How to Pack for a Family Ski Trip


If you have decided to take your family on a ski trip- I’m so excited or you! Here are my tips on how to pack for a family ski trip. Starting your trip with the right gear and equipment will set everyone up for success for a safe and memorable ski vacation.

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Family Ski Trip

Last year I skied a run with all three of my kids. I realize this may not seem like a big accomplishment. However, If you are a parent who went to the effort to pack for a family ski trip, dressed a young child in the gear, got the boots and skis on the young child and then taught them how to ski you know this is no small feat! It was also 4 years in the making. It wasn’t pretty but my 9, 6, and 4 year olds all made it down a green run. We were together and in one piece – and we had fun! My husband does not ski so this has turned into my thing to do with them. It is a lot of work! Here’s to the hope that I bought myself years of sitting on lifts and talking about life with my future teens, college kids, and adult children.

Family Ski Trip

The Details of how to pack for a Family Ski Trip

There really is a lot to think about when you pack for a family ski trip! In this post, I will focus on the clothing and ski gear for kids. I recommend starting your shopping early. Allow plenty of time for ski gear to arrive and try it on. Ski gear should fit properly and be comfortable. Trouble shoot a tight waistband or itchy velcro at home so you don’t have to deal with it on the slopes. If your kids have any sensory issues or pickiness way clothing fits it’s a good idea to have them wear it about the house or even go play outside it their ski clothes for while. Ski clothing involves a lot of layers. It can be a lot for younger kids to manage (and use the restroom in)! Again, it is better to get used to wearing ski clothing when you are at home rather than at ski school drop off! If you are just starting out on your family ski journey and not sure what to buy here is the gear we have found helpful to pack for a family ski trip:

My youngest wearing the Ski Guard Harness

Ski Clothing:

  • Kids Ski Socks- you want these to be warm but not too bulky. I love REI and will link them a lot in this post (and others) I find the REI brand to be great quality (at least as good if not better than many more expensive brands) and reasonable priced. These socks are my top choice. Smartwool also make great kids ski socks.
  • Base Layers: I usually go with classic, time tested brands for ski gear but these ThermaJohn/ TheramJane long underwear from Amazon are amazing! They come in boys and girls styles. They are available in a lot of fun colors and are fleece lined. My kids have used these on multiple ski trips and wear them as long johns to football games when it’s cold. They have held up very well. If you are looking for something a little more breathable, the REI base layer top and bottom are great and can be handed down to brothers or sisters in neutral colors.
  • Midlayer: I love a light weight fleece for a mid layer and the Kids Heritage Snap Neck from Landsend is a quality option. Your kids will get tons of use out of it through the winter. It comes in sizes 2-20.
  • Bibs/ Pants: I would try to keep your child in Ski bibs for as long as possible. They are easier to keep up, warmer and generally easier to move in. The Obermeyer Snoverall cannot be beat. Now Obermeyer is making them in tween/ teen sizes too!
  • Kids Snowsuit. This would be worn on place of bibs and a jacket and is absolutely the warmest and easiest to manage for younger kids.
  • Ski Jackets: For Boys my pick is the Helly Hansen Summit Jacket and for girls the Obermeyer Girls Taylor Jacket There are several features in these jackets that make them ski trip friendly- They have an adjustable powder skirt to keep snow from getting up in their jackets if they fall, they also have a ski pass packet for easy scanning for lifts.
  • Neck Gaiter- We love the Blackstrap Balaclava/ Hood combo. It keeps their head warm under their helmet but is thin and doesn’t get too hot. They may not look too warm at first glance but they proved excellent coverage. I prefer this to a fleece neck gaiter as it won’t get that build up of snow. These come in a ton of fun prints and patterns.
  • Kids Ski goggles- Smith Ski goggles are great for kids
  • Mittens/ Gloves. – In addition to bibs, I would also keep kids in mittens as long as possible. Even if they have on gloves, the gloves are so cumbersome that they won’t have much dexterity anyway. A skirted mitten is best. Get these from Burton or these from Hestra. I love the Hestra Mittens (I also have them for myself) because in addition to being waterproof and warm they have an elastic strap to go around their forearm so it is almost impossible to loose a mitten). Between making snowballs and falling and picking yourself up waterproof mittens are highly recommended!
  • One pro tip to is to get a mitten that has a strap that will attach it to the jacket or around your arm or to use these mitten clips so no one looses a mitten
  • Helmet- the Smith Prospect Jr offers a lightweight design and enhanced MIPS security. I am not a helmet or ski safety expert so you should do research and speak with a professional about choosing the right helmet for your child. Helmets are required at most ski resorts and all ski lessons/ schools now.

Consider Rental Gear

If your family is going on a ski trip for the first time and you aren’t sure if you will become regular skiers a rental might be a good option. Ski gear can get very expensive! Especially for kids that may grow out of it after 1 season. Most people who don’t ski frequently rent skis and boots but there are now more and more clothing and other equipment rental options available. KitLender offers a great looking package of ski bibs, coat, mittens and goggles that are all very reputable brands. There are several other options online if you search “Kids ski gear rental” but KitLender is the only one I would recommend at this time because of the quality of the brands and items available.

2 Ski Aids we use

There are a lot of opinions about any device or gadget to help kids learn to ski. As a mom of 3 taking my kids skiing solo I needed all the help I can get! The two devices we have used are the Wedgease Ski tip connector and the Ski Guard Ski Harness for Kids. These two items allowed me to take my youngest skiing with the rest of our family a full season or two sooner that she could have without them.

The muscle control and knee/ foot rotation it takes to “make a pizza” can be a lot for young kids and an awkward motion/position if kid’s don’t ski frequently. The Wedgease Ski tip connector helps to keep their skis in a position where they have more success at controlling their speed and direction.

The Ski Guard Harness – there’s really no way to sugar coat this one. It’s a leash! This helps to keep younger kids close on a run and is great especially if you need to keep moving so the whole family can stay together.

The Process to Pack for a Family Ski Trip

I like pack for a family ski trip in 2 phases:

1. Everything we will need while actually skiing:

If you need to put it in the same bag for travel that is fine. However, when we arrive at house/ hotel/ condo where we stay I like to put the ski gear (ski socks, bibs, jacket, mittens neck gaiter etc) in one place. For travel it is easy to pack goggles, socks, balaclava all in the helmet. If your kids will be wearing their ski coat during the trip that can also save a lot of space in the luggage. Whenever we come in from skiing I make sure that boots, helmet, goggles and bibs stay right by the door or in a designated area for ski gear.

I also like to give each of my kids a zip lock bag (fancy I know) with their own lip balm, tissues, and cash. Especially if they are going to ski school it’s nice for them to have their own.

2. Other clothing and items you would need for any vacation:

You will of course need other clothes and items for your trip. This list will likely include

  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Warm clothing for travel and time doing things other than asking (We usually take a few pair of Jeans or warm leggings and long sleeves shirts/ sweaters/ sweat shirts.
  • Bathing suits and sandals/slides (for heated pools/ hot tubs)
  • Toiletries (don’t forget a moisturizing lotion like Aquaphor for dry lips, hands and skin)
  • A really good face sunscreen (UV exposure it high at higher altitudes)
  • Sunglasses
  • Airpods
  • water bottle
  • chargers for devices

I hope this helps with planning for/ packing for your next/ maybe your first ski trip! Please email [email protected] or comment below if you have any other specific questions! I’d love to help with anything about kids ski gear or packing for a family ski trip. If you love to go on family adventures please check out tips for packing for other family trips like a dude ranch here.

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