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Downhill Skiing

Tips and Guidelines for Downhill Skiing With Kids


Selecting a Ski Location

Downhill Skiing

Renting Vs. Buying Skis

Ski Equipment Skier Responsibility Code Snow Tubing Tips ●Snowboarding
Cross Country Skiing Ski Maintenance    



If you have never had the opportunity to down hill ski you are missing a chance of a lifetime.  My family has been fortunate enough to ski for many years.  We have been to Snowmass, Steamboat, Aspen, Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado; Squaw Valley and Heavenly Valley in Lake Tahoe; Deer Valley, Snowbird and Park City in Utah.  Skiing is a wonderful opportunity and it is something everyone can do with proper instruction.

The best time to learn to ski is at a young age.  Starting your child young opens a world of fun and adventure that they will enjoy forever.

Ski resorts have developed a focus on services for families and children to keep up with the changing demographics of their customers.  They offer ski classes for children of all ages and skill levels.  Teaching children to ski usually involves games aimed at making the children enjoy their experience and feel at ease on their skis. Children’s techniques normally begin with the snowplough and progress to parallel turns.  Most ski resorts offer half-day and full-day skiing programs for children ages 4-12, which usually include instruction, lift tickets, rental equipment, food and supervision.


Skiing is a very expensive sport. You have to take into consideration in most situations you will need some or all of the following: accommodations, travel, ski lift tickets, meals and equipment.  Equipment can be either rented or purchased.  The difficulty with purchasing equipment for children is that they are constantly growing.   Don’t be tempted to buy equipment too big for them to grow into because it will make skiing difficult and it could result in injury.  Many ski shops will rent equipment for the entire season.  See Renting vs Buying Skis for further details.

To help reduce cost you can avoid vacationing during peak season or book a ski package at the last minute to get a good deal.  You can travel with friends to share the cost of renting a condo or stay on the outskirts of the resort.  Further information is available in Selecting a Ski Location.

Depending where you are skiing the slopes are open anywhere from November to April.



Be sure that everyone is dressed properly for the weather.  Layers are best so that they can be removed if temperatures change.  A cold skier is an unhappy skier.   

The proper attire for a skier is as follows:

  • Insulated ski pants.  These come in two styles bib overalls and just pants.  The overalls are best for children so that you don’t have any trouble with them falling down. Approx. cost $100.

  • Insulated ski jacket Approx. cost $100 -$150.

  • Turtleneck or neck cuff Approx. cost $10.

  • Water-resistant ski gloves or mittens. Approx. cost $15 - $20.

  • Wool hat or headband – no scarves. Approx. cost $25.

  • Wool ski sweater Approx. cost $50.

  • Wool ski socks – remember they must come above the ski boot for comfort. Approx. cost $12.

  • Insulated underwear Approx. cost $30

  • Ski goggles and a bandana are necessary on snowy days.  The bandana can be pulled up to cover the chin area for warmth.  Approx. cost $20 - $80

  • Helmet- It is advisable for all children to wear a helmet.  Approx. cost $55.

  • 100% UVA  protected sunglasses with a neck holder.  Approx. cost $50.

A downhill skier will also need skis, boots and poles.  Poles are not recommended for children under 6 years old.  For further information see Ski Equipment.

The cost for ski equipment (skis, poles, bindings and boots) will vary based on skill level and whether you purchase new or used equipment.  Listed below are some general dollar amounts just to give you an idea of cost.  You would need to visit a well known ski shop and talk to a experienced salesperson to get specific cost figures. 

All Used Equipment $ 75 - $150
Half Used/ Half New $ 170 - $ 190
All New Equipment $ 160 - $400

Ski Tips For a Fun Trip:

Carry some high energy snacks in your pocket.  Dried fruit, peanuts, granola or energy bars are good snacks.   Skiing takes a lot of energy and mid day you may need an energy boost.

Try to avoid crowds if possible attempt to ski during the week when the slopes are less crowded.

Use plenty of sunblock. Winter sunlight reflecting off the snow at high altitudes is intense. Believe it or not you will get a sun tan.  Protect their eyes from the sun. Be sure everyone wears goggles, or sunglasses at all times that are 100% UVA protected.  You can burn your eyes!

Be sure your child has the name and phone number of your hotel, as well as your cell phone number, written down on a piece of paper and it's in a secure pocket.

You child should always know the name of their ski instructor.  Be sure older children always have have a trail map.

Select a meeting place so if you happen to get separated you know where to find your party. Consider taking long range walkie talkies on the slopes.

It is important that your child knows when to stop.  For instance if they are tired, cold, hurt or have equipment problems they should stop immediately and remedy the problem.

Get the ski equipment in advance so that your child can become familiar with it prior to actually having to use it.  Have them practice putting on the boots and walking in them (on a rug for safety), wearing the helmet, goggles, and carrying their skis.

Allow extra time for everything!  Getting dressed and driving or walking to the slope will take additional time.  Rushing can cause disagreements and unhappy parents or children and that is not a good way to start your day.

If you're traveling to Colorado, Utah, or some other resort at high altitude, give your family a little time to get used to the elevation.  We always fly in the day before, arrive midday, and stay at a hotel near the airport and then start out early the next day for the resort.  We found that this helped us adjust slowly to the altitude and worked out much better.  Also, the dry air at requires drinking extra water.