Whatever happened to …

… one piece snowsuits?

From the Padlet suggestion wall comes this from Anonymous

One piece snowsuits. You had to lay them on the ground and sort of crawl or contort your way into them like an Olympic gymnast. Then it was like trying to walk on the moon once you got outside in them. One of my favourite scenes from a Christmas story is the kid in the snowsuit crying: I can’t move my arms..  so true.

Conspiracy theory … it’s a lobby from kindergarten teachers who have to help put them on and off at recess and school start/ends.

Personally, I don’t have a timeline to refer to on this. Memories aren’t that accurate. I do remember a time when my parents had purchased one for me (and the older one got passed down to my brother) and I wore it to school. The only negative thing I can recall is that the cool kids had shed theirs at some point and were wearing just coats instead. It did make me feel left out.

Of course, eventually, I got to wear a coat instead of that silly snowsuit. I do remember that snowball fights and bodysledding at recess were a great deal colder and wetter.

But that lasted until high school and the year my parents bought a snowmobile. Whipping through Hullett Township in Huron County in the winter can be brutal so everyone had a one piece snowsuit again. On the occasion that we were allowed to take the snowmobile to school, we didn’t wear the snowsuit and it really made a difference.

On those really cold nights when the driveway needed to be cleaned with the snowblower, my dad would put on this suit to stay warm. We weren’t allowed to use the snowblower but there always was a shovel.

For those times we went cross-country skiing, it was back to a winter coat and long underwear. They did OK, I guess, but were certainly not in the same warmth class as a one piece.

One piecers did have one significant drawback though. When nature calls, it’s a whole routine to undress enough to take care of business. I can’t imagine helping an entire class of kids through the process.

For a Sunday, do you have any stories to share?

  • Do you remember wearing a one-piece snowsuit?
  • At what age does a fashion statement kick in and the snowsuit get dropped for just a regular coat?
  • It’s now possible to get a two-piece snowsuit that work like a pair of coveralls with a coat over top. What could go wrong?
  • If you are or were a snowmobiler, what was your attire?
  • How about for cross-country skiers?
  • Regular skiers?

Please share you thoughts in the comment below and feel free to add additional thoughts to the Padlet if you have a topic that we can have fun with on a future Sunday morning?

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8 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. I think kindergarten educators need to weigh in on this one! We actually have two students in our class with a one piece snowsuit. It’s nice that it’s altogether, but getting the arm part on and off is strangely harder than putting on a coat. After lots of practice, our kids in both one piece and two piece snowsuits are actually totally independent minus a few zippers. Many are incredibly fast too! We’ve also talked about how much of the snowsuit needs to be removed when nature calls. It’s funny how this becomes part of our discussion. 🙂 I will say that there are some snowpants that exist without the straps (for adults and kids), and those might be my favourite option. They are super easy for kids to do independently.

    As someone who’s taught K-6, my experience has been that by Grades 3 (or more commonly, 4), snowpants go by the wayside. That said, this is also when kids find it less fun playing outside in the cold and snow. I wonder if snowpants would help with this. Then they seem to become popular again for educators, many of whom had them on the picket line. Just sayin’! 🙂 For kindergarten educators, nothing about snowsuits is a blast from the past. 🙂 It’s my everyday reality … and I’m slowly becoming better with it, although I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures on the way. With us outside for so long each day though, snowpant weather begins earlier and ends later. Maybe that helps kids get better at it. I would like to think so!



  2. Ugh. Snow pants! I’ve been thankful for their warmth, but they are annoying. Even in the coldest days it’s a fight to get kids to wear them. The one piece suits become problematic as the weather warms and kids think it’s too hot to wear a coat (meaning anything warmer than -2!) They still need the snow pants to keep themselves dry & with a one piece it’s all or nothing.


  3. I am “anonymous” on that particular padlet entry. Didn’t realize I wasn’t signed in when I posted! I prefer the two piece now. Sooner or later a zipper breaks or a knee blows out and then you only have to replace half the suit. Also the two piece allows for more movement. Much more comfortable to wear on the snowmobile or picket line! But we had lots of those one piecers over the years as kids. We were barely outside before we had to pee and then come inside and start the whole process over again. Must have drove Mom nuts!


  4. I don’t think I had one as a kid until our family owned snow machines, as we called them (snowmobiles). My siblings and I all got them for Christmas one year. I still remember the colours we each got. Mine was dark green. I can’t say I was particularly fond of it, but it was great for some outdoor activities in the colder temperatures (sledding!). As for skiing (and skating) — always a 2 piece or the proper layers.

    It was tough to get my kids to wear snow pants to school past Gr. 6, but they still used them on the weekends 🙂


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  6. One pieces! The best thing ever if you’re a parent of very littles. They come now with two diagonal zippers down to the waist – I saw a small wearing one yesterday, and I got a little choked up, thinking about my bigs. Both said bigs will wear snowpants under duress – for example, when snowshoeing into the sugar bush, or while downhill skiing, but not ever to school. To my surprise this year, I have a whole crew of Grade 7 girls, who will happily zip their bib overall snowpants on under their coats if we’re going outside for DPA, and they want to play in the snow. I, of course, also have some Grade 7’s who wear hoodies and sneakers outside into the snow. It has always been thus!
    I am a wearer of snowpants. I have a super heavy pair (outside not super-active on super cold days, or picket line walking), a mid-weight pair (adventures like yesterday’s snowshoe trek pulling a sled of supplies), and then just a pair of windproof ones that go on over leggings for cross-country skiing. I do have a full zip set of longjohns, but as you noted, they are a pain to unlayer, particularly when using a very cold outhouse!

    Thanks for getting me thinking about life with littles! I miss those fabulous MEC one-piece snowsuits – my kids had rainsuits, too!


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  8. I have fond memories of my snowmobile suit from grade 5, as the coverage and protection it provided was perfect for diving in the snow to make big saves during snow soccer. I probably was wearing that snowsuit during my most memorable snow day ever – the one that took place due to a huge snowstorm that occurred AFTER we had all been out on the thawing school lawn with baseball gloves – – – we awoke the next morning to bus cancellations and the very best snow drift tunnel/snow house ever.

    My other fond memory is from the childhood of my boys, and relates not to the one piece snowsuit, but rather winter coats and the preschool flip. The day I saw my son and his classmates simultaneously and independently putting on their coats using the preschool flip was the day I truly came to value the genius and ingenuity of pre-school/kindergarten teachers everywhere.


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