Have you thought about the idea of heading on a ski trip this winter? However, you are lost with all the different pieces of gear you may need while on the mountain. Don’t worry! Here is a quick and easy ski trip packing list to make sure you have all the essentials on your next trip.
Winter is finally back! With the start of ski season brings the opportunity to finally head to the slopes again, or maybe even for the first time. Even if you are just starting out this season, don’t be surprised when you become addicted to the skiing life. Once you start, you most likely will never stop.
But don’t head to the mountain yet. First, you need to figure out what you are going to need to take with you. A little preparation can go a long way with making the most of your upcoming skiing trip!
First, you are going to need to figure out where you want to go.
Yes, you may think all mountain weather is created equal, right? Unfortunately, this could not be farther from the truth. So, in order to pack most efficiently for you specific skiing outing, you are going to need to figure out where you are going.
The crazy truth is each mountain range has it’s own weather. Heading out west? You are going to want to layer for the afternoon sun, or make sure to bring a solid pair of shades. However, if you plan to go in the east, you may be looking at more typical overcast weather.
Thus, you are going to want to pick your mountain and do some research into typical weather on the mountain. This will help you determine the amount of layers and other type of gear you may need on your trip. This can change the items you will place on your ski trip packing list.
Second, take a look at the weather forecast.
First off, you need to understand what a typical weather day looks like in your region. Just because you are skiing doesn’t mean you should be packing the same everywhere you go. For example, a mountain in Colorado sees way more days of sun in the winter than the cloud covered slopes in Vermont. The difference will change the way you pack and prepare for your day on the mountain.
Packing the right gear is essential for enjoying your upcoming ski trip. You want to avoid having to buy an overpriced item last minute at the lodge!
The key is to pack the right gear, so you can remain light and have enough space in your bag, especially if you are flying. These are the ski essentials to bring on all of your ski trips. Although, depending where you are heading, you may have to make some slight changes to your ski trip packing list.
The Essential Items in Your Ski Trip Packing List
A hard-shell jacket is the best way to protect yourself from harsh mountain conditions. These jackets are designed to be highly waterproof, windproof, breathable, and durable.
While they provide little insulation, you will have more flexibility with controlling your warmth using mid-layers. If you prefer a jacket with insulation, you have the option to grab a 2-in-1 ski jacket. However, you will not be able to remove layers when skiing on warmer winter days.
2. Mid-Layer Jacket
Either a separate layer to your shell, or possibly a combo with your shell, the insulation layer is essential for staying warm.
Depending on the weather conditions, you can easily swap out mid layers. A down jacket is perfect for the dry, cold days, while a fleece or synthetic jacket outperforms during a warmer and wetter day. Pick and choose the right layer for the weather.
3. Base Layers
Warmth and comfort starts at the bottom of all your clothing layers. An effective top and bottom base layers are the key to staying warm on the slopes. A quality pair of merino wool layers will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable while skiing for the day.
Base layers are thin and do not take much room in your pack. So, make sure to buy a quality pair and bring them with you on every ski trip! It may also be a good idea to have a spare pair handy, especially if you plan to ski multiple days in a row.
4. Mittens or Gloves
This one is an obvious one. But nothing will kill a perfect ski day faster than ice cold fingers. You need to keep your hands warm if you plan to take as many laps as you can around the mountain.
A quality pair of gloves, or mittens, is one item you will not want to leave home without. Mittens will typically keep your fingers much warmer since they are all together.
The key is to find the best combinations of comfort, flexibility (if you use ski poles), waterproofing, and warmth. Gloves can range dramatically in price. However, if you want to make sure you have warm fingers you will need to invest in a quality pair.
5. Overhead Face and Neck Gaiter
An over the head neck gaiter is an all-in-one piece of skiing gear to keep your head, neck, and face warm. Protect yourself from the elements while you are cruising down the mountain.
You can opt to buy individuals pieces if you would rather have just a neck gaiter and separate hat. Either way, keeping the top portion of yourself warm will allow for you to ski endless runs regardless of the weather.
