How To Pack For Your Winter Jasper Vacation With Kids
Almost everyone I talk to will say one of the toughest things about travel is knowing how to pack. Whenever we go on a trip, even if its just a weekend away I tend to over-pack. Our last trip away was two weeks in Mexico. I packed for myself and both kids, ages 5 and 1. Clothes for a tropical holiday take up a small fraction of the suitcase space required of winter clothing.
Make a List & Start Packing Early
I’m not sure if it was just excitement or maybe a little anxiety but was completely finished packing more than 4 weeks before our holiday! I found this helped me a lot. I was able to lay out our suitcases in the spare room and could keep adding to the piles when I thought of something that was missed.
Or Use a Packing App
If packing weeks in advance isn’t your thing, you could keep a list going to use as a checklist when it came to “packing day”. There are apps that can help with list-making. One really helpful packing app is Packing Pro. It’s not a free app but I’ve used the generic lists that come with the app & found it helpful. It also allows you to customize & save your own lists.
But How Do You Pack For The Mountains?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to pack for a mountain getaway. Lot’s of people aren’t sure what to pack especially for kids. It’s pretty much the same as I’d pack for myself: Layers!
Basic Packing List
- 3 upper layers of clothing – long sleeve underwear (merino wool), a fleece top or turtleneck, and a waterproof jacket. Do not over-layer, or your child will overheat.
- Two bottom layers of clothing per child – long underwear bottoms, waterproof ski pants.
- Wool or synthetic socks. You won’t want cotton ones as they absorb wetness.
- Snow boots for outside play. Get the boots that are snug enough so snow does not fall inside. Have sneakers ready for change for indoor activity.
- Mittens for smaller kids and gloves for age 6 and up.
- Tube-shaped neck warmers that can be easily pulled up over lips or noses when it gets too cold.
- Warm hat
Toiletries & Accessories
- Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher, applied every two hours and 20 minutes before exposure).
- Lip balm (Give one to each child to carry in pockets or backpack).
- Sunglasses and ski goggles. Use sunglasses when weather is warm or not snowing. Goggles are a must when snow flurries emerge.
- Personal backpack with extra clothes, car activities, snacks, comforting stuffed animal or toy.
- Hand and foot warmer packs sold at sporting goods stores -or better yet reusable hand warmers! We love these Hotsnapz hand and foot warmers!
- Energizing dry snacks stashed in pockets for kids going snowboarding or skiing.
Don’t forget your bathing suits! Swimming at the outdoor heated salt water pool at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is an incredible experience in the winter! Make sure you bring your toque & sunglasses for swimming outdoors at the lodge's pool!
Sunscreen, Merino & Layers
Layers are definitely your friend especially if you’re travelling to Jasper where the weather is unpredictable to the max. We can be hit with snow in July and, in the same week, sweltering, sunny beach weather. You don’t have to pack more … just pack smarter.
In Jasper, we love Merino Wool for all seasons, but especially in the winter! You will need quality foot wear if you plan to do any hiking. And if you forget anything there are several stores in Jasper to rent or shop for forgotten items!
Magic Carpet Ride
We love love love to ski and snowboard, so naturally we want our children to share our passion. Our first experience was great. We stayed on the Magic Carpet at Marmot Basin. This is the best area for little ones and beginners. We stayed just long enough and everyone left happy!
The following trip to the magic carpet Elijah kept pointing at the chair. Yay! He was hooked already. From here we took him to the school house chair. This area is wide open and the chair isn’t too high up or very far up the mountain. So the run down is just long enough for little legs.
The rest of the season was great. My only complaint is that we didn’t make it up to the ski hill as much as we had initially planned.
Don't Skip the Lessons
The following year Elijah is now 3 and we are ready to explore more of the mountain with him. I highly recommend purchasing an Edgie Wedgie for your child’s first time on skis. We also used a harness for a few days, but didn’t find it to be very helpful and some ski instructors will advise you not too as your child depends on you to stop. We were having fun until we were not having fun anymore.
This is when we needed to hire an instructor. We found that Elijah would lay in the snow crying for us, but somehow for her he would listen to his coach's instructions. He had a great time skiing with her and learned a lot. After a few lessons we were enjoying ski together again. We continued with the private lessons for the rest of the season and by the end he was really flying!
Mini Mountain Ski Program
The last two years Elijah has enjoyed the Mini Mountains Ski Program offered at Marmot Basin. He is now skiing everywhere and fast! (almost too fast for his mom).
