We are fortunate to live near a ski area where having kids out on the ski hills at a super young age (18 months – 2 years) is fairly normal. While ski school starting up this month means crowded weekends on the lower mountain, it also means kids being able to see that there are tons of others their ages learning too. I also love the fact that the lodge is full of mamas with babies (and plenty of people taking babies safely on the chair lift) on a daily basis.
While J was out on the slopes a little bit the last two years, this year everything came together for him (check out our post, The Difference a Year Makes) and he’s actually making progress on his own. However, Little Brother will not be outdone and is doing everything his little legs can do (which is certainly limited given his strength at 2.5 years) to keep up.
In the past, we have used almost exclusively a harness or similar methods to teach the boys to ski (we really love this one from Launch Pad). This year, we were given the opportunity to try out something a little different that has changed our game a bit. That said, we want to make it clear that we think the Hookease by Launch pad and harnesses too certainly have their place (but not ALL the time.)
Introducing Kinderlift Vests:
The Kinderlift is a kids’ safety ski vest that just makes life easier for anyone teaching (and picking up) kids learning to ski. It is a sturdy vest with a large handle on the back to allow adults to easily lift kids on and off the ski lift or when they fall. They fit over ski gear (so you need to size accordingly) and come in bright colors to help spot kids easily. Finally, the zipper is oversized which makes it much easier to get them on and off.
The vests are used in ski schools around the world (so definitely check to be sure your child won’t be wearing the same vest as the ski school as to not confuse everyone).
Right now J is able to ski independently and so the vest is perfect for getting on and off the lifts and picking him up. P is so small that he needs a little more support and really doesn’t have the strength to “pizza” his skis anyway. It just means easy pick-up for us getting him on and off lifts and moving him through the crowd.
Additionally, we use our vests for more than just alpine skiing – they are great for x-country skiing and skating too. They just make life easier.
What we love:
- Easy to get on and off
- Bright colors for easy spotting of kids
- Possibility to add your own logo
- Nice big zipper
- Easier on kid’s arms
- Very sturdy and tough
- Big handle in the back
What we weren’t so crazy about:
**NOTE: Both of these upgrades we would like to see ARE available as custom options for bulk orders from ski areas.**
- Since many resorts have kids’ season passes, would be great to have a pocket to slide that in
- We’d love to see some strap adjustments on the sides to accommodate for heavier or lighter jackets depending on the weather. That said, we haven’t had any issues even with P who has a vest that fits a little looser than J’s.
- Available in 14 different colors
- XXS (age 2-3) – L (age 7-8)
KinderKarry Bag **NEW this year**
Besides just hauling kids to the ski hill and then around the mountain, there is tons of gear to haul too. Kinderlift offered us a chance to try out their new KinderKarry bags this year and they have been a lifesaver. The KinderKarry is built to hold all the kids’ ski gear AND their skis, so it’s just one easy handle for the parent to carry. It’s actually pretty simple with only one interior pocket (for documents, cell phone, wallet, etc.) leaving plenty of room for everything else.
The bag make-up:
- Nylon and polyester construction (so it dries easily and is very light)
- Carry using the handle or adjustable shoulder strap
- Machine washable
- 15″ length x 13″ tall x 8″ wide
- Available in fluorescent lime color and royal blue (the blue isn’t on their site quite yet, but IS available)
Our kids are both young and therefore small, so we can actually fit almost everything they both need in the bag (the only thing that doesn’t fit is their helmets and we just buckle these to the handle) AND attach two pairs of skis to the outside.
What easily fits in:
- 2 Kinderlift vests
- 2 pair of snow pants
- 2 jackets
- 2 pair of mittens (and sometimes liners or an extra pair for colder days)
- 2 pair of goggles
- 2 under-helmet hats or balaclavas
- 2 neck warmers
- 2 pair of ski boots
- 2 harnesses (Lucky Bums and Launch Pad) just in case
- a few packets of hand warmers
- some extra fleece layers in case it is really cold (pants, shirts, etc.)
- some small snacks
We leave the skiing basics in the bag all the time (boots, harnesses, hard warmers, and Kinderlift vests) so it’s easy to just add the items that we use on a daily basis (and usually need to dry out anyway). It means packing to go to the ski hill takes less than 10 minutes for two kids and we don’t forget the important things (at least usually…)
What we love:
- Simple and light
- Easy to carry everything
- Skis attach too
- Dries quickly
- Possible to add a resort or ski school logo to the side
What we would love to see changed:
**Note – these are our suggestions, but we don’t honestly feel super strongly about them. The bag is simple, but just WORKS as it is. Any modifications are a personal preference thing only.**
- Possibly offering a backpack style also. We have gone back and forth on this for weeks now…having a backpack option would make the ski attachment really tough without taking people out as you walk. However, if they could make it work, that would be great!
- A zippered exterior pocket for quick access to passes or a little money, etc.
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month!
This is the perfect time to get up on the slopes for some killer deals (depending on what ski hills you visit and where you are located) and learn to ski or snowboard around the country. Check out their site here for where to find lessons and some great incentives for getting out there.
Buy one + Discount Code:
KinderLift has offered the chance for you to get a 20% discount on their products on their site. Use code KIND20. Expires January 31st, 2014.
Win a KinderLift Vest AND a KinderKarry Bag (TWO winners!)
We’re so excited to offer two of you the chance to get your child set up for the ski hill this year. Many thanks to Kinderlift for offering the giveaway!
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada.a Rafflecopter giveaway
KinderLift generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. You can find my full disclosure here.
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