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How to Dress Your Child for Skiing

Dressing your child well for skiing can literally be the difference between them loving or hating it. Cold hands, feet or face, rubbing boots or an uncomfortable helmet can all ruin their day and that likely means it will ruin your day too! But when it comes to kids’ ski clothing, how many layers do they need?

We’re here to simplify things whilst ensuring your child is appropriately dressed for skiing.

Dress for Skiing Success – Kids Ski Clothing

Keeping kids warm and comfortable is the most important thing when it comes to skiing. We want to keep things simple and usually apply the same layering system with both kids and adults.

Just as our instructors do, we recommend children wear multiple thin layers that they can take off or add on throughout the day as the weather changes (as it so often does!) Your child will need:

  • A base layer
  • A mid layer
  • An outer layer

Alongside other important pieces of clothing like quality socks, warm gloves or mitts and goggles. Here are a few tips to get you started on your first ski trip.

Ways to keep their body warm and toasty

3 different layers to keep your child cozy and warm on the slopes and whilst playing in the snow. These three layers trap the heat, preventing any cold getting in and the waterproof outer layer prevent any moisture getting to their skin.

Thermal top (base layer)

In the morning, the first thing to put on when dressing your child for skiing is a thermal long-sleeved top. We suggest tucking in their thermal top into the leggings for extra warmth.

Use a tight-fitting top in a warm breathable fabric and even better if there’s a turtle neck for extra warmth. Anything made out of merino wool helps to keep kids warm.

The North Face does some great thermal tops for kids.

Long-sleeved fleece (mid layer)

Layer a fleece on top of the thermal base layer to keep the heat trapped close to the body so your child will feel warm for longer.

Preferably choose one with a full zip so that your child can easily unzip it if they are too hot, or take it off in a restaurant at lunch.

Ski jackets (outer layer)

To appropriately dress your child for skiing, they will need a waterproof and lined outer layer, aka an insulated jacket.

Check it has a pocket in the left arm to put the lift pass in (as the lift pass scanners are on the left-hand side) and pockets big enough to keep a cereal bar and hand warmers.

Ellis Brigham have a fantastic selection of ski jackets for kids.

Keep their legs warm

Thermal leggings

These should be tight-fitting and consisting of warm breathable fabric. But most importantly, the bottoms should be pulled up to the knees so that the socks meet the leggings and don’t overlap.

There should be no layering or bunching inside the ski boots to avoid rubbing on the shins. You can now buy leggings that are shorter and don’t go right down to the ankles so don’t need pulling and scrunching up.

Even better, you can now buy tights for kids which have ski socks built into them which means that you have no bunching, the socks can’t fall down or twist and the leggings can’t overlap.

Kids laughing on chairlift

Ski bib pants vs. normal salopettes?

Bib pants are ski salopettes that come up to their chests and higher up their back too. This is useful so that if they fall over, the snow doesn’t get into their thermals or go down their back.

Put their ski pants on over the top of their mid-layer fleece and avoid tucking any of the pants into the ski boot, they should go over the ski boot if possible.

Some ski pants have reinforced knees for kids which helps keep kids dry and warm and means they will last longer than thinner ski trousers.

We couldn’t decide between bib pants and normal ski pants in the office, so we’ve concluded it’s a personal preference over using bib pants or trousers.

Some of our team believe bib pants are better for children under six years old as it keeps their bodies warm. But they can be more difficult to get off in a rush to the toilet for younger children.

Others believe bib pants are better for older children as they can take them on and off themselves and usually have more time before they need the toilet. It all depends on your child’s development and bathroom routine.

ski instructor and child high fiving

How to layer for skiing

Keeping kids warm: What to put on their feet

Good quality ski socks

Your child should wear one pair of good quality ski socks. Don’t be tempted to double them up. They don’t need more than one pair of socks on at a time, as they will rub and cause irritation. The socks need to be long enough to come up to just below the knee so that they will clear the top of the ski boot to avoid rubbing.

Make sure they have clean ski socks each day especially on cold days. Even if they are dry and appear or smell clean, if they have sweated in them the day before then they hold this moisture and their feet will become colder much quicker.

