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Parents give tips on feeding kids on the slopes

Published: Tuesday, March 13 2012 5:23 p.m. MDT

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When you love skiing and snowboarding, you want your children to love it, too.

Amy and Joey Stoeger had their sons, Alec, 7, and Gunnar, 4, on the slopes by the time each boy was 2.

Amy and Nate Jensen regularly take gentler ski hills with daughter Molly, 2, in a ski backpack and daughter Lucy, 5, harnessed into a double-strap leash to keep her from skiing away. Their other children, 13-year-old Morgan and 11-year-old John, are already accomplished skiers.

And though Rosie and Stephen Boren's son, Frank, won't be hitting the slopes for a while — he's only 6 months old — he goes with his parents on most of their ski days, getting passed around on a rotation system to various friends and relatives who stay with him in the lodge while the rest of the group hits the mountain.

Keeping kids nourished makes a big difference in their ability to enjoy a day skiing or snowboarding, said Rosie Boren, who holds a degree in exercise science.

Stay hydrated

"One of the most important things is, always stay hydrated," she said. "People don't think about that on the snow, but you sweat a lot so you need to drink a lot."

The Borens typically take a gallon of water onto the slopes with them, find an out-of-the-way spot for it, dig a hole in the snow and stow the jug there, ensuring it will be cold and refreshing when they need it.

"We just come and get a drink whenever we ride by," Rosie Boren said.

For water, Amy Jensen makes sure she always has some on her person.

"I have a CamelBak (a large water pouch with a long straw housed in a backpack) that I can carry all day," she said. "The kids just find me. They usually need a bathroom break at some point, and we make them drink then."

A hearty breakfast

Jensen starts her kids' ski days with a lot of nourishment.

"We usually have a huge breakfast, with hash browns and biscuits and gravy and bacon — a big, hearty, heavy breakfast," she said. "That really helps hold the kids over for a good long time."

Pack a snack

One thing Amy Jensen likes about skiing at Solitude is that the resort's parking is literally right next to the runs, so she can stow snacks and drinks in her car.

"You can just ski over and get a snack," she said.

She also stashes a candy bar in each child's pocket: "That goes a long way, because they always complain about being hungry at about 11 a.m."

Rosie Boren recommends having kids pack a granola bar in their ski pants.

"You need something fast, nothing too heavy or sugary," Rosie Boren said.

Amy Stoeger keeps small snacks in her own pockets for her boys.

"I always have M&Ms or gummies in my pocket," she said. "When they were little, I'd give them little treats on the lifts, especially if they did something good or learned something new.

"Now that they're older, and we're skiing on the big mountain, I bring lunch in a backpack."

That lunch is typically a quick, nutritious one like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, granola bars, juice boxes and pretzels.