Winter Wonderland Packing Tips

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.

baby wearing sun suit sitting on sand at a tropical beach - man watching her - kids building sandcastles - sailboats in the distance
Quinn & Peter on our Mexico Vacation

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

woman sitting with child on seat in via rail train cabin - backpack at her feet
VIA Rail

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

Outerwear Clothing

Toiletries & Accessories

Other Must-Haves

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!

boy at an outdoor pool in winter throwing snowball - woman sitting in hot tub holding baby
Snowballs & Swimming at the Jasper Park Lodge Outdoor 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

man crouched next to child learning to ski - mountains and skiers in background

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

young child with ski instructor and mascot jasper the bear at a ski hill
Getting Ski Tips From Jasper The Bear

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:

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.

Learning Experience

I Can’t Believe She Ate The Whole Thing!

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 …

Bon Appétit!

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.

man teaching a child to ski - holding straps to the child's safety harness - snow-covered trees nad sign pointing to ski runs

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.