I was 3 years old when I first clicked my boots into bindings. I don’t know what possessed my parents to start skiing, but I’m happy they did. I have fond memories of the hill, skiing from first lift to last, with lifties kicking us off the chair. It’s how we spent our weekends in the winter. I’m not sure how much my parents enjoyed skiing with kids, but I loved it.
I was determined to give my kids the same experience. I was committed to sharing my passion with them. As soon as my kids could walk, I had them clunking around the house in ski boots. When the first snow fell, I had them on the back deck sliding around on their little skis.
When I finally got them to the hill, I would take them out one at a time on the bunny hill, 30 minutes at a time. It was hard, sweaty work, and honestly, I didn’t ski much for myself during those years, but it was well worth it.
Fast forward to today, and all 3 of my boys love to ski. One of the greatest moments was watching my two older boys help our youngest get on the lift to go for a run by themselves.
Below are my top 15 tips for skiing with kids based on years of teaching kids in ski school and teaching my own 3 boys.
15 Top Tips For Skiing With Kids
- Temper Your Expectations
- Rent or Buy
- Put Them in Ski Lessons
- Choose Family Friendly Ski Resorts
- Stay Organized
- Teach Your Kids to Carry Their Gear
- Edgie Wedgies Are a Life Saver
- Take Away Their Poles
- Save Their Legs for the Runs
- Dress For Success
- Consider Hand Warmers
- Goggles and a Helmet are a Must
- Bring Snacks
- Take Breaks
- Keep it Fun
1) Temper Your Expectations
Skiing with kids can be challenging, tiring, and frustrating. Before you decide to take your kids to the hill, it’s essential to manage your expectations. There will be tantrums, there will be tears, and there will be snow up your pants. Skiing with your kids isn’t about clocking vertical. Plan your day at their speed and don’t stress yourself out looking at your watch and thinking about lost time. It may be slower, but there will also be moments of pure joy when you watch your child sliding down the hill for the first time.
2) Rent or Buy
Ski equipment is expensive, even for kids. As they grow and improve, you will need to upgrade. It’s a significant cost. But buying all the gear is not worth it if you don’t ski regularly. Especially if you are starting and don’t know whether your kids will enjoy the sport. You can rent kids skis, kids ski boots, and poles at most ski hills. Many resorts also have skiing packages that include lift tickets and rentals. However, if you ski five or more times a season, it’s worth looking at another option.
You can buy skis, boots, and poles from sporting goods stores, online, or through a ski swap. Ask friends with older kids if they have any used gear around. Another option is season-long rentals. Many rental shops offer seasonal rentals for kids at a discounted price. It’s not as cost-effective as used skis, but it means you can easily upgrade kids skis and boots every ski season as your child grows.
3) Put Them in Ski Lessons
You may want to save a buck, but I recommend putting your kids in skiing lessons. Ski instructors are trained professionals. They have tons of experience teaching kids how to ski. They will make skiing fun and help your child to feel confident on the hill. Group lessons are cheaper than private ones, and your kids might make new ski friends.
4) Choose Family Friendly Ski Resorts
Some ski resorts are more family-friendly than others. When packing for your family ski trip, consider the size of the resort, the number of green and blue runs, the beginner terrain, childcare options, and ski schools. Look for a kid’s area with a magic carpet (conveyor lift) for beginners. If unsure, call the resort and ask how many lifts are suitable for young kids. A kid-friendly resort should have lifts lower to the ground to help younger skiers get on safely.
5) Stay Organized
Skiing with kids can be chaotic. There are lift lines, ski rentals, ski school drop-offs, and finding your way back to the lodge. The key is to stay organized and have a plan. Consider taking a ski backpack with your critical supplies. Something small that doesn’t interfere with getting on the lift.
Before leaving in the morning, ensure everyone has what they need before heading out for the day skiing – skis, poles, boots, gloves, helmets, and goggles. Whenever I pick up guests for a ski lesson, this is the first thing I check before leaving the accommodation.
When you come home, store all the gear in one spot. Hang everything to dry (gloves, snowsuit) and ensure boots are in a dry, warm area. Our house has a dedicated room where all our ski gear is stored. The kids know that as soon as they walk in the door, they have to put everything away in the right spot.
6) Teach Your Kids to Carry Their Gear
One of the challenging things about skiing with kids is the ski gear. It’s hard enough carrying your own ski gear without kids. If your kids are five or older, they should carry their gear. In our household, each person is responsible for their equipment. Before we leave the house, the kids check to be sure they have everything and carry it to the car. Responsibility for your gear is something I take time to teach to any kids in my lessons. Consider purchasing a ski bag to hold your gear, it will protect your skis and make them easier to transport to the hill.