Dry ski boots

The best way to ensure that ski boots are dry is to take the liner out of the boots and leave like that to dry overnight. Often the inside of the boot can feel dry enough but when you take out the liner you find condensation on it. Here’s how to take the liners out of your boots.

And for general use in and around the resort, make sure your children have a decent pair of snow boots to keep their feet dry when walking through town or playing in the snow.

What to buy for your first ski trip

How to protect their face from the elements

Balaclava

Perhaps the best piece of clothing that we have ever bought for kids who ski. Made of a thin light material and worn under a helmet. This not only makes the helmet comfortable to wear but keeps the neck, face and head warm.

Unlike neck warmers the part over their chin and cheeks doesn’t fall down, meaning that for cold days only the tip of their nose is showing. It also helps to keep long hair out of their face which means fewer tears at bath time! And if the day warms up, they can pull it down around their neck and use as a neck warmer.

PLANNING TIPS FOR THE ULTIMATE FAMILY SKI HOLIDAY

Helmet

Most ski hire shops will now rent helmets with the children’s equipment for a low price. If however, you are looking to buy a one, look for one that is adjustable at the back so that it may last longer as they grow.

With a clip at the back to hold the goggles in place which will make your child feel much more comfortable when getting ready for a day on the slopes.

A child in ski_lessons with the reflection of his ski instructor in his goggles

Best ski resorts for families

Goggles

Put goggles on your child, not sunglasses. They protect more of their face from cold weather or harsh sun, their eyes don’t run when they ski fast and they are less likely to fall off.

If you own a helmet for your child, take that to the shop when you purchase the goggles to make sure it fits well with the helmet.  Try to make sure it doesn’t create too much of a gap between the top of the goggles and the helmet as otherwise, they will get a cold forehead.

On a sunny day, they should have at least a category 3 lens to protect their eyes from the sun. You can now buy photochromic goggles that change colour depending on the light levels which avoids the need for different lenses – whether its a whiteout or a sunny day.

Typically yellow lenses are used on bad weather days and on brighter days we’d recommend wearing more reflective goggles.

At the end of the day take the goggles off the helmet and put them inside the helmet to avoid them getting scratched or lost.

If you’d prefer to rent instead of buying, take a look at EcoSki, a company that rents out ski equipment for your time on the mountain. They have plenty of mid layers, snowsuits, hats, jackets and more!

kid drinking hot chocolate

How to keep their hands toasty all-day

Gloves vs. mittens?

Gloves can be the most difficult item of clothing to keep on kids. There are so many badly designed gloves on the market, so it’s important to find the right pair that your kids will want to keep on.

It’s really important for kids to wear gloves on the slopes. If you want to learn more about skiing safely with kids then we have lots of tips and tricks to make your holiday run smoothly. An example of a great glove has the following:

  • Mittens (rather than gloves) are far warmer and easier to get on and off.
  • Choose a waterproof mitten that has a long part that comes up and over the wrist and arm and is most importantly is wide. There are many mittens on sale that are too narrow around the wrist which means they need to be worn under the coat sleeve in order to keep them on the hand. This is so impractical if your child takes their mitten off, as you then are struggling to get it back on under their sleeve.
  • Even better if it has an elastic loop to put around the wrist as your child, so they can take off their mittens and not drop them as they will still be attached to their arms.

Hand warmers are a lifesaver

Always keep some hand warmers in the pocket of your child’s coat, to save the day on a particularly cold ski trip. They can open these and put them inside their gloves and they last for up to 8 hours.  You can buy disposable and reusable hand warmers. If you’d like to read more about other ways to dress your child for skiing and another 8 ways to stay warm on the slopes, click here.

Whippersnappers having fun skiing

Tips for a successful family ski trip

Ready for ski school?

If you are prepared and raring to go, book your children into ski lessons with us. Leave the warm air of the hotel behind and layer up for a day on the slopes. Kids have so much fun in the snow and we love sharing the mountains with them. We’ve even got a new kid’s programme to help them progress into the safest, most capable skiers on the mountain.

We offer group ski lessons and private ski lessons, and depending on your child’s age, we also have ski lessons for teenagers. We can make sure you have the dream ski holiday you’ve always wanted by helping you make unforgettable memories on the slopes as a family.