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Skiing is one of the most gear-intensive sports that families can participate in. Not only do you have to have your actual ski gear, but the amount of clothing necessary can be pretty daunting. We started skiing as a family when our older kids were toddlers, so the struggle to keep things streamlined and organized has always been a goal for me. Over the years, we’ve tried more systems than I can count, until we finally landed on one that STUCK! I’m going to show you exactly how we organize our ski gear so that even my 6-year-old can pack the gear and tell me if we’re missing anything.
Now before I dive into how we organize our ski gear, I will tell you that getting our kids to use it reliably did take quite a bit of training and we’ve gone through some pretty messy phases while we figured out a system that worked for us. It always takes a few reminders at the beginning of every ski season, but it is totally worth it. Also, remember that there is no right or wrong way to organize your ski gear – these ideas below are things that have worked for us or that you might want to try. These photos are not curated or staged, but are exactly what our family ski organization looks like!
This video is a few years old, but this is basically the same process outlined below
(it’s just a bit more refined now)
1. Choosing the Right Storage Area
For our family, choosing the right place to store our ski gear was essential. Like most families, we don’t have unlimited space, so we had to choose to have the gear that we use regularly easily accessible and the gear that’s just for ski days kept somewhere else.
In our family it looks like this: Gloves, mittens, hats and balaclavas are used regularly so we keep those in our coat closet. We also get a lot of snow in our area, so everyone keeps their snowpants and coats in the coat closet or on a hook by the front door. This makes it easy to find where the gear is stored and even easier for the kids to know where to put it away.
For our other gear, we store that in out of the way places since we’ll almost exclusively use it on ski days. We keep our skis and poles in the garage. Our helmets and goggles as well as our ski boots stay in a storage closest in the basement. Storing them there allows them to dry easily after a ski day and ensures that they won’t be super cold when we put them on (which is why we don’t store them in the garage).
2. Have a System Your Family Can Easily Follow
Making sure that every piece of gear has a place to belong is essential. It allows you to always make sure that everything is put away properly, and it allows you to easily check that all of your gear has been grabbed before you head to the mountains. Make sure that every family member knows where their gear belongs so they can put it away after they use is and so they can help gather gear on ski days.
3. Always Clean and Dry Gear Before Storing
Part of our system for taking care of our gear is making sure that it’s dry before we put it away. This is especially important for outerwear since storing things like gloves and mittens wet can significantly damage or ruin them. On our family, we have a large hearth in front of our fireplace where we lay out all of the small pieces of outerwear before putting it away dry the next morning. This is usually gloves, mittens, and neck gators. If the kids have been playing out in the snow a lot and taking their gloves on and off, we open them up and stand them over a floor vent to make sure that the interior is totally dry. If you are looking for a boot/glove dryer check out our review here.
If any gear got visibly dirty while we were skiing, we have a few hooks in the laundry room where the kids can dry them and they’ll be waiting for me when I do laundry. Of course, make sure to only wash outerwear with a special detergent so you don’t break down the waterproofing.
4. Organization For Storing Gloves, Mittens, Hats, Balaclavas and Neck Gaitors
Finding ways to store and organize our family’s everyday winter gear has always been my biggest pain point. We’ve tried having a bin for all the gloves, one for the hats, etc, but it was always just chaos. We stumbled on the system we have now, and it’s been working amazingly well for us for over 5 years.
We have a mesh hanging shoe organizer rack that hangs on the inside of our coat closet. Every member of our family has a row and they keep their mittens, gloves, and hats there. Our youngest has the bottom row (which makes it easier for him to see and put things away), and mom and dad have the highest rows. Now everyone knows where to put other people’s gear if they see it lying out, and it makes packing for ski days so much easier. We simply go through the organizer and grab 1 pair of gloves or mittens from each row and put it in our family ski bag. We have all of our family ski with ski helmets, so we don’t take hats with us unless it’s cold and then the kids just wear them up to the hill.
Note: the mesh organizer is key, NOT the clear plastic ones, since the mesh allows any extra moisture to dry out.