From sitting down on the cold lift, to the occasional wipeout, a durable and warm pair of ski pants should be on the top of your gear list. Whether you decide to wear pants, or a bib (prevents snow from going down your back), a pair of moisture resistant and breathable bottoms are a must.
Bibs are a great option if you do not want snow, or an ice cold gust of wind, sending shivers down your back! The only downside is they are more difficult to work with when heading to the bathroom.
If you are planning to ski many days in a row, it is never a bad idea to have two pairs on hand.
7. Ski Socks
Bring a comfortable and warm pair of ski socks! You will thank me later. This is a must, as the worst start to the day is having numb toes. Since you will be on your feet for the entire day, you need to be comfortable. A durable pair of ski socks doesn’t cost too much, so make sure to not cheap out on this one.
Merino wool is a great option for maximizing warmth, comfort, and avoiding moisture by wicking away your sweat.
Make sure to bring a few pairs if you plan to ski for a few days. You will be happy you did. Since socks are small and light, packing a few extras will not be too hard to do.
8. Extra Lightweight Vest (for very cold days)
Lightweight and the ability to move. A vest can be the best addition to add some much-needed warmth, while limiting the downside of adding another layer.
Throwing an extra layer in your pack can be lifesaving for cold mornings at the summit. With the right layer, you will not even know you have an extra jacket in your pack. That’s of course, until you need it!
9. Skis, Boots, and Poles
Unless you don’t mind grabbing a rental at the mountain, you are going to want to bring your skis, boots, and poles. Even if you are flying, most airlines make it a very simple and cost effective choice to fly with your gear.
There is nothing better than being able to ski with your own equipment. However, if you plan to rent, you are going to want to book in advance to save some money. And to make sure they have the right size on your ski day!
10. Helmet & Goggles
Don’t be a fool and always bring a helmet. Skiing is an incredible time, but there is risk in the sport. A helmet will give you the much needed protection in case of an accident, even if you are a skilled skier.
Pushing harder terrain is the perfect reason to get in the habit of wearing a helmet. The mountain can get dangerous, especially if you are pushing your level of skiing. Use a helmet to prevent any costly injury that may end your season, or worse.
Another item going with your helmet is goggles. The wind and snow can be brutal on the mountain. Just a slight breeze while cruising down the mountain can make it impossible to see with out goggles.
Additionally, you are going to want to have different lenses for your goggles, depending on the conditions. A dark pair is the go-to for sunny days, while a overcast day of snow will call for a clear pair. Either have interchangeable lenses or have multiple pairs of goggles.
Should a Small Backpack be Included in Your Ski Trip Packing List?
Yes! A small backpack is a must for long days on the mountain. Depending on where you are skiing, you should have a pack to carry the essentials. Water, a snack, your camera, and a few extras clothing items. Since you will not have a large backpack, you are going to have to pack smart.
Mountains are huge. You can easily become on the opposite side of the mountain and find yourself needing to take several different lifts to get back to your starting point. Save yourself the headache, and pack yourself a small pack to wear around the slopes.
Extras in the Car or at the Lodge
The best piece of advice is to bring a duffel bag full of extras. You never know when a piece of gear may break, or you may lose it. Either way, a bag at the lodge, or in your car can save you from a ruined trip.
Make sure to bring extra jackets, socks, and goggles so you are ready for anything the day brings.
Are you looking to go shopping for ski gear?
Check out Switchback Travel for a comprehensive list of the best hardshells, midlayers, and gloves for skiing.
An Easy and Quick Approach to Packing for Your Ski Trip
Skiing makes winter the best time of year. However, you need to set up an easy and effective way to pack. A ski trip packing list will ensure you never reach the mountain to find out you are missing your gloves.
Packing for the day takes the right gear! And can make or break your day on the slopes. If you are looking to have an epic adventure, then you need to make sure you pack the right way. The best way to be ready for the mountain is to make packing as easy as you possibly can!
Now you are ready to hit the slopes! If you need some additional inspiration for planning your skiing trip, check out How to Take a Van Ski Trip for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!