Apres Ski Fun

Prep and Pack for a Family Ski Trip

Lake Tahoe Skiing. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Top Things for a Family Ski Trip

After skiing and snowboarding with kids for years, it’s still one of the best winter vacations for families, especially with older teens and college students. The kids get to explore on their own during the day (they might even meet up with you for lunch) and then get a family dinner together. Though when is the ideal time to get your family on the snow. After three kids, I say, when you can do it. I learned to ski at 25. My kids learned at different ages and they each caught on great. Planning a ski trip is a bit of work for parents, especially Mom. So here’s some of the top tips planning a family ski trip and best products to use for a family ski trip.

Hotel Room vs. Rental Property 

Over the years, I realized renting a condo works out better than staying in a standard hotel room, especially for families. Here’s what I need  in a rental property or condo for a family ski trip.

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

To save money, I cook so I pack my Crock Pot. I make breakfast and dinner then we eat out for lunch. After a long day of skiing, I don’t want to wait for a table at a restaurant.

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.
  • Bag of Marshmallows and Roasting Sticks–Most resorts feature fire pits so grab the sticks and a bag of marshmallows.
  • Fondue Pot–So much fun for a ski trip and easy too. Check out this Fondue Set.

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 andspray 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.

Socks–Pack some hiking or wool-blended socks.

Scarves–Instead of scarves, my kids wear neck gaiters so there isn’t any dangling clothing while using ski lifts.

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.

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

Before I leave for a family ski trip, I use this repellent with excellent results.

Need Inspiration?

Free Sledding in Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe Winter Guide for Families

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.

Sled–My kids are older and harder on the equipment, so I take a heavy-duty sled.

Snoballer–A Snowballer 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 Must Haves

I pack another bag for the non-food stuff.

  • 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.

Pack those skis and grab the kids. Here's what you need to pack for a fabulous family ski trip. Get top tips how to keep warm and best snacks for kids. #FamilySkiTrips #PackingList
credit: Catherine Parker

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.


  1. I do like how you mentioned that when it comes to ski trips, it would be wise to bring warmers and warm clothing for they can be expensive in the resort’s shops. That is quite nice to have learned as I did see some quite good deals for some hot comfort pack yesterday. I’ll be sure to bring some along as soon as we find a good place to go skiing. Thanks!

    • Catherine Parker

      Always trying to save families money! Thanks and enjoy your ski getaway!