While some of my kids wear lightweight neck gaiters to play in the snow or ride their bikes (which they store in their row of the organizer), we keep most of our balaclavas and neck gaiters in a bin in the top of the closet. When it’s time to go skiing, we grab enough neck warmers for everyone + 1-2 extra. The nice thing about neck warmers is that they stretch to fit most sizes, so our kids can wear the same neck warmers as my husband and I do.
5. Tips for Storing Skis and Poles
We’ve tried lots of different ways to organize our skis, and unless each pair of skis and poles has a designated area to belong, everything ends up a tangled mess. After trying out several different garage ski racks, and even DIYing our own solution, our favorite garage ski rack is the Gravity Grabber ski rack. We love that we can put them at different heights so that everyone can still reach their skis, but each pair can be as out of the ways as possible We have our kids put their own skis away at the end of the day and bring them to the car when it’s time to load up in the morning. Our kids can get their own skis on and off the rack starting around age 4.
It’s also important to dry off the bottoms of skis before you store them. If they have moisture on them for long periods of time, this can cause your edges to rust. We’ve gotten in the habit of just wiping dry each pair of skis before we put it away in the garage.
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6. Tips for Storing Ski Boots
The golden rule for storing ski boots and keeping them in good shape is to always store them buckled up. This helps to preserve the integrity and shape of the plastic, helping them to last longer.
The other thing that’s important for storing ski boots is to always make sure they have a chance to dry out after skiing. Ski boots mostly get wet from sweaty feet, with occasional stray bits of snow falling in.
To keep our ski boots organized, we actually just throw them in a large plastic bin in the house. This gives them a chance to dry out, and when it’s time to go skiing, we can just carry the whole bin out to the car. When we had more space and fewer kids, we had a shelf that we just placed all of our ski boots on, but that just doesn’t work in our current home.
We don’t recommend ever storing ski boots anywhere with really cold temperatures since this will make them really cold and unpleasant to put on at the ski hill and often will make your feet cold for the entire day.
7. Tips for Organizing Ski Helmets and Goggles
Ski helmets are one of the easiest things to store. They’re lightweight, and while they take up a good amount of room, they don’t really require any special storage. Like ski boots, we recommend storing ski helmets inside since this allows them to dry and keeps them warmer for when you have to put them on.
Like ski boots, we just have a large plastic bin that we keep our helmets in and it works really well. When we’re done skiing, everyone has a goggle bag to store their goggles, we tuck them inside of their helmet, and we store them in the bin. The bin goes right in the car and it makes it so much easier to not have big helmets rolling all over the trunk and cluttering it up on ski days.
8. Getting Ski Gear from Home To The Ski Hill
Organizing gear at home is only half the battle. If you’re just haphazardly throwing everything into the car, you’re likely to start your ski day frazzled and a little frustrated. It’s important to also have a system to organize ski gear on it’s way up to the hill. I’ll share a few different options:
Option 1: Everyone has their own bag with all their own gear. I know a lot of families who have kids who are on ski teams and this is what works best for them. Everyone has a boot bag that carries everything they need for a ski day, and everyone is responsible for making sure their individual bag is packed. Inside you’ll put ski boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, balaclava and any hand warmers. This is a great option if you carry your gear inside the lodge to get ready for the ski day.
Option 2: Everyone’s gear together and separated by type. This is usually the easiest option if you’re getting ready at the car. We have a large bag for balaclavas, gloves, and hand warmers for the whole family. We have a container for ski boots and another for helmets. For large families, this is often easier since you don’t have to have the space that a separate back for everyone needs.
9. Have a System For Putting Gear Away After Skiing
One of our family ski rules is that if you’re skiing, you’re required to help clean up (if they don’t clean up, they have to do extra chores or eat PB&J for dinner instead of what mom cooks). Our rule is that the car gets emptied and gear gets put away before anything else happens (except one parent starting to make dinner since everyone is usually STARVING).
