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.
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.
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!
We're a Ski Family
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 anEdgie Wedgiefor 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.
Kid-Friendly Dining In Jasper
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:
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 …
Family Ski Vacations
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.