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If you’re ready to get your kids started skiing young I’m here to cheer you on!
When I was working as a ski instructor we would teach kids from the age of 18 months and older how to ski in private lessons, so I chose to start all of my five kids skiing from a really young age! In our last article, we covered all the ski gear that you need to ski with a one or a two-year-old, and here we are going to go over the best ski gear for three-year-olds and the best ski gear for four-year-olds.
Three and four year olds are so incredibly fun to ski with. Right now our youngest is 3 years old and is in his third year of skiing, and we have an absolute blast on the mountain (head here to decide the best age for kids to start skiing). He can pretty comfortably ski down most green trails and cheers and squeals the entire way down the mountain – I’m so obsessed with tiny little skiers!
If you’re in the same boat as we are and want to start your kids skiing young, I’m here to share with you the best ski gear that we have found for 3 and 4-year-old ski gear. The good news is that tiny ski gear is now easier to find than ever (trust me, it felt nearly impossible to find 12 years ago with my oldest), and if you live in an area near the mountains, you can probably find some good deals on used ski gear for kids. We usually buy used skis, but I swear by our favorite ski boots for kids, and would never buy used mittens (you just never know if they were taken care of).
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- Best ski training gear for three-year-olds and ski training gear for four-year-olds
- Best skis for three-year-olds and best skis for four-year-olds
- Best ski boots for 3 year olds and best ski boots for 4 year olds
- The best ski helmets for 3-year-olds and the best ski helmets for 4-year-olds
- Best ski coats and snow pants for three-year-olds and best ski coats for four-year-olds
- Best ski socks for preschoolers
- Best ski mittens for 3-year-olds and best ski mittens for 4-year-olds
- Best base layers for 3 year olds and best base layers for 4 year olds
- Best ski goggles for 3-year-olds and best ski goggles for 4-year-olds
- Planning On Skiing With Little Kids?
Best ski training gear for three-year-olds and ski training gear for four-year-olds
Before you hit the slopes with your preschooler, you MUST KNOW that teaching kids to ski is primarily a mental game, and it relies heavily on the parent. It’s your job to get your kids excited about skiing and to keep your cool when things get hard (and they will, but you can do this!!!)
Now before you head up to the mountain, save your sanity, and get our two must-have ski training tools for 3 and 4-year-olds. We also wrote about other ski training tools for kids in this article.
The first is an edgie wedgie. This little clip will hold your child’s skis together so that they can learn to make a wedge shape and stop on skis (read all about how to use an edgie wedgie here). Your child may need to use it for a season or two, or could only need it for a couple of days. Either way, it’s the easiest way to get your kids to stop on skis, so JUST BUY IT (it’s really cheap too).
The other tool that all parents should have is a ski harness with a handle on the back. These are priceless, however, most people don’t know how to use them correctly. Check out our article on how to use a ski harness the right way before you head up to the ski hill.
Read all about how to teach your own kids to ski and our 9 secrets for skiing with young kids and actually enjoying it.
We always have our kids wear a ski harness until they’re about 5 so that we can hold onto them on the chairlift AND because they literally save my back when I’m helping the kids get up after a fall on skis.
Best skis for three-year-olds and best skis for four-year-olds
When you’re choosing the best skis for a 3-year-old to begin skiing with or skis for a 4-year-old to continue to ski on, remember that there is a little bit of leeway when it comes to choosing the right size of skis for kids. While you want to get your child a pair of skis that fits them as well as possible if you have a small three-year-old learning to ski or two-year-old learning to ski it may be very difficult to find a pair of skis small enough for them.
When choosing a good size of skis for a preschooler you ideally would have their skis hit somewhere between their chest and their chin (read all about choosing the right size of skis for kids), While older kids can often ski in longer skis it’s difficult for preschoolers to manage a bigger ski so it’s best to stick with the ski that is shorter for them.
For most preschoolers, you’ll probably want a ski that’s between 70-90cm.
Check out this awesome deal on 80cm skis for preschoolers.
I’ll be honest and tell you that none of my kids have learned to ski on any skis shorter than 80 cm (and most of my kids started skiing around 18 months). Those are the sizes that we were able to find a good deal on when they were learning to ski and I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of skis for my kids (we have been really lucky to find great used skis for preschoolers where we live). Right now, an 80 cm ski fits my tallish three-year-old perfectly. 100 cm should fit a four-year-old great, especially if they have been skiing for a year already. Here are a few great ski options for preschool skis:
Worst skis for three-year-olds and worst skis for 4 year olds
If you do a quick search for the best beginner skis for kids online you’ll likely find a lot of plastic skis that don’t have metal edges and have plastic strap-on bindings. If you would like to have your kids play around with skiing in the backyard these skis are appropriate.
