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What to Pack for a Ski Trip: Tips from a Florida Mom

What to pack for ski trip

Planning a family ski vacation? After taking an 8-year hiatus we decided to pack up our Florida babies and head west for their first encounter with snow and a few days of skiing. Since we live in Florida and don’t own many winter clothes, I had to figure out what we needed to buy and rent for our kids to go skiing. Here is a skip trip packing list with helpful tips to help get your kiddos outfitted and save you from overpacking.

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What you really need to pack for a ski trip

Perhaps it’s more helpful to start with what you don’t need: several outfits per person. Honestly, for a week-long trip, two outfits is sufficient because you’ll find that the children lounge in their long underwear most of the time. An outfit to travel in and one for going out to dinner is plenty (really, this is the best advice a friend gave me).

Long Underwear

Long underwear is where it’s at. I bought two pairs of thermals for each child at Target and they were perfect for 20 degree weather. On the colder days I doubled them up. Amazon also has a great selection of long underwear for kids.

Hot Hands

Hot Hands for hands and toes will make sure the littles have some extra warmth throughout the day. They sell for around $2.50 each at the resort stores so I strongly suggest buying boxes in advance on Amazon ($.60/each) and checking them in your luggage.

Wool socks

I really like the Smartwool brand – thin but warm with fun colors and designs. If you have access to laundry during your stay then you really only need two pairs per child. (But don’t forget to pack laundry pods and dryer sheets.)

Balaclava Face Mask

A balaclava is a must – they are a convertible mask, hood, and neck gaiter in one. Balaclavas keep faces and necks warm and can be worn under a helmet. Plus, they serve as masks for those areas requiring them as a COVID precaution. Our favorite brand is BULA. You can buy them at most resort stores for $25-35 each but you can pick them up much cheaper at Costco or on Amazon with a little advance planning. I had one for each child but I’d recommend two to cut down on wash (and because my little guy chewed a hole in his after a couple days 🤷‍♀️)

TIP – Balaclava’s come in a variety of fabrics. Look for one with fleece / Polartec for the most warmth.

Mittens or gloves

I picked these up on Poshmark for $10/pair. The mittens keep the hands a bit warmer {all the fingers in one space} but one of my children preferred gloves {separate spot for each finger}. The main thing is ensuring they are waterproof and slipping a Hot Hand packet into each one at the start of the day. TIP – be sure all gloves or mittens are waterproof.

Ski Goggles

Smith makes some really cute adjustable ski goggles that are great quality. These are a must-have for the cold and windy days, especially if snow starts falling on the mountain.

In-between layer

This can be a zip up fleece or lighter over the head fleece, just something that can add warmth when needed and easily be shed.

Ski Pants and Ski Jackets

We opted for neutral color (black) adjustable ski bibs that could grow with the children and be handed down. For jackets, a friend gave us a Lands End jacket and I bought a Columbia on Poshmark. Both were great quality and waterproof. These are items I wouldn’t hesitate to borrow from a friend on account of cost and how quickly kids outgrow them.

Snow Boots

Snow boots are good for sledding and snowball making once the ski boots come off. They are a bit bulky so my kids didn’t travel in them but once we saw snow, the tennis shoes got packed away and substituted for something waterproof. If you’re going to play in the snow at all outside of skiing {of course you are!} you’ll need waterproof shoes.

What can be rented when you go skiing

Helmets

We debated purchasing helmets for the kiddos but ultimately decided to rent on account of the suitcase space they require. The rental shop offered black and bright green helmets. We went with the brighter color which made it easier to spot the kids on the slopes.

Boots and skis

If this is your first trip, or you’re going less than once a year, chances are it doesn’t make sense to own these items. A local rental shop will be able to fit your kiddos and adjust the boots to their growing feet.

Poles

Curious if kids need ski poles? My kids (5 and 7 yrs) had never skied before so adding ski poles to their ensembles was one more accessory they weren’t quite ready for. For the first several days they learn the basics – the pizza slice, how to parallel and getting on and off a lift without shutting the whole thing down. After 4 days of lessons my oldest “earned” her poles according to her instructor who warned us that the addition could cause a distraction and slight regression. That said, plenty of children were shredding down the mountain with poles but I was glad to have one less thing to drop off the lift.

Other observations from our skip trip with kids

Most lift tickets these days are plastic cards with built-in RFID. Hence, they can be kept in an exterior pocket (free of other items). Children will scan through the lift lines much like a grocery checkout.

A mid-morning hot cocoa break can be an excellent motivator. So can the peer pressure that comes from being in ski school with other children and an instructor who is not mom or dad.

After a full day of skiing it can be hard to rally the troops for a restaurant dinner. Hence, we cooked or did takeout most nights and allowed everyone to veg out, play some Uno and get to bed early.

Oh and one tip for mom, $20 fluffy slippers delivered priceless enjoyment when lounging around the house.

Happy travels!

Guest Author: Callie Neslund

Callie is a wife and working mom of two spirited youngsters, plus a mischievous golden retriever puppy. Having moved to Lakeland in 1997, she’s proud of how Lakeland has evolved and developed into the special place that it is today. She believes in the value of a good night’s sleep, a large stockpile of dry shampoo, authentic community, and eating cookies after the kids go to bed.

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