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Tips for Skiing with Kids: Apparel and Ski Boots

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Anyone with small children can appreciate how long it can take a six year old to put on a coat, shoes, and backpack and head out the door for school. This experience can make the prospect of skiing with kids daunting. I have two little boys who live to ski, so we’ve had plenty of opportunities to streamline the process. These are among my very best tips for skiing with kids, so check them out. You’ll be on your way to the slopes in half the time, and everyone will be comfortable!

Tips for Skiing with Kids: How to Handle Kids' Apparel and Boots

Nothing but smiles after a day of skiing at Whistler Ski Resort.

Kids’ Ski Apparel

  • Do not put on anything except long johns until you are ready to walk out the door. Not even socks, because there is a good chance they will get wet, and there is no surer way to cold feet inside a ski boot.
  • Children get cold more quickly than adults. They are also more likely to get wet because they roll around in the snow. I recommend the following for a typical winter day: thermal shirt and pants, ski sweater or fleece, sweat pants, ski socks, ski suit, ski mittens, goggles, and a gaiter. Gaiters are wide fleece tubes that go around the neck and can be pulled up over the mouth and nose. Goggles and gaiters are a must.
  • I highly recommend one piece suits. They are warmer and keep the snow out better than a coat/pants combination. Obermeyer and Spyder make great products, with “grow with me” or “i-grow” sleeves and legs that extend by ripping out the temporary seams. When the child takes off the top, just tie the sleeves around the waist.
  • Opt for mittens, not gloves. Get elastic clips (see amazon.com) that attach the mittens to the sleeves; or, if the mittens have long ties and the sleeves have loops, tie the mittens to the sleeves.
  • If your child wears glasses, do not buy goggles for his or her age. Buy one size larger, and they should fit over the glasses.
  • Better to rely on quality ski mittens and warm layers of clothing than on hand or foot warmers. They are distracting and bunch up in mittens and boots.

How to Put on Kids’ Ski Boots

  • NOTHING GOES IN THE BOOT EXCEPT THE  FOOT AND THE SOCK. This is perhaps one of the most important tips for skiing with kids. Anything else in the boot can cause pinching or loss of circulation.
  • Buy the right socks: ski socks for skiers and board socks for boarders. Too thin or thick, and the boot will not fit correctly.
  • 5 steps to putting on a boot properly:
    1. Pull sock up high and tight around the calf. Don’t let it get wet!
    2. Have the child stand up into the boot and push foot inside while you pull out the tongue.
    3. Buckle the boot on a loose setting. No need to tighten it until the skis are on.
    4. Pull long johns and sweat pants over the top of the sock so they meet the top of the boot.
    5. Pull the ski pant elastic band over the top of the boot to keep out snow. Leave buckles and Velcro straps outside the pant so they can be tightened later.

It takes a little time to get used to the sport of skiing and its unique clothing and boots. But it’s way easier than scuba diving or moon walking, and just as fun–if not more so. The best way to acclimate your child is to ski early and often. Soon it will be second nature!

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