Family ski day at Canyons.

Calling all parents: More than three feet of snow has fallen on Park City since last weekend and while, yes, those adults-only powder days are fantastic, don’t forget to give your kids some slope time, too. Following are some of Canyons Resort Ski and Snowboard Director Barry Stout’s tricks of the trade for making smiles more common then tears when hitting the snow with kids.

Canyons' Ski and Snowboard Director Barry Stout with a skier in training. 

  • Be sure your little one is geared up with these cold weather essentials before venturing out: gloves that fit over or under jacket sleeves, pants with a gator that fits snuggly over their ski boots, goggles and a neck gator.
  • Take it easy the first day. If you’re here on vacation, traveling over multiple time zones, sleeping in a new place, and the altitude can make that much anticipated first day on the slopes a bust if kids are pushed too hard. Same rules apply if you’re local: Those little ski muscles haven’t been used since last April. Do yourself a favor and cut your kid some slack when they want to head in after two runs. 
  • Stay hydrated. Park City is at 6,100 feet above sea level; the resorts here top out around 10,000 feet. To avoid headaches and nausea, have your kids drink more water than they usually do.  

  • Don’t take on a steeper run than they can handle. It only takes one time of snowplowing a bump run with a four-year-old between your legs to learn this lesson. 

  • Don’t dust your kid in the flats. Weighing only about a third of what you do, there’s no way they can keep up. Hand them the basket end of your pole and give ’em a tow to more uneven ground.

  • Carry treats. Even the most threatening meltdown is typically subverted by a handful of M&Ms or Skittles. Carry more substantial snacks like fruit leather or trail mix to get your kids over the pre-lunch or late-afternoon hump.

  • Remember to have fun. The quickest way to create a bad taste in your kid’s mountain is by “helping” them improve their skills the entire time you’re on the mountain together. Let them pick the pace: Play tag through the trees, hit the jumps, stop for a hot chocolate and remember that playing in the snow with ski boots on counts as a ski day.

Melissa Fields writes about things to do and see for Salt Lake magazine, Utah Style & Design, Ski Utah Magazine and others. Check out her blog at