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5 Top Tips for Skiing With Your Kids

August 3, 2018
Jen Houltham
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Jen Houltham

Make your family snow trip easy peasy – here are our 5 Top Tips for skiing with your kids on your Queenstown or Wanaka holiday!


Our first top tip for heading up the mountain for a family ski holiday in New Zealand is to get yourselves all sorted the day before. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a stray ski sock or glove in the morning while you’re wrangling a couple of kids, breakfast & getting yourself ready in the process!

If you’ve got the space, our best tip is to lay everything out the night before, in order the kids will put them on the next morning. It gives you a chance to make sure everything is in the right place. Do it with a glass of wine once the kids are in bed… you don’t want them messing up your piles before the morning!

When you’re renting ski or snowboard gear from Cardrona, you can even pick up your gear the day before from our Queenstown or Wanaka offices – makes the next morning SO much easier!! If they’re booked in one of our kids’ programmes (Ski Kindy or Skiwees/Lowriders), then rental gear is available on-site & our team will get them fitted out.


Knowing what the weather forecast is doing is key to having a good time on the slopes with your kids. If it’s looking a little chillier, pack a few extra layers for the kids. It’s always better to ditch layers than trying to make your fleece fit a 6-year-old…

Kids do get warm when they ski & ride so don’t overdo the body layers, but do cover up their cheeks & nose with a cosy neck warmer.

Cardrona’s daily Snow Report gets updated just after 6am each day – leave the page bookmarked on your device & give it a check when you get up. It’ll tell you everything happening up on the mountain that day & what to expect weather-wise.


This is SO important for a good day on the slopes with your littlies! Really take your time to make sure:

  • Their socks aren’t bunched
  • Their ski or snowboard boots fit them well
  • Both layers of their ski pants are over their boots (not inside them!)
  • Their neck/face warmers don’t have any gaps on a cold day
  • All layers under their ski jacket are tucked into each other
  • Their gloves are the right size, warm & waterproof
  • RFID lift passes are in a high jacket pocket or sleeve pocket if they have one (so they can reach the scanning gates)

One pinch point or cold point can mean the end of your day on the slopes, so if you’ve double checked all the above they should be good to go for hours! A warm kid is a happy kid…

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…with aaaaall the things your grommies may need:

  • Tissues (a MUST for cold noses!)
  • Muesli bars
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Goggle bag (to wipe/clean goggles)

If you forget anything, at Cardrona we’ve got 8 cafés & restaurants around the mountain to grab food from, plus the awesome on-mountain Cardrona General Store!


Our final tip for skiing or snowboarding with your kids is to remember that you’re shredding at their pace, not yours… Just because you’re frothing to take them to the top of the mountain or down the Arcadia Chutes doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to!

Start them off on terrain they know, that they feel comfortable turning & stopping on. Have a look at the ski area trail map & see what the next step is.

At Cardrona, a general terrain progression for your kids (once they’ve mastered each step) is:

  • Start on the Beginners’ Area (small conveyor & big covered conveyor)
  • Head up in a gondola cabin on the McDougall’s Chondola & ski down Skyline
  • Up the Chondola & down McDougall’s trail
  • From the top of the Chondola out to Captain’s Basin via Shaun’s Way/A Real Journey
  • Captain’s Basin
  • Whitestar Express
  • Valley View

If you’d rather we took care of the progression for you, you can book your kids into single day or multi-day programmes with group lessons, lunch & care all included – check out our 4-Day Adventure Programmes or single day Kids’ Group Lessons + Kids’ Club for more info!

We really recommend getting a lesson for your child – like in any learning situation they’ll listen better to an instructor & learn more with kids their own age. There are heeeaps of different lesson options for all ages & levels, so you can pick the one that fits in best with your holiday plans.

We can’t wait to see you & the kids up here soon!

About the Author

Jen Houltham

Jen is Cardrona's resident word nerd. She's out & about on the mountain most days; a big fan of carving groomed runs, powder hunting & laps through Lil' Bucks!

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