The first year of ski school with the boys was full of trial and error in regards to what gear was going to keep them warm and dry. Now that we've got at least 5 years of ski school under our belt I wanted to share our top picks for a successful day on the slopes! All links have been updated as of 01/31/23
1. I'm going to start with base layers, this is the foundation of every ski outfit. I'm a huge fan of merino wool, for it's quality, breathability, and warmth. Yes, it comes with a hefty price tag but it's well worth it. You're going to pass these down from kid to kid and the cheaper polyester versions are not going to last like you want them to. My fave is Helly Hansen, which are sold in sets (most are not), they wash well, are extremely warm and they offer different styles for different levels of warmth.
These are made from 100% Merino wool and have kept the boys super warm in the coldest of temps.
2. Ski pants and bibs, I highly recommend going the bib route if you have younger kids. The last thing you and they want is snow down their pants. Bibs are also the warmest and many have adjustable shoulder straps which grow along with your child so you can typically get a few years of use out of them before you have to buy a bigger pair. I'm a tried and true Patagonia girl, so the Patagonia Bib is hands down my favorite. The quality is impeccable and Patagonia will be there to fix it if anything goes wrong.
3. The jacket, this is going to depend on the climate you're headed to. We mostly ski in Colorado and Montana, both places can drop below zero in the winter months. The Patagonia Hi-Loft Down Jacket is what I dress my boys in on the super cold days, however I do not recommend this on heavy snow days.
Quick Tip: Stay away from the lighter color jackets, they get into all sorts of stuff at ski school that can stain that very expensive jacket you just purchased.
I have linked below the Hi-Loft jacket for both Toddlers and Boys, same jacket just different sizing.
If your headed to a place for warmer spring skiing or anywhere which major snowfall I highly recommend throwing your kid in a waterproof shell. The down puffer jackets above are water resistant but not waterproof. Spring skiing is wet, you need to keep them dry.
For boys sizing 5 and up I recommend the snow shot insulated jacket.
For Toddlers I recommend this waterproof Burton jacket, my 3 year old son wore it this year and it was great!
4. The helmet and googles, this is not a place to cheap out, its your kids safety. I also want to note helmets you can rent, so it's not something you need to purchase, but you definitely will need to bring along googles.
If you are in the market for a helmet here are my top picks based on safety and style, two very important things. Many brands offer the helmet and googles sold as a set and separetly so I have provided both those options below.
This helmet and google set is perfect for the kid you can't keep track of his googles.
This is one of Giro's best selling helmets for kids, and if your kid likes a little funk in his outfit this set is the way to go, plus it's so much easier to spot a bright colored helmet on the mountain for those of you who have kids who like to ski off.
Hands down one of the best kids helmets on the market from a brand who has mastered the art of ski helmet construction. Both my 8 and 6 year old ski in the helmet. Plus it just looks cool!
I usually stick with the same brand of googles when I buy a helmet as they are usually designed to be worn together.
5. Gloves, warm hands are everything. It's the only part of the body that my boys ever complain about being cold. I've tried quite a few brands and the best I have come across are these Burton ones. If you have little guys like me I recommend mittens only, for one they are warmer then finger gloves and two they are much easier to put on a toddler. Below are some great options for both toddlers and boys...
And for my older boys I am also a total Burton glove convert. They by far are the warmest and totally waterproof. I am also a fan of Heastras and as the boys get older they are leaning more to that brand. I've linked both below, you can't go wrong with either. I do love the Burtons for the front zip pocket for hand warmers.
And for the kids who constantly lose their gloves I high recommend glove clips, it keeps them safely strapped to their jacket the moment they take them off.
For the mini shredders who have slightly larger hands than my little guys the below gloves are great options for them.
Here are some more great glove options for kids...
These are made for big powder days, with a longer wrist guard and drawstring pull to keep snow out. Great for kids ages 3 and up
These are great for both winter and spring skiing. They tighten at the wrist and along the bottom to keep snow out and the gloves securely on. Made for ages 3 and up
6. Moving on to the feet, ski socks. This is easy because there is only one brand that we wear in our house and that's Smartwool. For kids it's pretty much a one style fits all.
7. Don't forget the neck! My kids usually prefer to go without this, but when it's freezing the neck gator is essential. Turtle fur has been making gators for years, I seriously think I have had the same one since high school. The fleece is the best for warmth and so soft on the face.
And if they are in to prints, this one has a fleece interior and a comfort shell performance fabric on the outside. we own and love this one in multiple colors.
Printed Neck Gator
And on the coldest of days the baclava is essential. It slides under their helmet and we even layer a neck warmer from above over it.
And just a friendly reminder, LABEL EVERYTHING, ski school is a place where ski gear goes to get lost. We are currently on our third pair of googles this year.
8. Last but not least, the snow boot that gets you to and from ski school, because we all know how unpleasant walking in ski boots can be. I swear by the Sorel Commander boot, I have tried so many boots that took forever to wiggle my kids feet into, but THESE my three year old can easily put on himself.
And for the older boys, I love these...
Snow Boot Sizes 8-13
Snow Boot Sizes 1-7