Take your toddler skiing this winter


It may only be September but I have snow on the brain. Soon the mountains will start to cool down and all that lovely precipitation we get in Seattle will be snow out in the Cascades. Before you know it the resorts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Colorado will be welcoming winter loving families, many of whom will be bringing along a few first time skiers.

In my family we believe that the sooner you start something new the better. My boys started swim classes before they could walk. They’ve both been kicking around a soccer ball ever since they could crawl. Last spring my 4-year-old son Dek got on skis for the first time. It was a proud moment for this mama, especially since I have no idea how to ski. I’m a snowboarder, but toddlers can start skiing before they can snowboard.

Since I am not a skier I couldn’t teach my son on my own. I needed a little help. The problem was I didn’t know where to start. My first step was to get him set up in ski school. I learned a lot during those first few days of lessons. I’m sure I will learn a whole lot more in the coming season as we jump back in to the snow.

ski gear

Grab your gear

After you get your child enrolled in ski school you need to get them dressed to take on old man winter. You don’t want your child so overloaded with heavy winter clothes that they can’t move, but you also don’t want to risk frostbite.

  • Warm, thin layers
  • Socks
  • Warm winter jacket
  • Flexible snow pants
  • Gloves
  • Hat and/or helmet
  • Snow goggles

Rent or Buy

If you have a first time skier I would recommend you rent. You never know what your child will latch onto and like. Better to give skiing a test run to see if you have a diehard skier or not. Look for package deals that include ski school and rentals whenever possible. Always make sure a helmet is included with your rentals. If not, purchase; this is an essential investment.

If you choose to buy make sure you go to the experts so your child is fitted correctly with boots and skis. The size of the ski really will make a difference. While you’re shopping don’t forget to grab a helmet and goggles if you don’t have them already.

ski school

Ski school

I am a big fan of ski school for kids. Anytime children are around their peers there is this lovely thing called peer pressure that happens. This is not something we parents like when our kids are in junior high, but when they are four it is a nice incentive to try something new. My son had more fun hanging out with other kids before his ski lesson than he would have had with me. He had a knowledgeable instructor who was just as excited (if not more) than he was. She was patient, pushed him a little when he needed it, and made him eager to tackle this new sport. The hardest part for me was leaving the bunny hill so he would pay attention to his instructor. All I wanted to do was take pictures of him and have my proud mama moment, but I was more of a distraction than a help.

Starting ski school

  • Sign your child up
  • Fill out all necessary paperwork
  • Make sure the school has your cell number in case of emergency
  • Meet the instructor if possible
  • Let the instructor do their job. Don’t coach from the sidelines. In fact, go off and do some skiing or snowboarding of your own.
  • After your child’s lesson get a report from the instructor. Often your child will only tell you the last thing that they did. Instead of hearing that they learned how to make “pizza” and “French fries” with their skis, they will tell you about the epic snowball fight they had on the way back to the school.

Have a good time!

Remember that this should be fun for your child. Yes, they can be pushed a little out of their comfort zone, but if they are truly miserable take a break or try again next year. Your child may not be ready or it may not be the right snow sport for them. Either way, make the most of your time in the snow together and have as much fun as possible.


4 thoughts on “Take your toddler skiing this winter”

  1. I think it’s fabulous to get kids skiing while they’re still young and fearless. I wish my parents had taken me skiing when I was a toddler!

  2. Agree, wish I had learned as a toddler instead of an adult! My husband can not wait to get our son on a tiny pair of skis. We took him to Niseko last year at 18 months, but he was too young for ski school — we stuck to snowtubing down the bunny slope and making snowmen instead. (Also fun!)

  3. We just picked up the children’s skis today. They can’t wait to hit the slopes in just a few weeks!

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