What Should Kids Wear Skiing? 8 Critical Clothing Items

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Figuring out what kids should wear skiing can be a daunting task, but one that you shouldn’t neglect.

After over a decade of skiing with our own kids, I can promise you that what kids wear skiing has a direct correlation to how long they can ski, how comfortable and happy they are on the mountain, and how much they whine.

How To Dress Kids For Skiing

We’re going to start at the bottom up, to help you know what your kids should wear skiing. The kid’s ski clothing that’s closest to their skin is some of the most important, so pay special attention to those pieces. We’re starting from the bottom up, so here’s what your kids should be wearing from the closest layer to the ski on out!

little boys at the ski resort

Ski Socks

Ski socks are intentionally taller than regular socks and provide more padding and cushioning in key areas of the foot and leg. This makes skiing in ski boots more comfortable for extended periods of time. In addition, ski socks are effective at both wicking moisture and insulating feet on cold days  They’re usually available in different weights that coordinate with how warm and thick they are (light, medium, and heavy), so consider how cold it will be on your ski trip and get ski socks to go along with that. They also work great with snow boots. Merino wool and synthetic blend ski socks are the absolute BEST!

Read: Best Kids Ski Socks

best kids ski socks

Base Layers

The base layer is a clothing item designed to be worn right against your skin. A good base layer should not only keep your kids warm, but also be breathable and absorb and wick away moisture when you sweat. We recommend getting a synthetic or merino wool base layer, never cotton.  If you’re skiing with little kids, make sure to bring an extra set of base layers skiing in case of spills and accidents. Our all-time favorite base layers are from Chasing Windmills since they’re super soft and last longer than any others.

Read Best Kids Base Layers

Brothers in base layers getting ready for skiing

Mid Layers

The best way to protect yourself from the cold is by wearing multiple layers of kid’s ski clothes. On colder days, wear a thicker mid-layer garment (or even two thinner layers), and on warmer days go for a thin mid-layer. Our favorite mid-layers are fleece and puffy jackets.  This is one area where you can opt for more budget clothing and still be in great shape!

Read: Best Kids Mid Layers

Girl Base Layers


Protect your kid against the wet and cold by investing in a good coat and winter pants. It’s important to get outerwear that will repel water so you can stay outside for longer periods of time. We recommend that you only get ski clothing with a waterproof rating of 10,000 or above. We prefer to buy ski jackets for a winter coat. If your kids get cold easily or you just want to simplify how much you take up to the ski hill, snowsuits are a great option since they’re extra warm and are easier to get on and off than a coat and snow pants. 

shred dog outerwear for kids

Snowsuits are making a major comeback, and there are incredible options for everyone from toddlers to teens. When getting your kid’s outerwear, we also recommend getting a coat that has a hood that is helmet compatible for extra protection against the elements when the weather turns extra nasty!

Kids dressed in bright colors or bold prints are easiest to spot on the ski hill, so keep that in mind when purchasing outerwear (Shred Dog and Reima are our favorites for bright and bold outerwear).

Read: Warmest Kids Snowsuits, Best Kids Snow Pants, Best Ski Coats For Kids

Ski Helmet

A non-negotiable for skiing kids. Helmets save lives and that’s all there is to it. To make sure that your child wears their helmet ALL THE TIME, get one that fits well and that they like (there are so many color options out there, so this shouldn’t be too hard).

A properly fitting ski helmet should be level on your child’s head, not wiggle when they shake their head, and should be no more than 2 finger spaces from the top of their eyebrows.

We highly recommend choosing a bright-colored or easily recognizable ski helmet for kids since it makes finding kids on the mountain much easier.

Read: Best Ski Helmets From Toddler to Teen

little boy on skis learning what to wear skiing


Ski goggles protect your child’s eyes from the sun, wind, and snow and increase visibility while skiing. Not only that, but they make skiing a lot more comfortable! When getting ski goggles for your child, make sure to get ones with 100% UV protection and that fit over their helmet. Get a helmet first and goggles second, since helmet fit is critical!

Read: Perfect Goggles For Every Age

Face Mask or Neck Warmer

No, not the face mask from 2020, but one that keeps your face warm and protects it from the elements. These are great for when it’s extra cold or windy. We always have kids wear them and they’re a great way to add extra warmth and protection from wind or snow. If it’s a warm day, opt for a thin neck warmer that kids can just pull down, but on cold days, we typically go for a thin balaclava that fits under the helmet for all the warmth!

