Prep and Pack for a Family Ski Trip

Family Skiing at Squaw Valley where to take kids skiing in Lake Tahoe. How to prep for a family ski trip.
Keeping the kids warm and dry in the snow starts at home. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

How to Prep for a Family Ski Trip

The kids have spoken, they want to go skiing for their school break. Now it’s time to prep and pack up for the trip.

Rental Property vs. Hotel Room

I prefer renting a condo versus staying in a standard hotel room, especially for families. Here’s what I want in a rental property or condo for a family ski trip.

  • Washing Machine and Dryer–a must for wet clothes
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen + Dishwasher and Microwave
  • Dining table with chairs for everyone

To save money, I cook. I make breakfast and dinner then we eat out for lunch. Though I also pack a snack bag for the kids.

I pack a few extras to make a rental feel like home.

  • Cozy blankets–snuggle in the car on the way and at the rental.
  • Scented candles or plug-in air freshener
  • A bouquet of flowers–I grab some at the local grocery store.
  • Crock Pot or InstaPot–I save serious money by making hearty, easy-to-make meals.
  • Fondue Pot–So much fun for a ski trip and easy too!
  • Roasting Sticks–Most resorts feature fire pits so grab the sticks and a bag of marshmallows.


The Kids voted and they want to go skiing. Time to Prep and Pack for the family ski trip with all the gear for staying warm, packing a snack bag and even making a rental condo feel like home.

Clothes a Family Needs for a Ski Trip

Before buying new stuff, I dig out what I have. It’s amazing how much you have already.

Winter coats with Hoods–Wash them and spray them down with water repellent.

Base layer–A lot of kids use a polyester layer for sports, pack those. The old-school waffle-weave long underwear is itchy.

Fleece layer–Another item most kids own.

Wool or Cashmere Sweaters--Natural fibers are best so I pack my nice sweaters. But not something that most kids own.

Scarves and hats–Instead of scarves, my kids wear neck gaiters so there isn’t any dangling clothing while using ski lifts. Hats or beanies when not wearing a helmet.

Socks–Pack some hiking or wool-blended socks.


Ski gloves–I buy inexpensive gloves for the kids. One will get lost, every single time. Spray those down with the water repellent too.

Snow Bibs or Pants–Bibs for the little kids since the ski pants are hard to fit around little waists. Pants for teens and adults. Spray the bibs and pants down with water repellent, especially the seats of the pants.

Snow boots–Inexpensive boots if you live in a warm climate. Spray down with water repellent.

Hand and Foot Warmers–Buy these before heading to the ski resort, they are expensive in the resort’s shop.


Ski Mom Tip: Buy black items so you can pass them down as the kids grow.

I use this repellent with excellent results.

Snow Play Fun

How to Prep for a family ski trip with the right equipment.
My 13-year-old destroyed a cheap saucer on his first run so I bought him a heavy-duty saucer. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Sure the kids would love to ski every day but I can’t. So after a couple of days at the resort, I plan a snow play day.

Heavy-Duty Sled–My kids are older and harder on the equipment, I found this heavy-duty sled holds up to my sons. As a bonus, it’s made in the US.


Snoballer–A snoballer is another must for snow day fun. The snow balls are super smooth and aerodynamic. Old-school outdoor winter fun.


Snacks for Ski Trips

How to prep for a family ski trip with snacks to save money.
Pack some hot water and cup-of-soup for a warming and cheap snack. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Most family friendly resorts allow you to picnic at their outdoor tables. Some resorts even have indoor lunch rooms they allow picnickers to use. Though respect the rules of the resort.

I find the lunch line at the ski resort’s snack bar daunting during the school holidays. With my snack bag, my kids grab a quick bite, especially my boy who wants to snowboard all day.

I pack:

  • Refillable water bottles
  • Gatorade or flavor packets
  • Hot water in a thermos
  • Instant hot cider or cocoa packets and tea bags
  • Instant Cup-of-Soup
  • Granola bars and Protein bars
  • Jerky
  • Dried fruit or fruit leather
  • Freeze-dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Cookies
  • Marshmallows and roasting sticks
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Reusable coffee cups


Other Things that Make Life Easier

I pack another bag for the non-food stuff. Including a

  • First aid kit with lots of bandages
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen for faces
  • Wipes and tissues
  • Extra gloves–A glove will go missing every single time.
  • Ski goggles–My kids prefer to use sunglasses for sunny days.
  • Sunglasses–Goggles are best for blustery or snowy days.
  • Giant blue IKEA bag–Some families change into ski boots at the car but I find kids slip and fall. I can fit all the boots and helmets and haul them to the ski lodge.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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