Have you ever been thinking what is the right age to go skiing with a child? We have three kids (2, 4 and 13 years) and we have always thought about that question once the kids have been two years old. When should I take my child skiing with me?

So what is the right age to start skiing with children? It depends on few things, but I would say that it is best to wait until your child is over four or five years old. I have seen a couple of mothers posting on forums that their children were 1-1/2 when they started skiing. I must say I would not have enough courage to even try with such little kids. There are few reasons why I think 4-5 is a good age to start skiing with children. Let’s find out these reasons.

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Why is 4-5 years a good age for children to start skiing?

As kids grow, they gain body mass and become stronger. When they go skiing, that body mass and strength is needed to avoid falling, in order put on all the clothing, boots and skis, etc. It simply means that child’s body is strong enough for going to the slopes. When kids are 4-5 years old, they have much better motor and social skills than a year before. They need motor skills for learning to ski and social skills to interact with a skiing instructor. Usually skiing instructors ask parents to wait somewhere until the lesson is over, so the kid has to stay together with the instructor. If the children lacks social skills he/she might not be able to concentrate in learning. Instead the child is worried about “loosing” his/her parents.

My personal opinion is that children should not go skiing before they reach the age of 4-5 years. Some kids grow faster than others and are stronger and equipped with better motor skills sooner than others. This means the best age to start skiing should be seen “on a case-by-case basis”, but generally speaking my recommendation would be to wait until they are 4-5 years old.

When you go skiing with your child, be patient. Do not push him/her. Give time and space, let the child learn at his/her own pace. If you push, the result might be that your child starts to hate the sport and then you can forget about skiing with your child for couple of years. Skiing with children might sometimes cause headache but usually I find it fantastic. As a lifelong backcountry skier I need to “switch myself” into “skiing with kids”-mood and then it goes fine. There is no hurry and it must be fun. When your child has fun on the slopes and he/she clearly enjoys it you are in the right direction.

What do you need when you start skiing with a child?

Let’s start with the equipment. In order to start skiing with your child you need at least:

  • Quality clothing for your child, such as Gore-Tex to resist water
  • Skiing equipment (skis for kids, boots, etc,)
  • Helmet! I would NOT recommend skiing without a helmet. The helmetless days were before 2000, now it is different. Use a helmet!
  • Time (take your time, you need it)
  • Patience (yes, sometimes kids prefer doing something else instead of skiing; also learning takes time)
  • Now what to do? If this is your first time skiing with your child, make sure
  • He/she wants to go skiing
  • He/she is physically ready (usually 3 years is enough, but I recommend starting at 4 because muscles are stronger)
  • He/she gets an instructor, in case you are not able and/or skillful enough to teach

Other things to know when skiing with a child

If it is cold out there, check every 30 minutes your child is not freezing. Wear good clothes but be ready to go inside as often as needed. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet. If you are using borrowed skis, make sure the bindings fit well. If you are afraid that your child is not able to control speed, you can use a leash.

Respect your child’s wishes. Go for lunch if he/she asks for it. Don’t bring him/her into places that are risky an or too difficult for your child, such as moguls tail. Consider bringing your child to a ski-school or lessons: it could help a lot!

Enjoy your time skiing with your child!