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Skiing with kids and teenagers

Skiing with children and teenagers aged 5-17: A comprehensive guide

Skiing with children and teenagers is a great way to enjoy winter in the mountains and have family adventures. To ensure that your skiing holiday with children is successful and safe, careful preparation is essential. In this comprehensive guide we will cover all aspects of skiing with children, from choosing equipment to the different slopes and lifts suitable for different age groups.
The right equipment
Choosing the right equipment is crucial to ensuring your children enjoy skiing while staying safe. Here is a detailed overview of the equipment needed:

1. Ski equipment:
Skis: The length of the skis should correspond to the ability and size of the child. An experienced ski salesperson can help you make the right choice. The table below gives an indication of how long the skis or poles should be.

Recommendations of good children's skis on Amazon:
100 cm Length Völkl JR RACETIGER Yellow+4.5 VMOTION JR:
110 cm Length Völkl JR RACETIGER Yellow+4.5 VMOTION JR:
130 cm Length Völkl JR RACETIGER YEL VMOT+7.0 VMOT JR R:
140 cm Length Völkl JR RACETIGER YEL VMOT+7.0 VMOT JR R:

• Ski poles: The length of the poles should also be adapted to the child. Since children grow very quickly and new poles may have to be purchased every season or two, we recommend purchasing telescopic poles, which are also available specifically for children.

Recommendation of good telescopic poles for children on Amazon:
Leki Kids Rider Vario Ski poles, Neonyellow-Black, 85-105cm

• Ski boots: Make sure ski boots are comfortable and fit well. Pressure points can cause discomfort. Children's ski boots usually have 1 or 2 buckles for fastening. Please keep in mind that advanced or older children and teenagers require ski boots with 4 buckles to ensure optimal support due to their weight and skiing ability. When it comes to ski boots and bindings, pay attention to compatibility. GripWalk ski boots require a GripWalk binding on the ski! These ski boots must not be used in older bindings that do not support GripWalk. However, non-Grip-Walk ski boots can be used in a GripWalk binding.

Recommendation of good children's ski boots on Amazon:
Fischer Kids Ski boots RC4 60 JR THERMOSHAPE

Recommended ski and ski pole lengths depending on size and skiing ability

Size of child / teenager
(in cm)
Recommended length of ski (in cm)
Recommended skiing ability
Recommended Ski pole length (in cm)
below 100
Beginner to Intermediate
Intermediate to Expert
Intermediate bis Expert

In principle, shorter skis are more suitable for beginners, so about 10 cm less ski length should be used than for advanced skiers and experts. The length of the pole is not influenced by your driving ability.

Here is a tabular comparison between buying children's skis and renting children's skis:
Buying children's skisn
Rental of children's skisn
nitial investment required. New skis usually cost between 120 and 300 euros. Used skis could be a cheaper option, costing around 50 to 200 euros depending on their condition. The sticks cost around 20 to 30 euros.
The ski boots approx. 80 to 120 euros.
Attention: Skis over 120 to 130 cm long are often treated like adult skis, which can cost between 200 and up to 800 euros.

As a rule, the costs vary depending on the ski area. Daily or seasonal fees. As a rule of thumb, you should expect around 15 to 25 euros per day for children's skis up to around 120 cm, including the poles. Renting ski boots costs around 5 to 10 euros per day.
For young people, the range for skis is from 20 to 60 euros, depending on the premium offer. The ski poles are usually 10 euros per day and the ski boots are around 20 euros per day.
Children often outgrow skis quickly. More cost effective in the long run if the equipment is used for multiple seasons or for younger siblings.
No worries about outgrowing your skis. Ideal for sporadic skiers.
Driving comfort
Better fit and greater driving comfort. Individually adapted equipment.
More comfortable if you worry about the right size and fit.
Children can get used to their own skis better.
No customization, but current equipment.
Personal responsibility for maintenance and care required.
Regular maintenance and updating of equipment.
Limitations to growth
Possible purchase of larger skis as the child grows.
No worries about the child's growth as new equipment can be borrowed if needed.
Ski equipment must be stored and transported.
No worries about storage and transportation. Practical and time-saving.

In my experience, the decision to buy or rent equipment depends very much on whether there are siblings in the family, as younger children can always use the older children's skis, poles and even ski boots (please make sure to buy unisex equipment). , otherwise it can lead to a lot of discussions.
A small calculation: Renting skis, poles and shoes for children costs around 20 to 35 euros per day, and for 7 days around 100 to 175 euros, as renting for several days is a little cheaper than just one day. Skis, poles and shoes for children would cost around 220 to 450 euros new. Let's assume you ski for 7 days with 1 child per season, then for an equivalent set of skis you would be able to ski for around 2 times for 7 days to roughly reach the price of the purchase.
Purchased children's skis usually last for 2 or 3 seasons due to their size. If you sell the skis after two seasons, you get around 30 to 40% of the value back, or if there are several children who can use the ski sets you bought, that also saves money. So I would say that if someone goes skiing more than 10 days per season and there are other smaller children in the family, it is definitely worth buying before renting. I have put together a separate blog regarding ski service for skis (coming soon).