7) Edgie Wedgies Are a Life Saver
An edgie wedgie is a bungee cord that attaches to the tips of a pair of skis and helps kids make a snowplow. When most young kids start skiing, they don’t have the motor control to make a snow plow. When you put an edgie wedgie on, they make a snow plow as soon as they push their feet apart. There is no better tool for teaching young kids how to ski. It’s an absolute life saver when skiing with kids. If you have a younger skier, consider getting an edgie wedgie. It will make all the difference.
8) Take Away Their Poles
To ski, you must learn how to move and control your skis on the snow; your poles are secondary. Ski poles become a crutch that prevents kids from learning how to walk, slide and skate using their skis. Poles also take your focus away from your skis. They are a distraction that gets in the way. When skiing with your kids take their poles away and force them to learn to use their skis to move. You will be amazed at how much it improves their skiing.
9) Save Their Legs for the Runs
As an instructor teaching kids at a ski school, one of the things I try to manage is how kids use spend their energy. I want to make sure that they are using their time and energy effectively on the hill. Skiing is tiring and with younger kids you have to decide how you want them to use it. Walking between lifts on the flats is not very productive. You want to save their energy for skiing as much as possible. Use your poles to pull them with your pole, or push them between your legs in front of you. The more time your kids spend skiing, the faster they will learn.
10) Dress For Success
Skiing is a winter sport, and you spend most of your day outside. Make sure your kids are dressed properly for skiing. Kids’ wear needs to be both waterproof and insulated. Including their gloves, wool mittens will not cut it! Consider a balaclava and face mask, and dress in layers so that you can shed a layer if you end up getting too hot.
Our kids wear long underwear and fleece under their ski suits. They also have good ski socks that keep their feet warm in their boots.
11) Consider Hand Warmers
Cold hands make for a miserable child on the hill. Suitable gloves help, but they aren’t always enough. I always carry spare hand warmers when teaching in case one of my students has cold hands.
Keep some hand warmers in your pockets, and if your kids start to complain, you can put them in their gloves.
If you find your hands get cold when skiing with your kids, heated ski gloves are a great way to keep your hands warm.
12) Goggles and a Helmet are a Must
Who would ever think that hundreds of thousands of people each year would decide that sliding down a hill on a pair of sticks was a good idea? Skiing is a high-speed sport. It can be dangerous. Your kids may travel down the mountain at the same speed a car goes down the road. Your kids wear a seat belt in the car; they need a helmet when skiing on the hill. Goggles protect their eyes from snow and wind. Choosing goggles a good pair of goggles that and keeping them from fogging up is just as important as a helmet. When traveling that fast, you need to be able to see.
13) Bring Snacks and Drinks
Skiing is a very active sport, and you burn lots of calories. It is essential to stay fueled and hydrated. Bring snacks and drinks for your kids. Skiing is more fun when you are not hungry or thirsty.
14) Take Breaks
Skiing is a lot of fun, but it can also be tiring. Younger kids especially will need to take breaks throughout the day. Skiing is more fun when you are not exhausted. Take some time to rest and enjoy the scenery. skiing is a great way to spend time with your family and friends, so make sure you take the
15) Have Fun
Skiing is supposed to be fun. If your kids are not having fun, then something is wrong. Skiing is a great way to spend time with your family and friends, so make sure you take the time to enjoy it. Skiing is a great workout and a way to relax and de-stress.
Can a 2-year-old ski?
Yes, a 2-year-old can ski. All 3 of my kids started at 18 months, and I have regularly taught 2-year-olds to ski within 2 – 3 lessons. The key with very young children is an edgie wedgie, mileage, and patience. Take this with a grain of salt. I had years of experience teaching kids before my own arrived. I knew before taking them to the hill I could make it enjoyable.
Don’t force your kids to ski too early. Skiing is about having fun. If your child isn’t ready, wait a year. Most kids who start young live in ski towns with parents who are expert skiers and have taught kids to ski before.
Is skiing hard for kids?
Yes and no. Is it tiring until the kids have enough stamina? Yes. Is it challenging once they understand the basics? No. With an edgie wedgie, patience, and a little know-how, most kids can learn to ski within a couple of hours. They won’t be racing in the Olympics, but they should be able to comfortably ski a green run.
Skiing with kids can be a lot of fun, but it also takes a lot of preparation. Follow these tips, and you can ski with your kids in no time. Skiing is a great way to spend time with your family and friends, so make sure you take the time to enjoy it.
See you and your kids on the hill!