The Ins and Outs of Kids Ski Rentals

If you’re planning to take your kids skiing or riding for the first time, you probably have many questions about skiing, snowboarding, and equipment rentals. Don’t worry. Everyone from the most experienced skiers and riders to those on a ski vacation for the first time has questions about equipment needs, rentals, and safety when protecting their child.

Adults planning a ski vacation need to know a few basics about kids’ ski rentals.

Below, we break down the entire rental process from the initial planning through returning your equipment. Kids ski rentals are found everywhere in a variety of ways.The suggestions below generally apply to any ski resort in North America, but it’s best to research your specific destination once you’ve made your plans. Use our tips below as a checklist to ensure you have all of your bases covered.

First Steps

This may seem obvious, but the first step to any successful mountain ski vacation is ensuring that your youngster likes the cold weather. Most parents will start by playing in the snow at home, throwing snowballs, and even sledding. This is an excellent way to expose your child to the cold weather and the processes involved in getting prepared to go outside. It can also show them how fun it is! Looking at pictures of mountains and talking about skiing with your child can also be beneficial, especially if you live in a climate where it rarely snows. Once you’ve established a love for the outdoors when it’s cold, it’s time to plan your family ski vacation.

Ski Gear Rentals

Once you have selected your ski destination and travel arrangements, your first move should be to secure lodging and lift tickets for your vacation. This will ensure that you have a place to stay and access the mountain for the dates you want to ski or snowboard. Once you set those plans, it’s time to consider gear and equipment rental and kids ski rentals options.

There are more than 9 million active skiers and snowboarders in the United States, and most rent their ski and snowboarding equipment. This is especially true with children since kids continue to grow year after year. It can get costly if you purchase new ski gear every year, so most families rent while on vacation. All ski rental shops should offer an excellent selection of equipment for children.

First, you’ll need to decide if the child is going to ski or snowboard. There is no honest answer to this question. It is merely a personal preference. Many people out there do both, and children are typically better at learning both at a young age if that is your preference. All popular ski resorts in North America should offer skiing and snowboarding lessons, but classes may be separated or at different times. Keep this in mind when making your plans.

Bring What You Can From Home

Next, it’s best to see if you have any winter gear from home that you can use on a ski vacation. This could include an oversized winter jacket, ski pants, gloves, thermal underwear, heavy socks, sunglasses or goggles, earmuffs, scarves, and additional items you can layer. When on the mountain, it’s best to dress warmly in layers and peel off clothing as needed. It’s always better to have too much than not enough! When you arrive, you should be able to rent or buy most of these items at the ski resort or rental shop, but be warned that the pricing may be elevated in some stores. It is recommended that you secure most of these items beforehand.

The essential gear for skiing includes a set of skis, a pair of ski boots, and a set of poles. Helmets are strongly encouraged and often required at many resorts as well. Protective ski goggles are also strongly recommended, as they get exceptionally bright on the slopes with the sun glaring off the snow. Ski pants are also a popular rental, as most people don’t own a pair.

For snowboarding, you need a board, along with bindings and boots. You will also need a pair of snowboarding gloves, different from regular gloves. We recommend a helmet. (Many resorts require them.) Impact shorts, knee pads, and elbow pads are also good. Snowboarding apparel is often different from ski gear, so jackets and pants will have a different look and feel in some instances.

Where to Rent Ski Gear

A good ski shop should have excellent quality standard equipment and may also offer premium equipment for rental including kids ski rentals. Most ski rental shops will have package deals that give you everything you need, and many have group plans for adults and children combos. Don’t worry about knowing everyone’s boot size or measurements. The seasoned professionals at most ski shops are eager to assist in getting the appropriate dimensions and fit. Many times, it’s best to trust their judgment and experience, especially if you are new to skiing or riding. But don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak out and tell them if something doesn’t fit or is bothersome. They are there to help.

kids ski rentals
A quality ski rental shop should have ski gear and equipment available in varying sizes for children.

Pro tip: There are ski rental delivery companies available at many top resorts that will come directly to your hotel, condominium, or private home and fit your entire group for a skiing and snowboarding adventure. Some popular American companies include Ski Butlers, Door 2 Door, and This may be a great option if you’re looking to save time or the hassle of going to a ski rental shop. When your vacation is over, they will return and pick up everything! This can be an excellent option for kids ski rentals, especially if you have more than one child to outfit.

