8 Tips for Skiing with Toddlers

Will and I went back and forth about whether or not we should wait until the kids were older before we took them skiing for the first time. Will thought that skiing with a toddler and a preschooler (who was just recently diagnosed with Autism) was going to be, in his words, a shit-show. UnderstandI was a bit more optimistic, as usual, so we decided to take the plunge in February, right after Emily’s 3rd birthday. We spent half of the trip in Winter Park and the other half at Copper Mountain in Colorado. And to our surprise, the kids loved it! Was this my most favorite ski trip ever? No. But it did exceed my expectations……which were very, very low. So, if you are considering taking on the challenge of skiing with toddlers, here’s some tips and takeaways that will hopefully make your family ski-trip happy, dry, and fuss-free-ish.

1. Bring the Right Gear

Nothing will end your day of skiing with a toddler faster than cold fingers and frost-bit toes. I found everything I needed on Amazon: these are affiliate links. Thank you so much for supporting this blog!

Snow Bibs, thermal underwear, wool socks, ski goggles, ski gloves, waterproof ski coats, & waterproof boots.

You might also look into a harness & rope/leash that helps them ski out in front of you safely. We didn’t use this but I wished we had. Be sure to try everything on before your trip to make sure it fits. I also highly recommend bringing more than one pair of gloves per person, as you most likely will lose one off the side of a ski lift. We rented our skis and helmets through Snow Mountain Sports near Granby Ranch. But there is also a service called Black Tie Skis that lets you skip the line and they come to you to fit your ski rentals in the comfort of your own room. I also wish we had done that instead.

You might also like: Things to do in Keystone Colorado, Other than Ski

2. Prep Your Toddler before the Ski-Trip

Being from Arkansas, Emily (3) and Jimmie (4) are not used to seeing a lot of snow. So to give them an idea of what to expect up on the mountain, we showed them lots of YouTube videos of young kids skiing before our trip. They also really loved the Peppa Pig Episode where the whole family goes skiing. We talked about what we were going to see and do all while vacationing on the “snowy mountain.”

3. Ski School – Start with a lesson

I highly recommend having someone else teach your child to ski. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and grief and I guarantee they will learn much quicker from a professional ski instructor. Be sure to check the age requirements beforehand, but some Ski Schools will take kids as young as 2.5 years old. We took the kids to Ski Granby which is 30 minutes north of Winter Park, Colorado. The kids took a half day lesson in the morning, while Will and I were able to go enjoy some runs on our own.


4. Don’t Ski on Arrival Day.

In fact, if you can, wait a full 24 hours from the time you arrive to the time you hit the slopes so your toddler can adjust to the cold weather, high altitude, and potential time change. When it comes to skiing with toddlers, it’s best that they are well rested the day they hit the slopes for the first time.

5. Scout out a ski lift and lodge for home base

Have you skied this mountain before? If it’s your first time to ski any particular mountain (especially a big mountain with lots of runs), look for a good home base. Ask one of the Ski Patrol workers for some tips on which lifts will take you to mostly green slopes (good for toddlers) and whether or not there is a lodge at the bottom with hot chocolate and indoor seating. During this pandemic, many lodges are still closed for indoor seating, so check ahead.

When it comes to skiing with toddlers, it’s crucial to be able to take lots of breaks indoors and warm up with hot chocolate!

(or wine for mommy)

6. Ski-In Ski-Out when Skiing with Toddlers

I’m aware that ski-in, ski-out resorts or lodging come with a higher price tag. But if you can swing it, it will be very helpful when skiing with toddlers. And you’ll actually even save some money by popping back into your room for a quick snack or drink mid-day, versus the over-priced lunches and beers offered at the resort lodges. Your toddlers will also appreciate a mid-day nap in a proper bed, as opposed to the floor in the lodge.

7. Keep a Positive Attitude – For your Toddler’s Sake

Your attitude will play a major role, if not be THE deciding factor, on your kid’s attitude about skiing. If you are complaining about the cold and the layers and the struggle to lug all the gear around, your kids will be complaining too. Go in with LOW expectations. Soak in the beautiful views on top of the mountain. Watch the joy in your 4-year-old’s eyes when he’s skiing on his own for the first time. Smile and talk to them about how fun skiing is.

Skiing with toddlers

8. Try again

I think a common mistake that many parents when the fussing starts, which it inevitably will, take breaks to rest their little legs and drink hot chocolate.

Have you been skiing with toddlers or preschoolers before? What did I miss?

Happy and Safe Travels,