Often we split up tasks so that the work of putting gear away is more efficient. Here’s what the tasks are that we divide among ourselves:
- Bring in helmets, make sure goggles are in bags, and store helmets in their bin in the basement
- Bring in ski boots, double-check to make sure all boots are buckled, and store in the bin in the basement
- Brings in the ski bag with balaclavas, neck warmers, gloves, and mittens, and lay out all wet or damp gear out to dry overnight.
- Unload skis off the rack and wipe the bases of each pair down before storing them on our garage ski storage racks
- Hang poles on ski storage racks after skis are stored
- Check the car for loose odds and ends that need to be brought in
When all of this is done THEN everyone is allowed to take off and hang up their coats and snowpants and chill. Coats and snowpants always go on the hooks overnight and then the next morning when we know there isn’t anything damp, we hang it in our tiny coat closet.
When done together, the whole process takes less than 5 minutes, so it’s really not bad at all. After the kids get out of their snow clothes, they’ll usually change their clothes, and dinner is ready shortly after. Since the kids know exactly what to expect, they just fall into our cleanup routine and we don’t have kids sneaking off to avoid helping or complaining that they’re so starving that they NEED FOOD NOW!
As part of our clean-up routine, we’ll also assign one person to put away the gear that needs to dry the next morning, so it doesn’t end up laying out for a long time and getting misplaced.
TIP: Only Keep Out What You Need
One of the biggest secrets to staying sane as we organize our family ski gear is to only have the things out that we’re going to need. With a large family, we tend to get a lot of gear that’s between kid sizes as we pass things down. We own probably 15 pairs of skis and over a dozen helmets. The secret to staying sane is only keeping one big piece of gear out per person, and that’s the one that fits the best right now. That’s one helmet, one pair of boots, one pair of skis…you get the point, right? This not only cuts down on the space we need to store the big gear we’re regularly using, but it also eliminates confusion when packing.
For the gear that we’re not using at the moment, we simply store it in our garage attic or in a box out in our shed. Every year we whuffle our gear around and make sure everyone has the best fit and size and pack up everything else that we don’t need.
How Much Storage Space Do I Need to Store Ski Gear?
The amount of storage space required depends on the quantity of gear and how many people it’s for. For an individual skier, you can get by with just some extra closet space. This area should accommodate your skis, poles, boots, helmet, and clothing. If you’re storing gear for a family, you might need a larger space, such as a section of your garage or a dedicated closet. Use vertical storage solutions like ski racks and shelving to maximize space efficiency.
Does Ski Gear Need to Completely Dry Between Uses?
Absolutely, it’s crucial to allow ski gear to dry completely between uses. Moisture trapped in boots, gloves, or clothing can lead to deterioration of materials. The one exception is if you’re skiing multiple days in a row and conditions are really wet. Do your best to dry out your ski gear every night and then make sure that everything is completely dry at the end of your ski trip. Use boot and glove dryers, or if you don’t have one, put your gear over a heating vent, allowing the warm air to blow in.
How Do I Keep Ski Edges in Good Shape Between Uses?
Proper maintenance of ski edges is key to their longevity and performance. Here’s what to do:
- Wipe Down Edges: After each use, wipe down the edges with a dry cloth to remove any moisture. This prevents rust.
- Storage: Store skis in a dry and cool area. Avoid places with fluctuating temperatures and humidity.
- Regular Tuning: Regularly tune your skis, which includes sharpening the edges, to maintain their performance. How often depends on your usage frequency and conditions.
How Should I Organize My Ski Clothes?
Organizing ski clothes effectively can make preparing for a ski trip much smoother. Here are some tips:
- Separate Bins or Drawers: Use separate bins or drawers for different types of clothing – one for base layers, another for socks, etc.
- Hanging Space: Allocate hanging space for ski jackets and pants. This helps maintain their shape and ensures they are adequately aired out.
- Accessory Storage: Use smaller bins or bags for accessories like gloves, hats, and neck gaiters. Keeping these in one place prevents misplacing them.
- Labeling: Labeling shelves or bins can be very helpful, especially in a family setting, to keep everyone’s gear organized.