We are already looking forward to next season already as Quinn will be old enough to attend their daycare program and Elijah will have the stamina to ski the whole day! He has already been asking when he can join the Jasper Freeride Ski Team.
Elijah talks about his Olympic dreams but the best part of watching him ski is his pure joy when he challenges himself.
Plan For Your Vision & Enjoy Your Day!
My Jasper Nanny was so lucky to be a part of this wedding. But I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Several nannies were booked to provide care & entertainment for the kids’ party. I had a role as part of the wedding party… or so I thought.
Well, my first role was to plan the kids’ party, put together crafts suitable for various ages & book the nannies. That was pretty easy since the bride made sure to book 1 1/2 months in advance. All of the guests submitted their child-care forms at the same time, I think because the bride was so organized. Then came our first ever request to attend the wedding with the bride & groom’s dogs!
Meet the Ring-Bearer
About a month in advance, the bride contacted us to dog-sit and help them act as ring-bearer. I was really nervous. I was picturing walking down the aisle & wondering what I should wear and would I need to do anything more?
Plan For Success & Your Dream Wedding
Just days before the wedding, the bride set my mind at ease. She was incredibly organized! As it turned out, my part was to walk the dogs to make sure there was no chance of accidents during the wedding. Then during the ceremony, I handed the dogs over so they could walk down the aisle with a member of the wedding party.
As I sat at the back of the event, I noticed a guest struggling with a baby who was clearly had other things in mind. Before the fussing got louder, I offered to walk the baby in the guest’s stroller. I love it when I feel helpful Once the dogs’ part in the ceremony was done, I took them for a walk around Lake Beauvert.
Relaxing After a (not so) Tough Gig
I had another nanny meet up with me to walk the dogs around Lake Beauvert. Aren’t these fur-babies gorgeous… and enormous!
I love that we were an important part of this event. It was amazing to see how everything came together with the bride’s attention to detail without even looking or sounding stressed. I swear she even ordered perfect weather. By managing the things that can and should be taken care of well in advance then, as the big day approaches, looking after other details, there was little left to chance & more opportunity to just enjoy the big day.
Guests whose kids were looked after by our nannies at the kids’ party were able to relax, kids were happier with the party than they would have been sitting still at the wedding, and the ceremony enjoyed the quiet, beautiful mountain backdrop of the Jasper Park Lodge.
We’re so tickled by the bride’s wonderful review on our Facebook page:
I cannot recommend My Jasper Nanny enough. I had my wedding at Jasper Park Lodge July 2019 and they helped handle our dogs during our wedding rehearsal, ceremony and for photos!!! They also took them on long walks and babysat in our room when we were visiting with family and friends and having dinners out, golfing etc… my dogs loved them and WE loved them. They also helped to orchestrate the children’s party and babysitting care during and after our wedding reception and all the kids had a blast and were sad when it ended! We couldn’t have had such a perfect weekend or magical wedding without them.
If you’re planning a wedding or any large event where guests might need childcare or pet-sitting, we can provide individual family care or, as with this wedding, provide a group kids’ event. It can get busy in Jasper especially in summer so it is best to book as far in advance as possible to make sure you have as perfect a day is this lovely bride and groom!
Whether you’re on holidays in Jasper or just wanting to include your kids in dining out plans, you might not want the big price tag that can come along with food waste & tiny appetites. Even if your kids are adventurous diners, there’s a good chance that adult-sized meals are too big for small children.
Do You Share Your Adult Meal?
Of course sharing from your own plate can be a good option. But don’t you get tired of eating food that’s only approved by kids? Sometimes I want super spicy meals or textures that kids might find revolting. If you order a full meal for a child, you can take it home in a doggy bag. Most if not all hotels have mini fridges. Those leftovers can be handy to take on a hike the next day unless it’s something too sloppy to pack.
Kid’s Menus to the Rescue
We love restaurants with kids’ menus. Serving sizes are smaller and the prices more affordable. Everyone benefits there because. I don’t know about you, but I find it tough to swallow (pun not intended) packing up a barely touched meal when I had to pay a lot for it.
Even when you’re ordering from kids’ menus, prices can still be a barrier for going out to dine as a family when your kids are just toddlers. That’s where free options for kids five-years-old and under make dining out with kids a more reasonable choice.
