Starting kids with skiing or snowboarding early can instill a lifelong love for a sport that can be pursued well into your 80s. Usually, the best skiers and snowboarders are those who started early, going to the slopes with their parents when they were toddlers. Dressing your child properly will ensure that they stay warm, instead of getting wet and chilled, so that they enjoy being on the slopes as opposed to viewing it as a chore.
Base layers are the most important part of staying warm and dry. The base layer should be some sort of polypropylene long underwear layer that wicks moisture away from the skin. Polypropylene is usually available in three different thicknesses, labeled lightweight, midweight and expedition weight. For most skiers, midweight is an ideal compromise between providing enough warmth and preventing a skier from overheating. If your child is prone to getting cold, consider expedition weight. By the upper body piece in a mock turtleneck style, to help keep the neck warm.
A fleece jacket is an ideal insulating layer for most children. Zip up fleece jackets can also double as a fall jacket. For the outer layer, choose either a Gore-Tex shell or an insulated ski jacket. Choosing a Gore-Tex shell will let you layer more pieces underneath, so that you can adjust the system depending on the conditions. For instance, when spring skiing in the Rockies, many skiers find a shell over two polypropylene layers works, whereas on colder days, you can layer a down sweater under the shell for additional warmth. If you are skiing in very cold areas, like the northeast, an insulated ski jacket may work better. For the legs, ski bibs or pants with a small amount of synthetic insulation are ideal for most kids.
Have your child wear a hat at all times. Up to 80 percent of your body heat escapes through your head. On warmer spring skiing days, a headband can be worn in place of a hat. A neck gaiter or scarf will help keep warmth inside the core. For the hands, a layer system consisting of thin liner gloves inside standard insulated ski gloves is ideal. Mittens are warmer than gloves, though they have less dexterity for gripping ski poles. Ski goggles are warmer than sunglasses.