You’ve booked your first ski holiday with the kids, but what are you going to pack for them? We’ve taken our kids on ski holidays since they were 18 months old (they are now 7 and 9) and have made all the packing mistakes along the way. So, learn from us and use our definitive list of what to pack for a ski holiday packing list with kids as your starting point.
Base layers – pack at least 3 full sets of long-sleeve top and bottom base layers – classic thermals, merino base layers or skins all work. They’re easy to hang out to air and reuse during the week. They also dry quickly if you need to do an emergency wash.
Mid layers – pack at least 3 long sleeve mid-layer tops such as thin fleeces. Ideally either your base layer and / or your mid-layer should have a high neck
Outer layers – the ski suit. A one-piece snow suit is great for younger kids. Older kids usually prefer the flexibility of having a separate jacket with easily accessible inside pockets for snacks. If your kid is old enough to be skiing we recommend a jacket with a removable hood as they’ll be wearing a helmet while skiing and the hood can get in the way.
Gloves – either mittens or gloves are fine, but make sure they are waterproof! Mittens do tend to keep the hands warmer and of course are much easier to put on little fingers. Older skiers may find them less practical than gloves. If you’re unsure which one will suit your child better take one of each – as our top tip is to take two pairs!
Quite often wet gloves get stuffed in with wet ski gear meaning it can be tricky to get them to fully dry out overnight, so we recommend packing two pairs.
Ski socks – at least 3 pairs of socks. For younger children, thick socks also marketed as welly socks will do the trick just fine.
Winter hat – to wear on non-skiing adventures in the snow
Snow boots – it really is worth taking a pair of snow boots rather than wellies. Kids love trudging and playing in the deep snow you often find in ski resorts, and wellies won’t help keep the snow away from their toes. Snow boots also often have a better grip than wellies which helps on snowy and icy surfaces.
Goggles – definitely buy goggles for them to wear while they are skiing. They provide great protection for the eyes, cover more of the face protecting it from the sun and cold, plus they are much more comfortable to wear with helmets than most sunglasses
Sunglasses – for those glorious blue-sky mountain days when you’re on top of the world. The kids will prefer wearing sunglasses while drinking their hot chocolate.
Hand warmers – we’ve not used hand warmers yet, but we have friends who wouldn’t go skiing without them and at least one of their kid uses them regularly. Worth investing in a couple if you’re nervous that cold fingers will stop play.
Neck warmers – lots of kids loving wearing a neck warmer (like the Star Wars fleece Buff our eldest wore last year).
Our kids will quite often not change out of their base layers at all, so all those extra outfits you’ve packed for afternoons and evenings will probably go unworn. We take one outfit for the outward-bound journey, another for the journey home and one or two extra tops and bottoms to cope with the inevitable accidents and to wear out to a restaurant on an evening. We’ve found most chalets and hotels are heated to sauna-like temperatures, so leave your cosiest, and bulkiest, winter knits at home and take lightweight jumpers and tops instead so layer up when you do head out into the cold.
Top Top: if you’re running low on space prioritise the waterproof outer layers, taking spares if you’re able. Putting damp outer layers on in the morning is much more unpleasant than putting on a mid-layer which is a little mucky from dinner the night before.
Whether your kids are having ski lessons, skiing with you, or playing in the snow, you’ll need to bring snacks. Being out in the snow makes everyone hungry! Shops in mountain resorts are usually very expensive so, unless you’re driving and plan to stock up on snacks in a supermarket on the way, we highly recommend packing your favourite healthy snacks and sweet treats at home. If you’re kids are having ski lessons they are usually given a snack break, so it’s a good idea to give them a tried and tested snack that fits in their jacket pocket.
CHILDCARE PACKING TIPS
If you’ve booked all-day childcare for your kids (where they’ll be playing outdoors, taken to ski lessons, playing indoors etc) bring a rucksack for all of their essentials which will usually include a daily snack, sun cream, water bottle and possibly a change of indoor clothes.
Pack a few small items to keep the kids busy during the inevitable downtime between finishing skiing and supper and bedtime. Some activity books, a few toys (for our boys a small box of lego has usually done the trick), some games to play together (Uno & Dobble are often popular and take up very little room), a pack of cards, pens and paper and of course books to read. If your child has access to a tablet load it up with some fresh content and ensure that their favourite games or programmes are downloaded and easily accessible.
PACK FOR ACTIVITIES
Our final top tip is to research non-skiing options in your ski resort, and then pack what you might need. Many hotels, chalets and resorts have swimming pools to use and some, especially in France, have strict guidelines on what to wear.