It’s ski season again, and we’re excited about reports of snow finally falling in Europe, and record levels in north America. We’re already one ski trip down, as Katie returned last week from her family’s first ever ski holiday; and Helen starts to prepare for skiing with her kids. But here at Space In Your Case, we know that first experiences can be extra daunting when you have children, so we’re designing a series of packing lists to help ease the stress of preparing for family trips – starting with what to pack when you’re skiing with kids.

First of all, you need way less clothes than you think you do. Katie, after her first trip, had this to say about her suitcases:

“We came home with so many unworn clothes. Mostly, after a day on the slopes, we were too tired to be bothered changing, so we hung out in our chalet in the base layers we’d worn that day, until it was time to shower and change into pyjamas.”

Helen echoes this experience. “When you finish for the day, it’s bliss to sink into a sofa with a cold beer, or a hot chocolate, and just getting your boots off is all the relaxation you need. We’ve often found ourselves digging into the afternoon tea provided by our hotel and just chilling out until evening. It is good to take a couple of non-skiing outfits, because you’ll certainly want to go out once or twice during a week’s ski holiday, but often it’s nicer to just hang out ‘at home’ in the evenings – after all, you get all the action you need during a day on the piste!”

So, what do you definitely need to take, and why? Click the button below to download a checklist you can use for speedy packing, and have a quick read through these points to make sure you know what to expect of a first ski holiday with your family.

Download the full list here.

What to pack for a ski holiday.

  • Good quality ski clothes: either a ski suit, or jacket and salopettes, with braces for kids, to prevent snow getting where it shouldn’t. You get what you pay for with ski gear, and nothing is more likely to guarantee and early hatred of the sport than cold, wet children. Decent ski gear keeps you warm and dry, and gives you flexibility depending on the weather. Pay as much as you can afford – you’ll regret it if you don’t.
  • Wicking base layers: similarly, proper base layers perform a multitude of tasks. They may seem like a luxury, but they keep you much more comfortable than an old t-shirt, moving moisture away from the skin, whilst keeping warmth in. Something simple like these Trespass base layers will work really well.
  • Footwear: you need nothing other than a good pair of snow boots or walking boots. Once you’ve walked on snow in ordinary boots or trainers, you’ll see why. Fashion becomes irrelevant, and it’s all about the tread and the grip.
  • Comfy clothes: your best jeans may look extra good after a day of exercise, but denim is cold, and no-one cares much what you look like in a ski resort. Fleecy leggings, relaxed sweatpants, and a couple of warm jumpers is all you need. Plus, you’re only going to be in them for a couple of hours every evening, so save on space and pack the minimum.
  • Think about what you’ll need in your pockets on the slopes. We advise that every skier carries a sunscreen stick, lip balm, and tissues – you’ll burn, even when the sun isn’t shining. Skiing is also thirsty work, so a small plastic bottle to refill is handy. If you’re skiing together all day, a Camelpak can work well to keep everyone hydrated. Hand warmers are also a good idea, and can be worn all day inside mittens. And you’ll definitely need snacks – mini packs of Haribo, or mini-Mars are good for quick fixes, and cereal bars are a good idea too.

Nice to have:

  • A GoPro is a great addition to a family ski holiday. You’ll catch all sorts of hilarious footage, pick up ski tips, and capture wonderful views, without the hassle of finding your camera and removing your gloves.
  • Small plastic tubs for packed lunches and snacks; piste restaurants can be pricey, so it’s good to go budget occasionally.
  • If you’re self-catering, consider what you’ll do in the evening. Kids don’t want to eat out every night, so some board games, UNO, or a portable DVD player could be really useful.
  • Finally, most resorts now have scannable credit-card sized personal lift passes, but if you do find yourself needing a passport photo, it can be a real pain to organise in resort. Try and find out how the system works before you go, or take passport photos just in case. An arm band pouch, or a retractable clip-on keyring can be useful to hold your lift pass too.



Look out for more packing lists to make your family travel planning easier, or leave us a comment and let us know what you’d like to see in a future downloadable list.

More packing tips

Did you know it’s also easy to pack for a ski trip using just your cabin baggage allowance? Check out Helen’s tips for packing light on a ski holiday.