Planning a ski trip with your kids? Here’s what you need to know before you go–including where to find the best rental ski gear and things to know before buying a ski helmet for your kids.
My kids desperately wanted to go skiing. I was not and never had been a skier. As my young kids and I walked up to the ski rental counter at the resort, we were clueless. We didn’t know what size we were or what ski gear we even needed. I remember feeling stressed as I juggled different-sized winter sport helmets and boots between the three of us, hoping to quickly find the right sizing and move out of the way of the long line forming behind us.
Looking back, there’s so much that I would have told myself about preparing for a fun and safe ski trip with my kids. Things that are important, like understanding the pros and cons between renting kids ski helmets and other winter gear or purchasing our own. How to find the right sizing when choosing a kid ski helmet and also what ski gear accessories you’ll actually want to wear (I tend to over outfit my kids to the point that they could be easily mistaken for a character in The Christmas Story movie).
Since that first trip to the slopes, we’ve learned a lot and even made the choice to buy some of our own winter sports gear (like helmets) instead of renting them from the resorts. As you plan your family ski trip, our hope is that the following buying guide of kids’ snow helmets will help you in making the best decision possible for your family. Also, be sure to read to the end for more helpful ski trip planning tips!
TravelingMom Tip: Is your family new to winter sports? Check out this First Time Guide to Skiing or Snowboarding with Kids.
For younger skiers (recommended for ages 3-8), we love the Wildhorn Spire Snow Helmet with UV protection ski goggles. It has an adjustable dial fit system so you can ensure the helmet is fitted to your child’s head correctly and it can be adjusted as your kid grows for longer use or as it is passed on to other siblings. Plus, the yeti on the side of the helmet is a fun design element for kids!
For a bit more adventurous kids, many choose to go with a helmet with MIPS technology, like this Giro Crue MIPS helmet. MIPS helmets include a low-friction layer that slides 10 to 15 mm in all directions during impact, reducing rotational motion to the brain. It also comes in bright, kid-approved colors like lime green, blue and red.
This is another MIPS helmet option from Giro, but it also includes coordinating ski goggles. Ordering them together is an easy way to make sure the goggles fit properly with the helmet without any gaps or rubbing.
A nice addition to the Pret Kid Lid Snow Helmet is the wool blend, ultra fleece lining. The liner is also removable and washable–a huge plus when it comes to sports gear, which can get stinky!
This Retrospec Comstock Youth Helmet caught our eye because it not only has a tough ABS exterior but also has an EPS foam interior and soft, cushy padding around the earmuffs and adjustable chinstrap. We also love the color options–matte black, matte lime or matte tangerine, just to name a few!
Another great snow sport helmet for skiers ages 5 and up is the OutdoorMaster Kelvin Ski Helmet. It also comes in a matte finish ABS hard outer shell, has an EPS core and the fleece ear pads and liner are removable for washing. While other helmets may only be available in small or x-small sizing for kids, this helmet is available all the way up to a size large to accommodate older kids or those needing larger sizing options.
Before You Buy: Check Out Kitlender
Now that you’ve chosen a kids ski helmet, you may want to focus on what else you’ll need to stay protected. It is very important to wear the right clothing on the slopes–remember, cotton clothing tends to stay wet and regular street shoes just won’t cut it in the heavy snow and cold. If you’re a new skier and want to make sure you like the winter sport before spending a ton of money on your own gear or if your kids are in one of their rapid growth stages, we recommend checking out Kitlender.
Did you know that you can rent your ski gear? We love the option to use premium gear without having to buy it! Kit Lender is an amazing rental service for ski families and groups who’d prefer to rent and avoid the expense of buying expensive ski clothes and accessories. The Ski KITs are rented at 90% off of the retail cost and shipped directly to your destination with free shipping and returns. This is a great option for families with kids who grow out of their ski gear each season. Kit’s include jackets, pants, goggles, gloves, and optional snow boots. See all rental options here.
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Toddler Helmet Fit Tips & Recommended Gear
It’s always best to try on sports gear before buying to ensure a proper and comfortable fit. Kitlender is an excellent opportunity to test before you buy. However, if you’re ordering a helmet online, always be sure to reference the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines. Generally, buying guide sizing is referencing the circumference of the head just above your ears and about 1 inch above your eyebrows. A soft measuring tape can help you find this information.
For kids, it’s helpful to look for a helmet that has adjustable dial sizing so you are sure to have a snug, but not too tight, fit. Chin straps should also be snug, but also not too tight. While it may be tempting to buy a larger helmet for kids so they have room to grow, this is not recommended.
- REI Co-op Midweight Crew Long Underwear Top – Kids’
- REI Co-op Midweight Long Underwear Bottoms – Kids’
Pre-Teen Helmet Fit Tips & Recommended Gear
Pre-teen helmet fit is similar to the toddler tips–always make sure the helmet is snug but not too tight. Many pre-teen helmets also come with adjustable dial sizing to ensure a good fit. After tightening my child’s helmet, I always have them shake their head around for me so I can look for any movement. The helmet should not move away from their head.
If your child wants to use the same helmet for winter sports that they use as a bike helmet or skateboard helmet, be sure to check that the helmet is certified for skiing and that it has an ASTM label per the CDC’s ski helmet guidelines.
When choosing additional gear for pre-teens, here are some of our favorites:
Teenager Helmet Fit Tips & Recommended Gear
Finding the right helmet fit for a teenager is just as important as it is for younger kids. It’s important to wear a helmet that is sized correctly to their head and not borrow or use someone else’s helmet that isn’t their size.
When it comes to additional gear for teens, my older kids like to get gift cards and pick out their own items. However, some of the items that are always good to have are:
- Thermal ski socks
- Rocky Thermal Underwear
- Waterproof Gloves with Touchscreen Fingers
- Columbia Unisex-Teen Bugaboo Ii Pant
Plan Your Trip Skiing With Your Kids
Deciding where you’ll take your first (or next) ski trip is the exciting part! If you’re not sure how much time you’ll spend on the mountain, look for a resort that has other nearby entertainment as well. We also like to book our stay at a local vacation rental so we have full access to a kitchen for meals and snacks and room to spread out and relax when we’re not hitting the slopes.