What Age Can Kids Start Skiing?

Generally, ski lessons for kids begin around age 4. Most ski resorts in North America offer ski lessons to children aged 4 and over, although they may start at 3 years old. Some private ski instructors may provide lessons to children as young as 2 1/2 years old. It largely depends on the child’s physical and emotional development.

First Time on the Slopes

Lessons at this tender age should be short and fun. It is mostly about positively introducing a toddler to the mountain while touching on the physical fundamentals. While it is a slow and patient process, you will be surprised how quickly kids pick up skiing or snowboarding. (Often faster than their parents!) If you’re planning a ski vacation for first-time skiers or snowboarders, you should plan on at least two days of ski lessons before you attempt to ski independently without a trained professional. Most children above kindergarten age ski independently after only a day or two of instruction. Children should continue to take lessons and hone their skills as they get older. Classes should end only after the child has complete comfort on the mountain and can maneuver safely and ensure the safety of others.

If you go to a shop, you will spend about an hour getting fitted for your equipment. There may be additional wait times during peak times during the ski season, so plan accordingly. It’s always best to reach out to your specific ski shop before your arrival to make an appointment or get instructions on how to utilize your time best.

What About Ski Poles?

A note about ski poles: It’s best to have them for your child. If your little one is taking ski lessons for the first time, the instructor may not use the poles. Some instructors teach younger skiers how to navigate appropriately without using them. This leads the youngster to rely more on balance and technique rather than using the poles to balance. Some instructors use poles from the beginning, and others introduce them later after the child has demonstrated a proven ability to balance and move down the hill without them. Don’t be surprised if you see kids (and adults) skiing without poles. Remember, ski poles are helpful when climbing the mountain, walking, or stationary turning. So it’s always best to be prepared and have ski poles for little ones when you put together kids ski rentals.

After renting skis or snowboard equipment the first time, you understand the process a little better. Your next ski trip won’t be so full of questions.

Rentals for the Occasional Skier

Getting your gear is just another step in the process for those who plan on skiing more regularly. You’ll soon know the ski brands and develop your personal preferences. As you hone the craft of skiing or riding, you begin to delve more into the particulars of the sport, such as ski length, the different types of snowboards, and varying boot styles.

Ski shops are an excellent resource for kids exploring all the sport has to offer. Most ski shops pride themselves on having all of the top gear. Like most sports, skiing and snowboarding are full of trends and dynamic changes. It’s an ever-evolving sport, and any ski shop worth its salt is sure to stay up on the latest trends and popular brands. Talk to your ski pro about what’s new and how you can elevate your kid’s game. Styles change each season, so what was in during last winter’s ski vacation isn’t always what’s popular this year. It rarely is. A good ski shop can be a Godsend to pennywise parents whose kids need to rock fresh gear.

Rentals for Those Who Ski Every Day

Believe it or not, even kids who ski or ride rent their equipment daily. It just makes sense. Gear is not cheap, and most people need help to afford to buy their kids’ new equipment every year. Almost every piece of gear used in skiing and snowboarding is based on physical size. And it’s no secret that kids grow like weeds. A parent or guardian can go broke buying a new ski jacket, ski pants, skis, goggles, gloves, and poles every ski season until the child is fully grown.

Most parents also know that kids can be rambunctious occasionally, and things sometimes break (or all the time). Renting ski gear ensures you can get a replacement or a repair if something goes wrong. In most cases, the ski shop will work with you to quickly get you back on the slopes without a hefty price tag.

Local kids who are everyday skiers also love the variety and stylish clothing options that a top ski shop offers. Today’s kids like to multitask. Maybe it’s ski today and ride tomorrow? Renting gear gives you that flexibility when purchasing all that gear could put you in the poorhouse.

Should I Buy Skis Instead of Rent?

Renting gear throughout childhood gives kids the opportunity to try different things. There are a lot of options out there in the growing sport of skiing and snowboarding. Everything from innovative new equipment to top-shelf new fashion designers that are revolutionizing the industry. A quality ski rental shop allows kids to sample the buffet and choose what’s best for their style and taste.

Most skiers and riders wait until they’ve reached the level of everyday skiers/riders before they purchase gear. Even then, many will continue to rent until they reach almost full-grown age, somewhere around age 18-20. Athletes who live an active lifestyle can get years of use out of quality equipment. If you care and maintain it properly.