Skiing with “the littles”: How to cross-country ski with your kids… and have fun doing it!

There is nothing better for outdoors-people than fostering a sense of love for nature in their kids. But how to take them on an XC ski outing that they – and you – will enjoy? Here’s what XC ski parents Tim Riley of Grayling and Wendy Anderson of Higgins Lake have to say:

GLWTC: How old were your kids when you started skiing with them?

Wendy: Our twin boys were 7 months old when they first snuggled down together in the Pulk (a sled designed to be pulled by a skier).

GLWTC: How do you make sure your daughters stay warm enough?

Tim: We bite the bullet and spend the money up front on quality gear that lasts. Initially we kept our ski outings short, leaving them wanting more and keeping them from being cold. Hand-warmers are huge, as well as buffs and a pack with extra layers to add or shed for comfort. Also trail snacks and hot chocolate are winners!

GLWTC: What tricks did you develop to make it fun for them, and you?

Wendy: The “Snow Faerie” often rewards good behavior with small, individually wrapped treats like mini-Snickers! Tag or short races to a tree are also favorites with all except the youngest of skiers. Be on the lookout for animal tracks, signs and homes – or even random ski tracks in the woods! Let them consider trail junctions, directions and maps early and often such that they feel ownership of the experience.

GLWTC: What advice would you offer to new parents who want to take their kids skiing?

Tim: Keep it fun and don’t push them. It’s hard when you want to get a good long ski in, but I promise, before long, those 1K skis will turn into 10K skis! There is nothing better than to have the littles begging to ski when you pick them up from school during ski season!

And there you have it! Introduce your kids to the lifelong sport of XC skiing!!