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It’s no secret that skiing during the 2020-21 ski season is going to look a lot different than it has in the past.
However just because things are going to look different doesn’t mean that you should cancel your ski season. With a little bit of planning and advanced research, you can easily have a fantastic ski season this year as long as you know what to expect.
While this year’s ski season will be different for everyone, skiing during COVID may be especially difficult for families with young children. Lodge access will be minimal which means warming up and taking breaks for little legs will be harder to do.
Our family has already had our first few ski days of the year, and it was a bit of an adjustment for everyone. Our kids goggles kept fogging up because their masks were under them, there were a few meltdowns from our toddler who just wanted to go inside for hot cocoa, and also several times where we had to ask others to give us more space in the lift line.
That being said, we are beyond thrilled to have a family ski season, even if it’s overshadowed by COVID! Here we’re going to share with you lots of tips and tricks to help you navigate this new normal and to have an awesome ski season with your kids during COVID.
Warm-Up At The Car
This season your car is the new Lodge. Most ski resorts are only allowing limited access to lodges primarily for grab-and-go food and for shortstops to the bathroom. Plan on using your car as your main spot to take breaks to warm up and eat your food, since ski lodges during COVID aren’t the best option
Our family is planning on spending this season ski tailgating. We will be bringing camping chairs, electric blankets that plug into the car, and a slow cooker for the car for lots of warm food that’s ready to eat. We will also have a giant thermos full of hot chocolate for the kids who need to warm up.
Making our car the new ski lodge during COVID feels like one of the best things that we can do to keep ourselves and others safe at the ski resort during COVID.
Plan on getting up to the ski resort early in the morning so that you can park close to the hill, making trips back to the car easy.
Invest In Good Ski Gear
If there’s ever been a time to really invest in good ski gear for your kids, this is the year. This year you will be outside for the entire ski day, not just chunks of a few hours with a lodge break in between. This will be a huge adjustment for most kids and for many kids, their gear simply isn’t up to the task especially on wet or snowy days.
We’ve written a lot about how to choose the best ski gear for kids so if you’re not sure what are you need to get for your kids make sure to take a look at some of our articles.
Best Kids Waterproof Mittens and Gloves
Best Kids Base Layers (some great discounts in this article)
Best Winter Coats for Kids
Best Waterproof Ski Pants for Kids
Best Winter Boots for Kids
The most important pieces of ski gear for your kids this year will be good base layers, waterproof gloves or mittens, and waterproof outerwear.
This season, good gear will sell out FAST, so plan on stocking up soon!
This season, we are testing out the new waterproof layering system from Shred Dog kids ski gear, and IT’S INCREDIBLE! If you want to get your kids the most waterproof and warmest ski gear available, THIS IS IT! Read our full Shred Dog review, and use the code BTK25 for 25% off your order, or BTK35 for 35% off an order of $400 or more. Buy Shred Dog HERE.
Since weather conditions often do change throughout the day, make sure to dress in layers this season and it also wouldn’t hurt to throw an extra layer of clothing into your backpack in case the weather turns extra cold.
Don’t Count On Child Care or Ski School
Most resorts have gotten rid of a lot of their children’s ski services. Nearly all ski resorts have eliminated childcare during COVID, and most resorts are limiting group ski school lessons to kids ages 7 and older.
Don’t worry, it’s really not that hard to teach your own kids to ski! We’ve talked about that over and over on here, and have tons of tips for teaching kids to ski, and even how you can get your toddler skiing.
Also, if you’re feeling overwhelmed about ski gear for little kids, without a ski school to guide you, check out these great articles on the best ski gear for toddlers, and the best ski gear for preschoolers.
This year resorts will be operating at a limited capacity. Many ski resorts are requiring reservations for lift tickets as well as parking. This means that you’ll need to plan your ski trip as far in advance as you possibly can. If you wait until the last minute, chances are you won’t be able to ski because of the booked reservation system (this is already becoming a problem at many resorts).
Also, make sure to check for COVID-19 travel advisories if you are going to be traveling away from home. Although a mountain ski escape it’s always tempting, the most important thing this winter is to stay safe.
Avoid Peak Times
This season it will be important to plan your family ski trip to avoid the more crowded times. I highly recommend avoiding skiing during the holidays, and whenever possible I encourage people to ski midweek. Since it’s well-known that one of the best ways to avoid the COVID virus while skiing is to stay away from crowds of people, plan your ski trip when there will be the least number of people there.