Kids 5 & Under Eat for Free
I’ve done a bit of homework to find out which Jasper restaurants currently offer 5 And Under For Free Kid’s Menus.
Jasper Park Lodge
The meal I ordered from the kids’ menu for my 5 month old daughter looked amazing. I have no idea if it was the incredible care the chef put in to presentation, the yummy meal, or my daughter’s healthy appetite but she couldn’t wait to dive in and happily finished the entire meal (well I might have tasted a bit just to make sure it was okay … it was! )
Mountain Park Lodge Dining Rooms
These Mountain Park Lodge restaurants have Free Kids's menus:
- The Crimson
- Chateau Jasper
- Lobstick Lodge
- Marmot Lodge
- Pocahontas Cabins
- Pyramid Lake Resort
- Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre Jasper
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
Maligne Canyon’s kids’ menu is available online. We have not had the opportunity to eat here yet, but we are planning to go soon! Their menu looks great and it’s right at the top of the Maligne Canyon, so a hike before lunch would be a great way to work up an appetite.
Remember that giant kid’s meal I ordered for my daughter? She loved it a finished the whole thing (with the help of her dad). And I had a chance to relax and enjoy my meal. Of course all kids are different and some, like my son, need to develop their taste buds. Having a chance to order free for kids 5 and under gives us opportunities to start small with generally safe choices and build up those tiny taste buds.
We’ve shared from our own meals to add a bit of variety and challenge as our son has grown. I think giving him choices from those smaller menus has helped us enjoy more meals out.
I’ve contacted a few other restaurants so this might not be the entire list of Kids Five & Under Eat for Free. If I have more to add, I’ll be sure to share. Meanwhile …
While I was pregnant with our first baby Elijah. I pick up a copy of the Diaper Free Baby.This book and methods really intrigued me. Your baby is trying to tell you that it’s time to go. Elimination Communication is not as time-consuming as full-time diapering and later potty training. It can, at times, feel inconvenient but the benefits sure pay off.
Mammals Don’t Poop Where They Live
I’d never thought about the fact that no other mammal in the world wants to eliminate in their living space. This made me think about our dogs, Diego & Leon. Even they prefer to leave the yard to void their bowels. Diego, our bigger dog, will hang onto “it” 💩 until we walk him. He won’t poop in the yard unless we’ve neglected to get him out for his morning walk.
1st Baby & Sleepless Nights
With our first baby, we began elimination communication soon after he was born. Remember those sleepless nights? It took quite a bit of faith that EC made sense as we stood half-asleep holding our son on the potty. Well, it did work out & we used EC with our 2nd baby too. By about 5 months, both babies were able to wait to have their diaper removed to use the potty. But the process wasn’t exactly the same with our second baby.
What Am I Doing Wrong?
Short answer: Nothing at all! But we sure do feel that way often enough don’t we? We felt like graduates of EC university after our 1st so, when baby #2 didn’t follow the same pattern, I wondered what I was doing wrong.
Babies Do What Comes Naturally
Diaper Free Baby also discussed that babies show the same desire to keep their living area clean as they will often go once the diaper is removed. It’s not natural to go in a diaper. We experienced this with both babies. Therefore, both Elijah and Quinn starting using a potty at 3 weeks old.
I have to admit with our first baby we were very motivated and had more time in general. At just 11 months, he'd tell us when he had to go and, by 18 months, our son was wearing proper underwear!
Our daughter, Quinn, took a little longer, I think because she went to daycare were they weren’t able to watch for Quinn's cues that she needed to go to the potty. Even with those sorts of challenges, by the time Quinn was 1-year-old, she never pooped in her diaper and, by 22-months, she wore regular underwear.
So Where Do You Start?
Like all things parenting, there isn’t an exact blueprint. I know. Big surprise! There are actually many ways to follow EC.
You want to realize your baby has a wet or stinky diaper after you've got them bundled up & your dogs are excited to get going.
EC is just as much, or even more, about training the grownups in the room. We always put both babies on the potty first thing when they woke up. On those mornings when I would have liked a few more moments of sleep, it took serious commitment but the endgame was worth it.
There were never any tears involved and would have to say it was an enjoyable experience for everyone. Some people may think this is more work than diapers but I can assure you that’s not so. Remembering to put your baby on the potty before putting on winter gear just makes sense even if you aren’t doing EC.
