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I’d like to think of myself as an expert on skiing with a baby and toddlers. With 5 kids of my own and a serious ski obsession, skiing with our babies has become a way of life. Between all the years of pregnancy and babies, I could just not stay away from the ski hill during ski season. Luckily, we’ve been able to find some great ways to make skiing and having a baby work for our family, over and over again.
Most of our kids have spent A LOT of time at the ski hill as an infant. We’ve found that the most important piece to skiing with a baby in tow is to find a ski resort that’s well suited to families with children. This often rules out high-end resorts, or really crowded facilities. We’ve found that the most baby and family friendly ski resorts are resorts that are more old school. Here are the things that you need to look for when considering where to ski with a baby.
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Tips for Getting a Baby Around the Base Area
When you’re taking a baby to the ski hill, you’ll also be bringing with you LOTS of gear (both for you and the baby). Simply carrying the baby usually isn’t the easiest option. Here are our favorite ways to get baby around the base of a ski resort:
Baby carrier: This is our favorite baby carrier and it’s perfect for getting babies from the car seat to the lodge. While you can wear it as a front or back carrier, we prefer to wear it on the front, so we can put a backpack on our backs to haul more.
Once our babies get a little older (6 months and older) we love to use this backpack carrier. It has a lot of storage to put extra clothes, toys, food etc in the compartments. It can fit babies and toddlers up to 48 lbs. This one is slightly lighter with a little less gear capacity.
Baby jogging stroller: A regular stroller won’t have big enough wheels to push around the ski resort, but this baby jogging stroller does great on packed down snow AND won’t break the bank!
Daycare for Babies while Skiing
The most ideal situation for skiing with a baby is one where mom and dad can ski and the baby is well taken care of too. If you can afford it, it’s worth paying for daycare for the day.
Realistically though, skiing can get VERY expensive for a family, and daycare only adds to those expenses. Additionally, since 2020, many ski resorts have closed their daycare centers, due to health concerns, so on-mountain ski daycare for babies isn’t an option for many people.
Best Age to Start a Baby Skiing
Most of our kids started skiing as babies at just 18 months old. This is about the youngest that kids can ski and do much in terms of following any directions (though we do know people who have started their kids skiing a few months younger than ours).
If you choose to start a one-year-old baby on skis, know that they really won’t learn much – they’re skiing because YOU love to ski. Honestly, it’s super fun to share something you love with your baby, so if you want to try it, I highly recommend it.
Read: Best Age To Teach Kids To Ski
The additional benefit is that by the age of two, they are familiar with the routine and eager to go skiing. We’ve reaped those benefits over and over again with our kids as starting early on skis has really advanced their skills when they’re 3-4 years old. If you want to start your baby on skis, you’ll absolutely want to read these articles as well:
Staying in the Ski Lodge with a Baby
For babies under the age of about 15 months, we always recommend hanging out in the ski lodge with kids. It’s what we’ve done with all of our babies and it’s a great place to hang out for the day. If you’re doing this, look for resorts that offer parents share passes, where parents can pay for just one ski pass and share it while one of them stays inside with the baby. Here are our top tips for hanging out in a ski lodge with a baby:
Find a Baby Friendly Ski Lodge
Obviously, there are certain ski resorts that are better suited for skiing with infants and toddlers than others. Even if you have a very eager toddler on skis, there’s a big chance that you’ll still be spending at least a couple of hours in the lodge eating french fries and downing hot chocolate during every ski day. Plan on it! Make sure that you’re going to a family friendly ski resort that is okay with you just hanging out in the lodge, especially if you’re taking a ski trip with a baby.
Although you’ll probably be visiting the dining facilities several times during the day, it’s nice to know it’s there as a convenience instead of a mandatory 30-minute validation (yes, many bigger resorts only allow visitors to stay in the lodge for 30 minutes before being required to buy more food).
Build a Team for Skiing with a Baby
The best way to do this is to bring some friends or family members who can all pitch in throughout the day. Have all of the adults take turns in the lodge watching the babies while everyone else is out skiing. This is a great situation because it gives tiny non-skiers some attention in the lodge where they can stay warm and safe, while also setting up a place for kids with tired legs to hang out and rest. If you don’t have a team of people around you, know that you can totally tag team baby responsibilities between just mom and dad.
Scout out the Lift Location
You’ll want the kid-friendly terrain to be easily accessible from your “base camp.” No one wants to carry all of their ski gear, a pair of little skis, and a weary three-year-old up the hill just to ride on the bunny hill when skiing with little kids.
Even more important is access to adult terrain. When you’re tag teaming a baby in the lodge, you want to be able to access GREAT adult terrain FAST, without taking 2-3 chairlift rides to get there.
Bring EVERYTHING You Might Need
Generally, we tend to encourage parents to simplify what they need to get out on adventures with kids. When it comes to our precious ski days though, we go overboard on EVERYTHING, and you might want to as well.
If you’re skiing with a baby or toddlers, you’ll probably be doing everything you can to keep the kids happy so you can ski as long as possible. That means that it’s time to bring ALL THE SNACKS, lots of hot cocoa, extra bottles and formula, warm clothes, toys to play with, books to read, diapers and extra clothes, and of course, a PeaPod for the little one for nap time (I swear by this travel bed…our youngest exclusively slept here for an entire year!).
Skiing with a Baby in a Baby Carrier
There are some resorts that will let you go skiing with a baby in a front carrier or backpack. These resorts are rare, and there’s good reason for that.
There are HUGE risks to skiing with a baby, and we really discourage it for many reasons.
You can’t control other skiers/riders behavior which can put your baby at risk
One of the biggest risks to your baby while skiing is a collision with another skier. If you’re skiing with a baby in a backpack or other baby ski carrier, you should only be skiing on gentle terrain. The bad part of that is, that’s also where all the out of control beginners ski. Even if you’re an incredible skier, if you get hit from behind or sideswiped by another skier, your baby is at a major risk.
Babies don’t have strong enough necks to support a helmet
We all know that babies have weak neck muscles that take time to develop, but did you know that most babies’ necks aren’t strong enough to support the weight of a helmet until they are at least a year old (and many need to be older than that)? The risks of skiing without a helmet are really too big to be passed onto a baby.
Babies have a hard time staying warm in the cold, especially in a baby carrier
When my oldest was a baby, the news covered a story about a baby who had died in a baby backpack while out snowshoeing with mom and dad. They were unaware of how cold the baby was because they were plenty warm as they were moving around. In the meantime, the baby literally froze to death. Having babies out in extreme winter temperatures requires lots of extra care, and that can be a challenge on skis.
While I have skied during nearly all of my pregnancies (under situations where I could control most of the risks), the risks of skiing with a baby have never been worth it to our family. For our family, it has made the most sense to start our kids skiing young and just to trade off that first season when they’re an infant in the ski lodge.