If you have flexibility with your work this could be a great time of year to start working weekends and taking time off in the middle of the week. Depending on your school situation this could also work out really well for kids in remote learning situations. This will give you an opportunity to still get lots of ski time in with fewer crowds, shorter lines, and more safety.
Regular Ski Masks Won’t Work
In the past, we have traditionally worn single-layer Buffs or neck gaiter to keep us warm while skiing. Most ski resorts are not accepting this as an appropriate ski mask during COVID-19. At Solitude where our family skis, staff were on hand to ensure that visitors had a double or triple layer mask before being allowed to visit the bathrooms.
Plan on wearing a thicker double layer mask while skiing during COVID, or an everyday face mask worn under your neck gaiter. Most resorts are requiring ski face masks while you’re waiting in lines, walking around the base area, or riding the lift.
We’ve found that keeping a double layer neck gaiter pulled up high enough to cover the nose and mouth can be difficult to do, without tucking it under your goggles (which makes your goggles fog up. We recommend wearing an athletic face mask with a buff on top for warmth.
If you’ve got young kids on your COVID ski trip, plan on bringing at least two masks for them during the day since their masks will often get wet from licking them during the day. Trade out their masks at lunchtime for a dry one, or just stash one in their pocket so you can grab it whenever it’s needed.
Bring Everything You Need With You
If you really want to simplify your ski day during COVID, plan on packing a backpack with everything that you need during the day. Instead of relying on the lodge for your hot cocoa, lunch, and snacks bring them along with you in a backpack.
Growing up, my parents would always carry a backpack that had sandwiches a thermos full of hot cocoa and a few water bottles and snacks. They would carry this around with them on the hill and whenever we were hungry for lunch, we would pull over into the trees, take our skis off, and have a winter picnic.
I really like this backpack since it doesn’t have lots of extra straps or buckles that could get caught on the chairlift.
This is a great option for families to not only save money but to also make some really cool memories, all while staying safe. While this may not work well for families with young kids, it’s a really fantastic plan if you’re skiing with older kids or teens.
Check The Weather
During a normal ski year, if you get caught in a windstorm or a blizzard, most people head into the lodge for protection from the storm. Since that won’t be an option for most of this COVID ski season, make sure that you know what the weather will be ahead of time. If you’re skiing with kids it will be especially difficult for them to stay warm and enjoy skiing if the weather is bad.
Plan your COVID family ski trip when the weather will be the best, even if that might not be the most convenient time to go. If the weather is good your family will enjoy your time skiing together during covid-19 and skiing will continue to be just as fun as it always was.
Set Realistic Expectations
In the past, we have been one of those families that always lets our kids warm up in the lodge with hot cocoa. This has been a great way to rest their legs and also to warm them up on cold days.
Since spending time in the lodge with kids during covid-19 you may need to adjust your ski day accordingly. For many families, this will mean but you just need to shorten your ski day.
Look for ski resorts that offer half-day lift tickets during COVID to take advantage of lower pricing and also to maximize your time on the hill. Read this article to check out what to expect from Utah ski resorts during COVID.
We have found that our kids do best when we ski in the afternoon. Not only are the temperatures warmer then, but by the end of the day the crowd starts to die down which is always a bonus. We also can feed them lunch in the car on the way up which helps to maximize our time on the snow.
Although it can be discouraging to not get a full ski day and as an adult, remember that a half ski day is better than no ski day at all. Be realistic with your expectations so that everyone ends the ski season on a positive note.
Buy A Season Ski Pass During COVID
With so many unpredictable factors in this COVID ski season, this is absolutely a year to splurge on a season ski pass. This will allow you so much more flexibility during the ski season. I also find that with a season pass, I don’t put as much pressure on each day to be AMAZING. If we get up to the ski hill and the weather is bad, we ski a few runs and then go home.
If you show up to the resort and the crowds are too much for your comfort, head home and ski on a less crowded day instead.
Many resorts are also offering pass protection in case of a shutdown, so that helps make buying a ski pass during COVD much more reassuring.
Absolutely, skiing can be a very safe activity during COVID.
Skiing can be a great outdoor activity during COVID if you’re safe. Skiing during COVID is safer when you wear a mask, social distance, and avoid crowded areas. Avoid riding the ski chairlift with people outside of your family during COVID to prevent the risk of germs spreading. Do not ski during COVID if you are sick.
Most ski resorts are requiring guests to wear a double or triple layer face mask this season. Traditional single-layer Buffs are not permitted many places, so plan on something thicker.
Yes, ski resorts will still allow children to ski during COVID, though many of them have gotten rid of their child care, as well as ski school for younger children.