they were pretty much in the groove and now all I do is wake them up in the morning & they fall into the routine.

 

PS. I do this all solo, so I had to get very efficient.  With 2 people it'd be much easier, but you still need a routine.  If you want a pic of the slings I made, let me know & I'll take one to post for you.

 

#1 rule - Have fun.  Not just the kids, but you as well.  Remember this is simply sledding on your feet and should be just as much fun as that first day you took out your sled & slid down a hill.  Don't get caught up in what your supposed to do, you're just taking the kids out to slide on some snow.  What's the pressure in that?

post #3 of 4

We travel at night and the kids sleep in the car.  Works pretty well for all involved.  If we travel during the day, we bring DVDs.

 

Kids skis and snowboards aren't that long.  We carry all our gear in the back of the minivan.  To keep the sharp skis away from everything else, I bought some cheap ($40) ski bags when REI had them on sale.

post #4 of 4

Being a single mom must make things that much more difficult, so you are right in trying to organize the operation:

1)  If you have the money, the Transpack or something similar is great because it will carry boots, a helmet, goggles and lenses, gloves, etc. for each kid.  They can carry their own stuff to the lockers or just use it to keep everything together if putting boots on and off at the car. 

2) A Velcro ski strap is a must for each kid, since it will keep the skis together as they walk and the straps are small enough to fit into a pocket. 

3) Each of your kid's ski jackets should be loaded up the night before.  This means a lip balm in one of the pockets, the seasons pass attached, emergency phone number in a pocket, whistle on a zipper, etc. Keep each item in the same pocket in each jacket to make it easier to find it.

4) You should consider boarding with a backpack when on the mountain while your kids are young, so you can carry water, snacks, extra gloves, etc.

5) Buy a box of hand warmers in the off season when they are 50%-75% off.  Keep a few in your backpack or jacket for when the kids get cold hands.

6) The Jeep can handle a pair of 130cm skis (or whatever your 8-year old is using) in the back or on the floor in front of the read seat.  As the kids get older you may want a box (see #8 below on how to reach it).

7) To make it easier to put on boots, I carry an old diaper changing blanket (I was going to toss is out or use it for a drop cloth when painting).  It folds up nicely and keeps the feet clean and dry.

8) I once saw a shorter person use a folding step stool to reach a box on top of her car.  She also used it as a chair when putting on her ski boots. 

9) Only buy dark or light undergarments and tops for the kids.  Being a single mom, you don't have time to do extra loads of laundry.  I only buy black (which drives my wife nuts), but I am the one who does the ski laundry.

10) Pack clothing separately for each kid when on vacation, and then throw the dirty laundry into a garbage bag.  When you are ready to leave, you can cram all the dirty laundry into a suitcase or two within seconds.

11) Try to have fun even though taking the kids on any activity is a lot of work.

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