However, if you would like to take your kids skiing up at a ski resort you’re required to have a ski with a metal edge and with a click-in binding. Plastic skis with strap-on bindings are not permitted at ski resorts. If you would like to teach your kids to ski at a ski resort you will need to avoid these skis.
These skis make great toys though and are a blast as backyard play skis. They are great for teaching kids to glide around and move on skis, but ski resorts don’t allow these skis.
Best ski boots for 3 year olds and best ski boots for 4 year olds
I have to warn you, I am completely OBSESSED with these ski boots I am going to share with you.
These are the ski boots that I highly recommend to every parent who would like to ski with their kids. These are the Roces adjustable ski boots, and they come in a size that starts at size 16.0 mondo size (about a US kids 10). While the concept of an adjustable ski boot for kids may be new to many parents it’s actually one of the best pieces of ski gear that we’ve ever purchased.
We have one pair of adjustable ski boots by Roces that we have passed on through four of our kids already and they still look almost brand new. The best part of these adjustable ski boots is they perform just as well as all the other ski boots that we’ve used for kids, but for the price of one ski boot, you get a boot that is adjustable through six different sizes (that’s a better deal than buying super cheap used boots in each size).
This is one of the best values that you can buy in kids ski gear and the quality is outstanding. I recommend going with the Roses size 16 ski boot that will adjust up to a size 19.5 so that instead of spending your money on one pair of ski boots that will hopefully fit all season, you are buying ski boots that will last for years. Roces ski boots come in three different sizes and go all the way up to a size 25 mondo (about a mens size 7), though most preschoolers will fit into the smallest size.
If you do choose to get a one-size ski boot instead of the Roces adjustable ski boots, hop over to this article to see how to determine if your kids’ ski boots are fitting properly (note, the technique in this article DOES NOT work on adjustable ski boots).
The best ski helmets for 3-year-olds and the best ski helmets for 4-year-olds
Choosing the best ski helmet for a three-year-old or a properly fitting ski helmet for a four-year-old is incredibly important. Ski helmets for kids are one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy. Although kids’ head sizes vary drastically, most helmets now have a dial in the back to adjust them for a customized fit.
Read our full review of the best kids’ ski helmets.
Some three or four-year-olds will be able to fit into an extra small or small helmet, though my large headed three-year-old is wearing a small/medium size helmet.
To choose the proper fitting ski helmet for your child you can do a couple of things to make sure that their ski helmet is fitting properly. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that their kids’ ski helmet is not too high above their eyebrows. If a ski helmet is more than one and a half to two fingers above a kid’s eyebrows then the helmet is too small. The next thing that you can do to make sure that their ski helmet fits properly is to make sure that when they wiggle their head back and forth the helmet doesn’t come loose and that it stays tight on their head. If your child can shake her head from side to side and the helmet stays still instead of jiggling around then you’ve got a great fit.
You also want to make sure that you don’t have a big gap between the top of the kids’ ski goggles and the bottom of their helmets since that can make them really cold.
For young kids, we love Giro, Bolle, and Wildhorn helmets. I’d love the tell you that there is one that’s the absolute best, but I really don’t think there is. With helmets (just like shoes), it’s all about fit and everyone’s head is shaped just a little differently (we have yet to find one helmet that fits all of my kids well). I’m linking to a bunch of our favorites below, so I highly recommend getting a few and trying them all on.
When getting a kids’ ski helmet, make sure that it has an adjustable dial at the back so that you can get a customized fit.
While it might be tempting to skip a ski helmet for young kids I strongly urge you not to. As a mother whose two-year-old ran into a tree and hit their head pretty hard with their helmet on I can only imagine how much damage would have been done if he had not been wearing a helmet. Three and four-year-old skiers, often do not have the common sense or the skills needed to avoid obstacles and oftentimes other skiers on the hill may not be aware of them since they are so short, so their chances of getting into a collision are much greater than an adult’s. Put a helmet on them at the beginning so you don’t have to worry as much about injuries.
Note: Since helmet fit can vary so much by child, I’m listing many ski helmet options:
Best ski coats and snow pants for three-year-olds and best ski coats for four-year-olds
Finding a really great ski coat and snow pants for a preschooler can be a bit of a challenge. Most ski outerwear for preschoolers isn’t that great, and even though they spend a huge chunk of time rolling around in the snow, it often doesn’t have great waterproofing.
