No parent needs to be reminded that youngsters must be warmly bundled against cold, wind, and snow. On the other hand, kids donít have to be so swaddled in piles of winter clothing that they canít even waddle, much less ski or frolic, in the out-of-doors.

So the proper way to dress a child for skiing is to recognize both factors. Dress her just enough to keep her comfortable. Overdressing is as awkward a mistake as is taking her to ski school inadequately clothed for a whole day on the slopes.

The principle of layering holds true for the youngster as well as for Mom and Dad. A well-layered young skier dons long johns, then a turtle - neck to protect the neck, a sweater to go over the turtleneck, and finally a top-quality ski outfit, either pants and coat or a single-piece. Add a neck gaiter that can be pulled up to a sniffling nose on zero days, a warm cap with earflaps, mittens, and socks. Layers can be added or subtracted as the weather and comfort dictate.

Now, letís look at some specifics:

Long johns: The new polypropylene fabrics are as effective in keeping children warm and dry as adults.

Mittens: Never gloves. Buy only water-resistant models, such as those with an outer layer of Gore-Tex, which lets moisture escape but keeps out the wet. Donít stint on quality. Little hands deserve the best. Of course, tie the mittens onto the sleeves so they wonít disappear in the cloakroom.

Socks: Only, but only, thick socks made especially for skiers. The fabric may range from sturdy wool to man-made fibers.

Cap: Up to 50 percent of all body heat is lost through the head alone. Cover it up. A warm hat with earflaps becomes increasingly important as temperatures drop. Avoid cutesy caps with long tops that project 2 to 4 feet. The tops can easily get tangled on a lift. In fact, some lift operators require skiers to remove long, flapping caps before boarding.

Ski goggles: These are essential. Accept nothing less than goggles that protect against UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays.

Sunscreen lotion: Use one with an SPF of at least 15 at lower-eleva - tion ski resorts; at least 25 when youíre skiing more than 7,000 feet above sea level.

Headband: Girls love to wear these. It holds the hair in place. Not for cold weather.

Ski outfit: The outer fabric must be reasonably water resistant, and the garment should be stuffed with only a top-rated man-made fabric or down with a fill rating of no less than 550. Do not waste money on a ďdown and featherĒ filling or a down that doesnít specify the fill rating.

For the preschooler, the most suitable outfit is a one-piece garment; this provides the greatest protection during the vigorous outdoor pleasure of learning to ski and frolic in the snow simultaneously. Older kids may go for either a one - or a two-piece outfit. In a two-piece, pants with a bib provide far more comfort than regular pants.

A garment that uses a zipper closure, with a flap to cover the zipper, is warmer than one with buttons.

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