READ: Best Kids Face Masks For Skiing

outdoor master toddler ski goggles

Ski Gloves or Mittens

Another area not to skim on is a great pair of gloves or mittens. Hands get cold quickly while skiing, so make sure to pack a good pair of gloves or mittens that will protect your child’s hands from the elements. If your kid’s hands get cold easily, mittens are the best choice. We’ve tried some pretty amazing and several terrible pairs of mittens and gloves over the years, so make sure to read our top recommendations. Spoiler: some of the best mittens and gloves are also some of the most affordable!

Read: Best Gloves and Mittens for Kids

little kids ski mittens

What Should Kids Wear Skiing – Weather and Temperature Recommendations

Dressing your kids for skiing depends a lot on the weather. What kids should wear skiing on a day that’s super cold and windy will be very different than what kids should wear skiing on a spring skiing day.

kids playing in snow after skiing

What Kids Wear Skiing In Super Cold Weather (temps in single digits F or below)

  • Thick base layer (merino or synthetic)
  • Insulating mid-layer (both top and bottom)
  • Heavyweight ski socks
  • Waterproof insulated coat (preferably with a hood)
  • Waterproof snow pants
  • Warm neck gaiter or balaclava (fleece or merino is warmest)
  • Carry hand warmers in case of extreme temps

What Kids Wear Skiing In Moderately Cold Weather (temps between 15-30 F)

  • Lightweight base layer (merino or synthetic)
  • Insulating mid-layer (both top and bottom)
  • Midweight ski socks
  • Waterproof insulated coat (preferably with a hood)
  • Waterproof snow pants
  • Light to medium weight neck gaiter or balaclava
Mom skiing with little boys

What Kids Wear Skiing In Warm Weather/Spring Skiing (temps above 35 F)

  • Lightweight base layer (merino or synthetic)
  • Lightweight mid-layer (can omit unless you get cold easily)
  • Lightweight ski socks
  • Waterproof coat (if you have a layering system with a shell and insulating layer, those are AMAZING for warm weather layering)
  • Waterproof snow pants
  • Lightweight neck gaiter and SUNSCREEN
spring skiing with kids

When Is It Too Cold To Ski With Kids?

If kids are dressed well, they should be able to ski in just about any conditions. If you follow our ski clothing recommendations for kids above, kids should be able to ski down to at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Older kids can often ski until about -10 degrees Fahrenheit, but many won’t want to be outside in those temperatures.

If you do choose to ski with your kids when it’s super cold, make sure to talk to them often about how warm they are and take plenty of breaks to warm up throughout the day.

How To Keep Kids Warm While Skiing

The best way to keep kids warm while skiing is to dress them in layers. This creates a perfectly customizable wardrobe so they can add or remove layers throughout the day as needed.

Another great way to keep kids warm while skiing is to make sure they are well-nourished and hydrated. A healthy snack or ski lunch will help them ski their best and feel their best all day long.

Finally, make sure to take breaks often so kids can warm up if they start to get cold. It’s much easier to warm up for a few minutes than it is to try and ski all day when you’re cold.

How To Keep Kid’s Hands Warm While Skiing

Keeping kid’s hands and feet warm while skiing can be a bit tricky. It’s more in-depth than we can cover here, so make sure to read our full article on keeping hands and feet warm while skiing, including the best hand and foot warmers we’ve ever found!

How Many Layers Should Kids Wear Skiing?

The number of layers that your child wears skiing depends on how cold they usually are and what sort of weather they are skiing in. In general, we recommend the following:

Super Cold Weather: 3-4 layers (base layer, 1-2 mid-layers, insulating outer layer)

Moderately Cold Weather: 2-3 layers (base layer, mid-layer and insulated outer layer)

Warm Weather/Spring Skiing: 1-2 layers (base layer, insulated outerwear)

Of course, every child is different and you know your child best. If they tend to get cold easily, err on the side of more layers. If they tend to overheat, err on the side of fewer layers.

Written by Jessica Averett

Hi, I'm Jessica! After meeting my husband on a chairlift, we now live in the mountains of Utah with our 5 kids. As a former ski instructor and mom, I'm here to help you make your family ski trips as easy, and FUN, as possible!