2. Clothing:
• Thermal Underwear: Look for warming, moisture-wicking underwear to ensure your child stays warm in cold weather.

Recommendation of good thermal underwear on Amazon:
NOOYME Thermal underwear Kids Set

• Ski jacket and pants: Waterproof and insulated clothing is a must to protect against wet and cold conditions.

Recommendation of good children's ski pants and ski jacket on Amazon:
CMP Ski trousers
CMP Ski jacket

Gloves or Mittens: Keep your child's hands warm and dry to prevent frostbite.

Recommendation of good waterproof, warm and breathable children's gloves on Amazon:

Ziener Kids Lago GTX Glove Junior Ski gloves / winter sport , water proof breathable

Ski socks: Special ski socks are important to prevent blisters and pressure points.

Recommendation of good ski socks on Amazon:
Falke Kids ski socks

Balaclava: For particularly cold and windy ski days.

Recommendation of good Balaclava on Amazon:
Balaclava for Kids

3. Helmet, ski googles and back protection:
Ski helmet: A helmet is an absolute must to protect your child from head injuries. The circumference of the child's head is important when choosing a helmet. The helmet must fit tightly without pressing.

Recommendation of good ski helmets for children on Amazon:

POC POCito Obex MIPS - Light and adjustable Ski- and Snowboard helmet for Kids with RECCO Reflector XXS (48-52cm Head circumference)

POC POCito Obex MIPS - Light and adjustable Ski- and Snowboard helmet for Kids with RECCO Reflector XS-S (51-54cm Head circumference)

POC POCito Obex MIPS - Light and adjustable Ski- and Snowboard helmet for Kids with RECCO Reflector X M-L (55-58cm Head circumference)

• Safety goggles: High-quality ski goggles protect the eyes from wind, snow and UV radiation.

Recommendation of good ski goggles on Amazon:

RIOROO Ski goggles Kids, 3-14 years for boys and girls 100% OTG UV-protection anti fog

• Back protection: A back protection is very important and should be part of the standard safety equipment for all

Recommendation of good ski goggles on Amazon:

Komperdell Ballistic Vest Junior

4. Backpack:

Backpack: A small backpack is handy for carrying snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, and extra clothing. A second pair of socks and a second pair of gloves for each child definitely belong in the backpack. The backpack should have a capacity of around 30 liters and be comfortable. In addition to the carrying straps, a lap belt is also highly recommended, as this will keep the backpack more stable on your back when skiing downhill.

Recommended good backpack on Amazon:

Deuter Gröden backpack

Promote children's motivation

Motivating your children is the key to a successful ski trip. Here are some tried and tested ways to get your child excited about skiing:
1. Emphasize the fun: Explain to your children that skiing is an exciting and fun activity. Play games on the slopes and celebrate small successes.
A game directly when skiing on the slopes is the so-called glacier or snowworm. This is particularly suitable on easy blue slopes. As an adult, you drive ahead and use the width of the slope as much as possible and make wide turns, not too steep, and spread your arms out to form a wing, the children follow in your line and also spread their arms out. Each swing is announced by the word swing left (left arm goes down, upper body leans slightly to the left  left turn), then the same with the right turn, right arm goes down and upper body leans to the right
2. Set rewards: Encourage your children to set goals, such as successfully completing a new downhill run. Reward them with small gifts to recognize their performance.
3. Group activities: Skiing with friends or in a group can increase motivation. Children can encourage each other and learn from each other.
4. Show patience: Give your children time to get used to skiing. It's completely normal to be unsure at first. Be patient and encourage your child to improve step by step.

Ski school

Children should take part in a ski course at least once or twice for 1 week. A coherent course is recommended. My many years of experience also showed that children aged 5 and over learn to ski very quickly in order to be safe on blue slopes, but it is very difficult for the 2 to 4 year old age group to be able to ski on blue slopes independently.
The so-called Bambini ski course therefore offers more to give the children the feeling of being on skis, and also to relieve the parents of the supervision requirement from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or until 3 p.m. From the age of 5, children are usually able to implement what is shown very quickly.
The parents have to decide for themselves the question of how often a child should go to a ski course. The recommendation shown above should be viewed as minimal.

