Tahoe skiing: Tips for parents to keep the kids comfy on the slopes | SierraSun.com

Tahoe skiing: Tips for parents to keep the kids comfy on the slopes

TAHOE-TRUCKEE — A day on the mountain instantly sparks excitement. Your wheels are turning, planning the day to come.

Everybody has their rituals following seasons of tradition: lock in the perfect parking spot, meet at the predetermined location for a cup of coffee, and make it to the lift line for first tracks — perfect timing.

Introducing toddlers to the mix, however, calls for expert strategy and organization on the parents' part, and luckily, North Tahoe-Truckee is home to some of the best beginner programming, ensuring kids have a smooth day.

The Sierra Sun caught up with two local families and area ski resort officials to give helpful tips on things to keep in mind for nothing but fun on the slopes (and, of course, to share pictures of the adorable kiddos having a blast).

Penny Mangum, who just turned 2, and Rocky Guldemond, who's 2 and a half, are two of Truckee's fiercest, pint-sized snowboarders. They hit the slopes at Northstar California on Wednesday, and their moms were kind enough to lend a couple tricks-of-the-trade for keeping little ones amped to come back for more snow days.

"Bring plenty of diapers and snacks," said Heidi Foehr, a local super-mom to Penny and expert in snow play dates in Truckee. "But leave your expectations at home; they may only take one or two runs and play in the snow for the rest of the day."

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The key is to visually teach kids and keep explanations short and sweet, as well as easy for them to understand, said James Pedersen, Child Ski Center Supervisor at Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village.

Pedersen and his team curate fun and exciting experiences for children's ski programming, and he also offered pro tips on what parents should keep in mind.

"Patience is key," he said. "Kids are always unpredictable and can have a change of moods quickly."

Pedersen reminds parents to keep a good eye on children, since they're smaller and more difficult to see amid faster-moving traffic.

And perhaps the most important tip for any parent in snowy situations, he added, is that "nothing will end your day quicker than cold or wet kids."

Diamond Peak is home to some of the best kid-friendly, low-angled terrain for fun and safe learning in the Tahoe region, highlighted by the Schoolhouse chair that's lower to the ground for easier lift access.

Parents can rest a little easier knowing that all runs at Diamond Peak funnel back to the lodge, with gravity bringing children to a safe place in case they get separated from parents.

Just about every resort at North Tahoe-Truckee offers family friendly options, with Diamond Peak, Northstar California, Tahoe Donner Downhill, Squaw Valley, Soda Springs, Granlibakken, Donner Ski Ranch, Homewood, Sugar Bowl and Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe offering varying levels of kid-friendly terrain.

Wherever you decide to bring the little ones for a day in the snow, be sure you're well-stocked on equipment essentials by doing a head-to-toe gear check before leaving the house.

Pack plenty of diapers, snacks, extra socks and warm clothes, anything to keep them comfy in cold and wet conditions.

"My advice is to just share the love of the whole experience with your kids," said Drea Guldemond, mom to Rocky. "The shuttle, the gondola, the chairlift and the après … don't put a lot of pressure on riding down the mountain … that part will come."

And the best reminder of all is to keep things light and fun — and, don't forget your camera.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

‘Best Family Friendly Ski Resort’

Speaking of kid-friendly terrain, Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area was recently named “Best Family Friendly Ski Resort” on the West Coast by Liftopia, as part of the company’s 2016-17 “Best in Snow” awards.

Additionally, Tahoe Donner made the Top 10 list for Best Value and Beginner Friendly ski resorts in the West Coast category.

The methodology Liftopia used in selecting these awards was determined by data collected over 10 years, with more than 10,000 people surveyed.

Respondents took into consideration criteria such as snow quality and conditions; learn to ski and snowboard programs; staff and instructors; accessibility of lifts and beginner terrain; and cost of lift tickets, rentals and programs, among others.

“We’re honored to be recognized by Liftopia for providing the best in family-friendly service and value to our members and visitors,” Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area Manager Robert McClendon said in a statement. “We’re extremely proud to provide a casual, family-friendly atmosphere at the best value in the Truckee and Lake Tahoe area. Kids love it here.”

Visit http://www.tahoedonner.com to learn more, and visit bestinsnow.liftopia.com to look up all of Liftopia’s winners this year.