The Ultimate Packing List for Your Next Ski Trip
Our family always looks forward to our annual ski trips and even though I’m personally not great at the sport, I love watching my kids ski and enjoy their time on the mountain. I may not be the queen of skiing but I have mastered the art of packing! With three kids and a life full of travel my ability to pack for all types of vacations has come in handy. I hope this ski trip packing list will help you prepare for your time on the slopes!
Ski Trip Apparel
Let’s start with your ski clothes. The key to winter sports is layering. Look for items that provide comfort, dryness, and warmth. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer and wool ski socks (repeat after me…”wool sock”), and make sure to have a proper fit to avoid bunching and numbness. Outer layers, such as snow pants and jacket shells, should block moisture and wind.
1. Base Layer
Your base layer is very important and is the best way to ensure that you’re going to be warm on the slopes. When shopping for base layers read the reviews. Frequent skiers are the best at knowing which essential ski gear is a must-have. Personally, I love Under Armours 4.0 Base leggings and crew-neck shirt. It was worth the initial investment because now I use this same base layer set year after year.
2. Ski Pants
Let’s talk about ski pants, these will be worn over your base layer. It’s important to choose ski pants that fit well. Nothing will make you more uncomfortable on the mountain than having ski pants that are too tight or too loose. You can order them online just carefully review their sizing charts and be sure that you’ll have time before your trip to return them for a different size if needed. I don’t have a “favorite” brand that I always wear however I think REI has the best selection for both men and women (look for waterproof ski pants). You can get either ski pants or ski bibs, both work well. I’m a fan of ski bibs because I fall a lot and I think they work best at keeping the snow out.
3. Ski Jacket
There are so many different styles of ski jackets out there. I think there are two important things to remember when purchasing the right one for you: 1) it’s all about the pockets. You’re going to want a place to keep your lift tickets, cell phones, tissues and lip balm. Get a jacket that has room for all of your essentials. 2) It needs to be lightweight! Trust me, it gets much warmer than expected when you’ve got a warm base layer and you’ve been going up and down the mountain.
You might think that you need a super heavy-duty jacket to stay warm but that’s not the case. Ideally, find a warm waterproof ski jacket that won’t weigh you down. Fleece jackets that are fleece on the outside are not waterproof so instead find a waterproof jacket that is fleece lined.
4. Neck Warmers
Do not underestimate how incredibly valuable a neckwarmer is. I always pack several so that I can change them out during my trip. These work really well to keep your neck and face warm. You’ll want a way to keep the skin on your face protected when your skiing down the slopes. To avoid having a wind-chapped face at the end of the day-use your neck warmer or balaclavas to keep your skin covered.
Tip: Most ski resorts are requiring you to wear a mask in certain areas of the resort. Neck warmers and neck gaiters can easily be used in place of a mask.
When you’re trying to stay warm it’s important to remember all the layers of clothing that you need and a lot of heat can escape from your head! Keeping a warm hat with you at all times will be useful–trust us! Even if you’re skiing with a helmet try to keep a hat tucked away in one of the pockets of your ski jackets so that when you take a break from the slopes you’ll have a way to keep your head and ears protected from the cold. I don’t recommend wearing a hat with your ski helmet on because it doesn’t allow you to properly tighten the ski helmet which is designed to keep you safe.
Keeping your hands warm is essential when skiing and the key is to buy the right pair of gloves for a ski trip! When your fingers are cold and numb you won’t be able to grip your ski poles or anything you may need to hold onto. There are many types of gloves but I recommend finding a pair that isn’t too thick and stiff. I like gloves that keep my hands warm but still allow my hands the flexibility to move around and easily grip things. Purchase waterproof gloves because wet + cold hands do NOT mix!
7. Ski Socks
All layers of clothing are important when you’re trying to protect yourself from the harsh cold and weather that you’ll encounter on a ski trip. However, we want to stress the importance of getting the right type of socks for your winter vacation where you’ll be spending hours in the snow. We can tell you from personal experience that WOOL socks are the ONLY way to go. This is the best way to ensure that your feet stay. On our list of ski trip essentials we always put a pair of socks (wool socks) at the top of our list.
8. Winter Boots
These are not the same boots that you will use while skiing but rather they are the boots you’ll wear when you’re off the slopes and walking around in the snow. I’ve purchased many pairs of snow boots but these Sorel boots are 100% my favorite and they keep my feet warm all day. It’s important to find a pair that doesn’t easily slip on icy patches and can hold up to the elements. Like our hands, if our feet get cold and wet, we will quickly become cranky and frustrated. Purchasing the right items will really make all the difference!
Ski Gear & Equipment
What type of ski equipment will you need on your ski trip? You’ll need a pair of skis, ski poles, ski boots, bindings, goggles, and a helmet. Don’t feel overwhelmed–these items can be rented at the ski resort or at someplace nearby. For anyone that is new to the support I highly recommend renting your ski gear instead of purchasing them. Unless you plan to ski frequently the initial investment in gear can be an expensive one. Once you have more experience, you may want to purchase higher quality equipment that suits your ski style and provides a better fit.
I would recommend buying your own ski goggles. Having goggles that do not fit well can really put a damper on your experience. Find a pair that fits nicely and allows you to easily see your surroundings. This is another item that I would purchase in advance so that you allow enough time to exchange them for another pair if needed. I have spent enough time miserable on the mountain because my goggles were not fitting properly and it was distracting me from enjoying my time on the mountain.
Essentials for Your Pockets or Backpack
Like we mentioned previously, the plus side of ski jackets is the endless pockets to store hand warmers, snacks, tissues, and chapstick. A waterproof backpack can store larger items and is especially useful to keep extra items on hand all day if you are skiing with children or bringing your own lunch/water for the day. You may not notice dehydration or sunburn in the cold weather like you would in summer sports but it can happen so don’t forget to pack a water bottle and wear SPF.
Additional Ski Essentials
- Waterproof Backpack
- Travel Tissues
- Lip Balm
- Hand Warmers
- First Aid Kit
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Snacks (protein bars)
Skiing should be an activity that gets your family outdoors and away from electronics, but it is always fun to capture the action. Action cameras are built to withstand cold temperatures, water, and impact, plus they can mount to your ski helmet. We always take our GoPro on our ski trips! We also have a portable charger with us at all times so that we can keep our phones charged in case we get separated from our group on the mountain.
Packing for Kids
Adequately fitted ski equipment is especially important for kids. Helmets or skis that are too big can be unsafe, and apparel that is too small can be uncomfortable and even painful. Kids may also need extra warmth; maybe consider a balaclava or bib snow pants. Pack snacks that you know they will enjoy that also provide a healthy energy boost. Don’t forget to pack extra clothes to keep them dry and warm after a long day of skiing!
Kids grow out of things so quickly that we’ve shopped for their snow gear and ski clothes at local snow shops that have previously owned items. We’ve saved so much money purchasing their stuff this way and I’m not as sad when they grow out of it by the next ski season. I also pack extra socks and base layers because they will sometimes change a couple of times a day especially if we take a break at the resorts or cabin before going back out on the slopes again.
Kids Ski Packing List
- Base Layers
- Ski Bibs or Pants (we prefer the bibs)
- Ski Jackets
- Neck Warmers
- Wool Socks (bring lots of extra pairs)
- Winter Boots (here are our favorites)
- Rent the other equipment (skis, ski poles, snowboard, bindings and helmet)
We hope this ski trip packing list will help you with your winter vacation planning. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions–we’re always happy to help!
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Last update on 2021-03-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API