How to Outfit Your Child for A Day on the Mountain

Whether planning your annual ski trip or heading out for the weekly family ski day, we all want to enjoy skiing or snowboarding as long as we can during the short winter days. When trying to keep the clan happy outdoors (giving everyone time to enjoy their particular sport), the proper kids winter clothing, outerwear, and accessories are essential. It can be really easy for the younger family members to get cold, and as we say here at “When the kids are cold, the day is done!”

For all but the most seasoned of professional ski moms and dads, getting your kids geared up for a day or week at the resort can be a daunting task, especially with increasing technical kids outerwear. A good breakdown of all of the essentials puts them into one of four categories – first layers, mid layers, outerwear, and accessories. We’ll walk you through each category, while giving you vital information that will aid in making your days on the hill that much more enjoyable.

First Layers

We’ll start with kids first layers, or baselayers as they are often called. These are anything next to skin that go over basic underwear. It is imperative that these layers be breathable and moisture wicking, as they do touch the skin and are their first line of defense. Look for products made of synthetic or wool fibers, as these do the best job of moving sweat away from your body, towards the other layers. First layers come in a variety of weights: lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight. Choose one based on whether your child typically gets cold or hot, as well as on their intended activity level. Lighter layers work great for highly aerobic activities and kids who run a little warm, for example.

Many of the materials used in these garments also have anti-microbial properties, allowing for repeated use without the need for washing. These are great for ski trips where pack space is limited. Avoid cotton at all costs when choosing gear for any of these categories, especially as a first layer. Cotton fibers are excellent at trapping moisture against your skin, which can cool and drastically lower your body temperature when you stop moving, regardless of any insulating jacket or mid layers.

Mid Layers

The next level of layering, mid layers, offers a larger range of products than first layers. Mid layers can be everything from fleece pullovers or jackets, to softshell pieces or technical hooded sweatshirts. This is where you can fine-tune your child’s kit, based on the activity and the weather. Think of this layer as the main one keeping them warm. You’ll also want to go with technical fabrics here, which breathe and continue transferring moisture to the outer layer for evaporation.


The last layer, outerwear, supplies the essential waterproofing, wind proofing, and additional insulation. When deciding on what kids ski jackets and pants to purchase, look for those with features your child might need. Removable hoods, powder skirts, zippered hand pockets and interior pockets for phones or iPods are all popular features. Fit is also important to consider when making a purchase. Generally, ski and outdoor brands like Spyder or The North Face usually fit more true to size and are more tailored, while snowboard brands like Burton or DC tend to run a little bigger and fit somewhat looser.

Accessories: Gloves, Hats, Goggles, Socks

Accessories: our favorite! The main items here will be gloves, hats, goggles, helmets, and socks. As always, with anything next to skin, look for moisture wicking and/or anti-microbial features when choosing things such as socks. Children’s gloves and hats are much more general in terms of warmth and comfort, although some brands do make kids gloves using GORE-TEX materials (these gloves and mittens are the most waterproof youth versions available). Goggle frames are all relatively similar; however, choose your goggle lens based on the conditions your child will be in when skiing or snowboarding. Mirrored lenses are great for sunny conditions, while rose and orange lenses improve depth perception and are great general lenses for days when there may be some clouds.

As for helmets, kids tend to heat up quite a bit throughout a day of skiing, so choosing a helmet that has ventilation on top can pay huge dividends. Also, many goggle brands also make helmets, which are designed to fit seamlessly with their goggles. Because of this, it is often a good idea to buy these two items together as a pair. Some other great features to look for on helmets are adjustable fits, goggle clips, and removable ear pads for warmer days.

We hope that you have found this information to be helpful, and are now well on your way to being a kids ski clothing expert. If you have any questions on the information listed above, differences in equipment, or anything else we’ve mentioned, please feel free to call us at 1-800-924-5484 to speak directly to a customer service representative, or simply leave your question in the comments section below. From our company to your family, we wish you a fun and snowy winter season!

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