Using a Child Ski Harness: What to Know and Which to Get

You can’t beat taking the family skiing in the winter. Some families start earlier than others but any parents with young kids that want to ski will need a child ski harness or a toddlers ski harness. Skiing with a ski harness not only makes it fun for young kids to ski but also much safer! A child ski harness should be in every parent’s ski kit if they have young kids.

Read on as we cover what age kids need a child ski harness, if ski harnesses are only for toddlers and how to teach your kid to ski using a harness.

Skiing with a child ski harness.
Skiing with a ski harness. Photo Credit: David Gleason (Flickr CC)

How do I Teach My Toddler to Ski?

Teaching a toddler to ski isn’t much different from teaching them to walk. The major catch is they need to be able to walk and talk before skiing.

A lot of the resorts advise children to be three years old before learning to ski but many kids start just after they turn one on their parent’s instruction. Are they doing much?

Not really because it is still great to get them on the snow. Toddlers just need to be dressed appropriately, have the right gear and not spend too long out on the slopes. Realistically if you take a one year old on the slopes then you’ll only get in a few runs.

When just starting out with a toddler learning to ski at the age of one, you have to tell the child between your legs while doing the pizza technique to keep the speed extremely slow. This is one of the reasons a lot of parents wait until 3 years old to take their skis out on the slopes.

Plus you have to consider that you will most likely need new skis if you start a child out skiing at one but then they are still making trips to the mountain, two years later.

Pro Tip: If you teach your kid skiing at a very young age, it can be best to go with used gear since they will be growing out of their skis and boots often.

Are Ski Harnesses Good for Kids?

A child ski harness is one of the best tools in assisting to teach skiing. They are made often to be worn as a backpack with handles so the child doesn’t take off and bomb it down the ski slope.

The handles usually have a decent length so the parent can ski a little bit behind without interfering with the child’s learning. Another thing that makes child ski harnesses helpful to kids is the stretch in the handles. There isn’t an instant jerk to the child when they are learning to ski which is key.

The whole goal is to maintain control and safety of the toddler or child with the ski harness but at the same not interfere with their learning.

What Age Kids Use a Ski Harness?

Some toddlers start using a ski harness at age 2 but others start at age 3.

So How Long Does it Take for Kids to Get Off A Ski Harness?

Targeting age 6 is a good year to aim getting kids off a ski harness. At that age, they have grown out of the toddler stage, can get on the lift a little bit easier since they have hit a few growth spurts and have better control of their skis.

Kids who are ahead of the curve may be out of their ski harness by age 5, although it is helpful to have on the kids for a bit of control and getting on the lift.

You’ll often even see some 7 year olds wearing a child ski harness and there is nothing wrong with that. This is often the last year kids will be in a ski harness. As always, safety should be one of the highest priorities so if it means keeping a kid in a ski harness till age 7, there is no issues with that.

How Do You Teach a Child to Ski with a Harness?

Teaching a child to ski with a harness is easy because of the built in leashes. While keeping control of the child, gently tugging on the leash can help teach a child to turn to either side. The leashes on a toddler ski harness are also helpful for speed control.

A parent should never pull on the leashes to get a kid to stop but they can use it to slow down the kid’s speed.

One of the best drills for toddlers starting out with a ski harness is just skiing in a straight line from parent to parent on a very small slope. From that, progressing into stopping and turns will come in natural progression.

Just remember that the little ones can’t be out on the slopes as long as adults so while they may be shredding it with their ski harness on, be sure to give them those ample breaks as well!

Skiing off harness.
Skiing off harness. Photo Credit: David Gleason (Flickr CC)

3 of the Best Ski Harness for Toddlers

Now that you know the age for a toddler or child ski harness, as well as a few drills to do in a ski harness, let’s touch on a few of the options out there.

Lucky Bums Ski Harness

Lucky Bums Child Ski Harness
Lucky Bums Child Ski Harness
  • Eight foot leashes to help with speed control and to teach turning
  • Handle to help the kids get onto the lift
  • Built in backpack to put gloves or food

The Lucky Bums Ski Harness not only helps build confidence but control as well. Putting it on a child can make for a safe and extremely fun ski day. If you want a functional child ski harness then this pretty much checks all the boxes. There aren’t many other REI ski harnesses that are made as well as the Lucky Bums

Sklon Ski Harness

For a more modern look, the Sklon Ski Harness for toddlers is an option. It looks sleeker like a Camelback pack but doesn’t have as deep as a pocket in the back. There is a drawstring baggy to store the bungee straps when in use. Some of the feature that have the Sklon Ski Harness popular are as follows –

  • Eight foot leashes to help with speed control and to teach turning
  • Handle to help the kids get onto the lift
  • Adjustable straps up to 9ft long

All the pros don’t come without a few cons though on the Sklon Trainer Harness.

  • The straps don’t seem to hold up as well to other brands tested
  • The stitching on the pack isn’t the best we have seen

It wouldn’t be our first look as we crave function over looks but some people are the opposite.

Launchpad Ski Harness

The Launchpad Ski Harness for toddlers and kids is very comparable to the Lucky Bums. It comes in less colors but it has a similar backpack style with quite a bit of storage for a little one. This is great for food, sun cream and even tissues.

The leashes are still 7 ft in length and shock absorbing as well. The Launchpad Harness, like the Lucky Bums, should last for years while a kid grows up skiing on the mountain.

How do You Use Launchpad Ski Harness

To use the Launchpad Ski Harness, it is similar to the others. The child is going to fit it snugly over their ski jacket and run their drills until they are able to do the green slopes. The handles make for optimal tools to teach the kids to turn and slow down at appropriate times.

Ski Harness Backpacks: What to Know

While all child ski harnesses mainly come in a backpack form, you’ll want a ski harness backpack with a bit of storage space. The two best for storage are the Lucky Bums and the Launch Pad harnesses.

Pro Tip: Keep your eye out at any preseason swap sales, Craigslist or Meta marketplace to find used ski harness backpacks.

What Other Gear Can Help Kids Learn to Ski

Aside from a child ski harness there is another thing that can help young kids and toddlers learn to ski. Have you seen ski tip connectors?

They are used to help toddlers and young kids maintain balance and controls when starting out. Ski tip connectors also help the occasional crossing of tips. Let’s look at a few options.

Lucky Bums Easy Wedge

Lucky Bums also makes the easy wedge in addition to their child ski harness. They help build muscle memory when developing on the slope ski skills. There are a lot of tip connectors for skis on the market and some others are edgie wedgies and wedgease. Basically they are all the same.

How Do You Use Edgie Wedgies

If you get edgie wedgies, easy wedge or wedgrease ski tip connectors, you use them all the same. They connect to the tips of the skis with a screw or a clamp and provide a bit of stability.

If you plan to run drills with a beginner skier then ski tip connectors are a great complement to a ski harness. They don’t need to be on skis all day at the slopes but are a great way for getting started and mixing in for intermittent training.

Final Thoughts on Using a Child Ski Harness

It’s not a bad thing to want to start toddlers out early skiing and in fact it can be a good thing. Although having the proper equipment and safety gear such as a child ski harness can make all the difference.

There is nothing better out there to help young skiers so if you plan on teaching kids skiing at a young age then get a child ski harness, it will be sure to make the learning easier!

Please share this post:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend