Off-host stages of temperate parasites must cope with low temperatures. Cold tolerance is often highest in winter, as a result of diapause and cold acclimation, and low during the active summer stages. In some blood-feeding ectoparasites, offspring provisioning determines cold tolerance through all the non-feeding, off-host stages. Large size increases survival in the cold, but so far seasonal variation in within-female offspring size has not been associated with offspring cold tolerance. The deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) reproduces on cervids from autumn to spring. Newborn pupae drop off the host, facing frosts without any acclimation. We examined cold tolerance through 4 seasons and from birth to adulthood by means of short- and long-term frost exposure. We expected females to produce more tolerant offspring in winter than in spring. Large spring pupae survived prolonged frosts better than did small winter pupae. Thus more tolerant offspring were not produced when the temperature outside the host is at its lowest. Unexpectedly, the freezing points were −20°C or below all year round. We showed that high cold tolerance is possible without acclimation regardless of life stage, which presumably correlates with other survival characteristics, such as the starvation resistance of free-living ectoparasites.