Choose slopes based on ability

Choosing the right slope is crucial so that your child is neither overwhelmed nor under-challenged. It is important that you find out in advance which slopes you can ski. A very good overview of all ski areas worldwide with the corresponding panoramic maps is available at www.skiresort.de. Ski areas mark their slopes according to difficulty:
1. Blue slopes (easy): These slopes are ideal for beginners and children. They are gently sloped and wide, making learning and practicing easier.
2. Red slopes (intermediate): These slopes are suitable for advanced skiers and older children. They are steeper and require more control and technique.
3. Black slopes (difficult):
Black slopes are extremely demanding and should only be skied by experienced skiers and older children or teenagers.
Assessing your child's skiing ability is crucial to choosing the right slope. Beginners should always start with blue slopes and gradually progress as they feel more confident.

As a very rough estimate, a child who has not yet mastered the parallel turn confidently on steeper terrain is only suitable for blue slopes. Plow turns are very strenuous and energy-consuming, especially for children on red slopes, and should therefore only be attempted when the children have mastered the parallel turn perfectly. Black slopes can only be skied by very experienced and very safe children, which is on average difficult to achieve before the age of 8.
It is very important not to overwhelm the children and definitely not to force them, as this can completely take away the fun and, especially on black slopes, poses a significant risk of injury.

Children need regular breaks, and a day of skiing shouldn't be too long. Smaller children around 2-5 years old usually drive a maximum of 2-3 hours a day! If you are on the slopes with the children at 10 a.m., the little ones will be completely exhausted by lunchtime at 12 p.m.
Normally you should take a break of at least 10 to 15 minutes after approx. 1-1.5 hours but at the latest after 2 hours. It is advisable to take the break in a hut as the little ones also need to warm up.
Older children and young people can usually ride the whole day with 1-2 breaks, although experience has shown that the lunch break to eat, drink and warm up is very welcome here too. Accept it when the children can no longer do it and end the day of skiing when you see that it is no longer possible.

Lifts and transport
Cable car tickets:
Always have the children's/young people's ID with you, as the cable car cashier staff checks their age sporadically. Ticket prices vary greatly depending on the country and ski area. You can find information about the prices here:
As a general rule, you can say that children's tickets often mean 50% of the adult ticket and youth tickets (16 to 18 years old) usually mean 2/3 of the adult price. Children under 6 years of age usually travel for free. Some ski areas also offer the drag lifts in the valley for free use, which can be interesting for beginners if there is snow in the valley areas.

When skiing with children, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of lifts found in ski resorts:

1. Cable cars: Cable cars offer protection from weather influences such as wind and cold and are ideal for children as they are transported comfortably and safely. For ski lengths up to approx. 120 cm, the skis should not be carried on the outside of the cabin, but instead be transported inside the cabin. Otherwise, the skis may fall out of the outside holder because the ski length up to the binding is too short. In a broader sense, this also includes funitels and aerial tramways.

2. Chairlifts: Coupled chairlifts are comfortable because they lift skiers off the ground and carry them comfortably to the top. The speed in the stations is slow and therefore very comfortable for children to get started. Uncoupled chairlifts can be more challenging for children as they require more skill to get on and off as the speed in the stations corresponds to the rope speed, which is relatively fast and uncomfortable for boarding with children. With these chair lifts you should definitely lift the children and support the chair with their bodies as they get on. Also talk to the lift staff here; they usually slow down the speed themselves if you see smaller children getting on. They often also help with lifting the children. If you have 2 smaller children in the chair, you should either be 2 adults or ask someone to help them. Please take into account that small children can also slip underneath the safety bar. Some chairlifts have therefore installed special additional restraint devices on the arms of the chairs.

3. T-bar lifts: T-bar lifts, be it the T-anchor or the button lift, require a certain level of skill and balance. Children should only ride on drag lifts if they feel safe and have sufficient skiing experience. Safe parallel ski guidance is essential for T-anchor lifts to maintain the tow track. Small children who don't yet know this have to ride between an adult's legs in order to stay in the tow lane. If the children's skis, which are being dragged between the adult's legs, cross each other, the children must be briefly lifted up in the tow lift.
Button lifts can usually be used by children relatively quickly on their own. Every skiing child should know how to use drag lifts, even though this type of lift is becoming increasingly rare and is still very common, especially on glaciers.

Important utensils in the backpack
A well-packed backpack is important to ensure your child is well taken care of while skiing. Here are some important items to include in the backpack:

1. Water: Keep your child hydrated by carrying plenty of water or lukewarm tea in the unbreakable thermos. Skiing can be strenuous, and the air at higher elevations is often dry.

2. Snacks: Energy bars, fruit or granola bars are great on-the-go snacks to keep energy levels up. I advise against chocolate and gummy bears due to their high sugar content.

3. Sun protection:
Sunscreen and lip balm with UV protection are important to protect the skin from sunburn and dehydration. Sunglasses or ski goggles protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation and glare. The sun protection factor should be 50 or 50+, as the sun's rays and reflections on snow are significantly stronger than on flat land.

4. Extra clothing: Pack extra gloves, socks, and a hat (balaclava) in case your child gets wet or feels cold.

5. Handkerchiefs: I can always recommend them from my own experience.

6. Disinfectant spray:
Should always be ready in your backpack as children often touch things that are not good.

7. First aid kit (outdoor): Should always be with you in a well-filled backpack. A rescue blanket should always be with you.

Recommendation of a good first aid kit on Amazon:
First Aid set

8. Bivouac bag:
Anyone who is outside in cold temperatures, including on the slopes, should have a bivouack bag with them in case of emergencies, whether skiing, hiking or other mountain sports. A bivouac bag costs almost nothing, but saves lives. The landlord of the Matrashaus, Roman Kurz, can tell you a storyn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuONdK9oICY (only German)).

Recommendation of a good bivouack bag on Amazon:
Bivouac bag

Safety Instructions

Finally, I would like to highlight some important safety tips for skiing with children:

1. Weather conditions:
Always pay attention to the current weather conditions and dress your child accordingly. Temperatures in the mountains can vary greatly, and wind and snow can have a significant impact on how you feel. Please note the wind chill effect, i.e. the perceived temperature and additional cooling caused by the wind.
An example: The air temperature is -5°C and wind is 0 km/h, then the wind chill temperature is also -5°C. However, if there is a wind of 60 km/h, the wind chill temperature is already -15.7°C, which can cause frostbite.
Also take into account the decrease in temperature with altitude. For every 100 meters of altitude, the temperature decreases by approx. 0.65°C, which is already 6.5°C less with a 1000m difference in altitude between the valley and the mountain! Some ski areas have altitude differences of up to 2000 m.
Please also take snow conditions into account. Icy slopes with little snow / artificial snow are much more difficult to negotiate than soft slopes with a lot of snow. The slope location (e.g. south side, north side) also has a significant influence on the condition. If there is little snow, there is a significant risk of injury if you accidentally leave the piste due to rocks and debris as well as forest areas.

2. Avalanche danger: Find out about current avalanche dangers and follow the recommendations of local authorities. If you want to ski off the marked slopes, you should inform yourself about the avalanche situation and have the necessary safety equipment with you. I don't recommend off-road skiing with children who are also very good at skiing, as the dangers are very difficult to assess for non-experts.

Overview of the warning levels:

1. Low Danger (Level 1):
Color green
Description: The danger of avalanches is low. Avalanches usually only occur when conditions are very
unfavorable Conditions or possible on steep, extreme slopes.
2. Moderate Danger (Level 2):
Color yellow
Description: The danger of avalanches is moderate. Avalanches are in certain areas and at certain
Conditions possible. Caution is advised.

3. Significant Danger (Level 3):
Color orange
Description: The danger of avalanches is considerable. Avalanches are likely, especially on steep slopes.
Dangerous avalanche situations can occur.

4. Great Danger (Level 4):
Red color
Description: The danger of avalanches is high. Avalanches are very likely and can happen in less
occur on steep terrain. The risk of large, dangerous avalanches is high.

5. Very High Danger (Level 5):
Color: Black
Description: The danger of avalanches is very high. Avalanches are inevitable and can happen in many areas
also endanger the roads and settlements. The terrain is extremely dangerous.

3. Snow groomers: Be aware that snow groomers can work on the slopes. Stay away from them and follow safety instructions. Snow groomers only operate sporadically on the slopes during skiing, but they are clearly visible and audible thanks to the warning tone and yellow light.

4. Ski service and ski adjustments: Please carry out regular ski service (edge ​​grinding, waxing) to ensure the safety of the skis and their grip on the slopes. Children's bindings should be adjusted once at the beginning of the season, provided their weight, size and ski boots do not change. If you change these variables, please have them set again. Please go to a specialist shop to have the setting checked with an electronic binding tester. I explained how to do the ski service yourself in another blog.
Skiing with children can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. With the right equipment, a positive attitude and knowledge of the right slopes and lifts, you can ensure your children enjoy skiing to the fullest and stay safe while doing so. Don't forget to share the joy of skiing and create valuable memories together. Be fair, calm and considerate of others. I am happy to answer any questions or

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Dr. Christian Hirsch
Landgerichtsstr. 38 a
85435 Erding
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