Each year I also do a giant review of all the best winter coats for kids that’s definitely worth the read.
My own kids spend the majority of their time wearing Boulder Gear brand ski coats and snow pants. The quality is really great, and my kids never get soaked through. Best of all, it lasts really long, so we pass the ski pants and ski coats through all our kids year after year. Head over here to find great deals on Boulder Gear coats and snow pants for kids.
If you want ski outerwear that’s really technical and super waterproof, you want to invest in Shred Dog Gear. This is the most waterproof kids outerwear we’ve ever found and the quality is incredible. It keeps our kids warm. While it’s not cheap, if you head over to our Shred Dog review, there’s a great discount code. It goes down to size 4, so if you want to buy the BEST ski outerwear for preschoolers, this is it.
Best ski socks for preschoolers
Unlike ski boots where you can often go a little bit bigger on the size you’ll want to make sure that you have a properly fitting ski sock for your three-year-old or four-year-old. Trust me no one wants their preschoolers’ ski socks bunching up and down in their boots and having to adjust them constantly throughout the day. While it’s taken a lot of trial and error on our part (and a lot of mediocre socks) we finally found a ski sock for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds that we absolutely love.
In fact, this is the same ski sock that all of our kids wear from about age 1 until age 12 (we love that they come in so many different sizes).
Read our full review of the best kids’ ski socks.
Our favorite kids’ ski socks are the Smartwool Wintersport Socks. They fit younger kids’ feet very well, are padded in all the right places, and insulate their feet great because they’re made of wool. The best part is that they never seem to slide down. Even my teen who is very picky about socks LOVES THESE. WAHOO!
Best ski mittens for 3-year-olds and best ski mittens for 4-year-olds
The thing that gets cold the fastest on preschoolers is their hands. Preschoolers have a frustrating tendency to take off their gloves at unexpected times, lick their fingers, and touch the snow. If you want to keep your 3 or 4-year-old hands dry and warm it’s important that first of all you buy a good waterproof glove, and second of all you buy a glove that stays on well.
Read our review of the best kids’ mittens and gloves for more details.
For kids who are age three or four, we only recommend mittens. Not only are they easier to get on and off than gloves, but they tend to stay much warmer (since there is less surface area to let the cold in. Our favorite mittens for three-year-olds are Stonz Mitts (we are obsessed with them from baby up to age 8).
These mittens are a little bit stiffer but are some of the warmest and most waterproof that we found. They also go far up on the arm so that snow doesn’t get in and are incredibly affordable. I used to be the mom who would buy “sale” mittens each year, but the waterproofing and insulation never lasted. We have one pair of Stonz mittens that is on it’s fourth season. That’s incredible for kids’ mittens. If you’re looking for other options, we did a giant test of kids’ mittens and gloves that you should check out!
Best base layers for 3 year olds and best base layers for 4 year olds
Base layers are often neglected when dressing preschoolers. Having a good base layer is one of the most important components to keeping your kids warm when you’re outside in cold temperatures. The general rule that I follow is that we avoid cotton next to the skin.
My favorite base layers are merino wool and fit really well. We wear them as both pajamas and base layers so we end up getting a lot of use for them throughout the year (the kids even wear them in the summer). My favorite preschool base layers are from Chasing Windmills and also Iksplor (hop over to this page on my other site for a discount code on Iksplor and a full review of all the best kids baselayers). . My son has super sensitive skin and doesn’t like many base layers, but he absolutely loves Iksplor.
If you would prefer something a little bit less expensive or something that’s made out of synthetic fiber we highly consider getting Rocky Thermals from Amazon. We love them and have found them to be the best budget base layer option!
Make sure you also read our article on Best Kids Mid Layers so you can learn to layer your kids for extra warmth!
Best ski goggles for 3-year-olds and best ski goggles for 4-year-olds
Ski goggles are one of the easiest pieces of equipment to fit for preschoolers. Since ski goggles are a less fitted piece of equipment, it’s really easy to find a pair that fits your preschooler. In fact the thing that you need to be the most concerned about is that your toddler ski goggles fit well with your toddler ski helmet.
Read our full review of the best kids’ ski goggles.
Below I’ve listed a few of our favorite goggle brands and models that we found throughout the year that are worth checking out to see if they work with your toddler’s ski helmet. To simplify the process, consider getting a preschool ski helmet and goggle combination set.
Teaching a 3 year old how to ski (or a 4 year old how to ski) can be a lot of work, but getting them good gear from the beginning will simplify that process considerably. Good gear not only helps your kids stay outside longer, but it helps everyone have a more pleasant and happier experience as well.