By Helen Olsson
When your little chickadees have toasty fingers, they’ll stay out longer and ski more–and that keeps the whole family happy. Especially on a powder day.
1. Go with mittens not gloves. Tiny fingers stay warmer when they can cuddle up with their buddies.
Plus, mittens are easier for kids to put on and take off, and they are roomy enough to accommodate disposable hand warmers.
2. Buy quality mittens. Look for mittens with a waterproof breathable lining, good insulation, and an outer fabric that’s supple enough to allow children to grip their poles.
Kids need waterproofness not just for skiing and snowboarding but for making snowballs and snow angels.
3. Buy mittens slightly oversized. One way mittens keep your hands warm is the pocket of air that surrounds your hand inside the mitten.
If mittens or gloves are too tight—eliminating that layer of insulation—your children’s hands will be cold.
One caveat: if mittens are way too big, the air insulation theory goes out the window. The other benefit of a slightly larger mitten is that you can fit in two disposable hand warmers on ultra-cold days.
4. Choose mittens with a large gauntlet. You want that extra cuff material to extend over the jacket sleeves and cinch down tight so that when kids fall, snow doesn’t pack in around their wrists.
Look for mittens with cinchable straps that loop around the forearm so that when a child pulls off a mitten on the chairlift, it won’t fall to the trail below.
If you don’t have a big enough glove cuff, make sure to cinch the jacket sleeve tightly over the mitten.
5. Ditch the poles. When kids are very small, encourage them to ski without poles.
Gripping a pole handle tends to make little hands colder. It minimizes that insulating pocket of air between the hand and the palm of the glove that would otherwise keep your digits cozy.
Without poles, kids can ball up their hands to keep fingers warm while skiing.
6. Stock up on disposable hand warmers. If it’s a cold day, open the packaging 15 minutes or so before you’re heading out.
The chemical in the warmers takes some time to activate in the air.
7. Dry out mittens at night. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on drying gloves, but most types you can just toss in your clothes dryer.
Or leave mittens on a floor with radiant heat or hang them in your boiler room. There are a few boot dryers on the market that double as glove and mitten dryers (DryGuy and Hotronic Snapdry, to name a few).
8. Keep the core warm: If a child’s body is cold, the fingers will be cold. Be sure to bundle up with fleece tops, vests, and insulated jackets.
9. Pack an extra set of mittens. Especially if the weather is variable, children’s mittens can get wet, which can lead to cold hands if temperatures drop.
Swapping out soggy mitts for dry ones at lunch can mean happy hands for the afternoon.