EC is actually less work in the long run because you won’t have to potty train a 2 or 3-year-old who has already been taught to go in a diaper. Once a child has gotten used to eliminating in a diaper, it is tougher to potty train. Toddlers also don’t like to have to take a break from playing to go to the bathroom so they’ll tend to prefer an accident to the boredom of sitting on a potty.
There are a few things that will help make EC a lot easier especially as you're establishing your routine.
Potties for Infants
We recommend this little Baby Bjorn potty with the backrest. The backrest was helpful when they were really little. Just to make it a little easier, I also loved putting babies in cloth diapers with the baby legs – rather than dressing completely while at home. What I noticed to rare time I used disposables was that the wet sensation isn’t there to signal to your baby it’s potty time.
Diapers vs Cloth Pull Ups
We invested very little in cloth diapers because I was able to find used, near-new condition cloth diapers online. The price of brand-new diapers can be hard to handle but even if you buy new, the cost will still be lower than if you use disposables. Besides being a huge problem for the environment, disposable diapers will cost you $2500-$3000 whereas cloth diapers (purchasing & washing) are well under $700.
Homemade Lavender & Tea Tree Wipes
We made wipes from small squares of soft flannel with finished edges & a homemade baby wipe solution from this recipe:
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cup boiled water
- 1 tsp Castile soap
- 2 drops tea tree oil
- 4 drops lavender oil
Ready To Get Started?
The earlier you start, the easier it will be. But even if your baby has been in diapers for a little while, you’ll enjoy the benefits of watching for signs that your baby needs to go on the potty. The easiest one is when they first wake up in the morning or after a nap. At other times, you’ll get to know their shifts in energy or other signs like getting deep in thought.
It might seem like a lot of effort to run to the bathroom but it’s a lot less work than washing diapers. What really sells me on Elimination Communication is how early my kids were completely done with diapers and how few really stinky diapers I had to change & wash.
Everybody’s situation is different so EC might not be an option. There is no right or wrong way when your heart is in the right place. There’s what works for your family.
I’d love to hear your stories. Have you tried EC?
Today is our son Elijah’s second day at the Wildflowers Daycare Centre in Jasper. We picked this centre because we believe it’s a wonderful program and the staff are highly trained. Many of the staff are certified teachers.
After looking into all our options this centre has a wonderful balance of structure and free play. Elijah is attending their program two days a week to give me a day to work on my business, to have a break (we went skiing today). I also organized my office without the help of a two year old sorting my paperwork! This time away will also give Elijah the opportunity to learn new skills, have fun with his peers and teachers.
As a parent we need to ask ourselves is my child safe? Will they be happy and comfortable? Of course, if they cry as we walk out the door, we wonder if we are making the right choice. I know my son is crying because he loves me so much and will miss me while I’m gone. But I also know he is going to have a fun day! We received our first picture update an hour after we left and he was happily playing.
Play Time With a Purpose
We looked at their policies. The things that are important to me is that he doesn’t spend the day watching t.v. We play outside, read books, play games, make healthy food and do crafts. We looked for a daycare provider that would respect our values and do the same. At home we make sure all aspects of his growth are looked after: physical, mental and emotional. While he is with daycare he is well cared for and loved.
My Jasper Nanny also expects that our nannies will follow the guidelines and expectations for each family. Families fill out a child information form to allow the opportunity to express their child’s needs from schedule to favourite toys, allergies and medical conditions.
Leaving your most precious person/people in the world can be difficult for them and parents! Today was our first day of leaving our son at the daycare. We visited many times before today, but he still cried when we left. I think that’s how our babies tell us “I’m going to miss you and I love you so much”!
I kept my happy face on until we left too, keeping it positive.
Everyday will get easier and knowing he is in great care is so important! As kids go through stages, you can expect the crying when you try to leave can start up again, though not usually as bad as their initial separation anxiety.
Can you believe it? It’s time to start planning your winter ski trips. Marmot Family Ski Trips has custom packages for families & you can even register kids as young as 6 years old for ski school.
But what do you do if you have a 6 year old and little ones not quite ready to manage the ski hill. It can be great fun to get out to play in the snow with your infants but you might not want to use up a day at the hill making snowmen when there’s plenty of snow at playgrounds in town for those sorts of activities.
It’s great to give opportunities for your bigger kids to fully take advantage of the hill by finding childcare for your wee ones. My Jasper Nanny will be happy to build snowmen in town, go skating, take adventure walks and other fun activities so that everyone at the end of the day is happy.