The only ski trip packing list you’re going to need. Here is a comprehensive list of items and a check list to make packing for your ski trip as easy as stress-free as possible!
My love for snow skiing started in childhood. Mom and Dad took my brother and me out west to ski the Rockies every year and the memories that were created on those trips still make me smile.
The sentiment spilled over into having my own family and David and I decided we wanted to do the same for our kids. We first took them skiing in Snowshoe WV in 2018 when the kids were 6 and 3 years old. From there we were officially bitten by the ski bug and went big the next year, visiting Deer Valley in 2019, and keeping it as an annual tradition. This year we skied in Jackson Hole and stayed at the beautiful Teton Mountain Lodge. And in early 2024 we will be packing up for our next destination- Steamboat Springs!
I love family ski vacations. Yes, they are a lot of work and coordination, but it’s an active vacation in what is always a beautiful setting. There are so many fun things to do, too. Skiing, of course, but also cross country skiing, ice skating, snow tubing, exploring the village, drinking fancy hot chocolates, and so much more. The key to making it a success for your family lies heartily in the planning and packing. Packing the right gear can help make your trip safe and stress-free, as well as comfortable (and comfort is key on the mountain). Today I’m sharing a round up of things you’re going to want to remember to bring on your next ski trip (skiing and snowboarding, really). And remember, some of these items are definitely worth borrowing or getting second hand, especially if it’s a once a year trip and includes kids, which outgrow items so quickly.
What to Pack for a Ski Vacation
Waterproof Ski Jacket
Waterproofness is important for ski jackets, as it prevents snow, rain and water from seeping into your ski clothes. Breathability, on the other hand, allows sweat to evaporate and is crucial to keep you dry from the inside out.
Waterproof Ski Pants or Bibs
Again, you will want these to be waterproof. Pants work well for adults, but bibs are often a better choice for children to prevent snow from sneaking into their pants when playing or falling.
Non-Cotton Base Layer Top
Good base layers are made from synthetic, wool, silk, or bamboo fibers—more on each option below. Avoid cotton, which takes too long to dry and pulls heat away from the body, which will leave you cold and uncomfortable.
Non-Cotton Base Layer Bottom
Same as above, look for a good non-cotton option. If it’s a warm winter day, you might opt to wear just your base layer and then your waterproof exterior.
Pack a fleece or down vest that can be layered over your base layer for extra warmth for colder temperatures. Remember that the temperature on the mountain will be cooler than at the base of the mountain.
Layers are key to a comfortable ski experience. A wool sweater will provide an additional layer of warmth and protection from the elements on days with blustery or colder ski conditions.
Waterproof Gloves or Mittens
If you’re spending an extended amount of time outside, in the snow, you’ll want a waterproof and insulated glove. Gloves work well for adults that want to be able to grip poles and maneuver items in and out of pockets, but mittens usually provide more warmth and are ideal for children.
Woolen Ski Socks
Wool is a material that retains its warmth when wet and is naturally odor resistant. Wool also breathes more easily and is known for its ability to wick moisture away from the skin—a key factor in keeping feet dry, warm and happy. You want them to be tall, over the calf socks. These fit all the requirements and are super cute, too!
Warm Winter Hat
A ski hat made with a breathable, quick drying material (think Merino Wool) will be helpful. If you can find a thinner option, it will fit nicely under your helmet, providing your head with the essential warmth it needs.
Wearing a neck gaiter provides several benefits, including added warmth and protection from the elements. It can also help prevent chafing and irritation caused by rubbing against your clothing or equipment. This is a great option that is available in a lot of different colors.
Goggles protect your eyes from airborne snow and debris and shield them from hazards such as tree limbs and fallen branches. Ski goggles also stay securely on your head at times when sunglasses would fly off.
Even if a skier sustains a head injury, the injury will be less severe if their head is protected by a helmet. Some ski resorts require helmets, while it’s optional at others. However, it’s much more common to see the majority of skiers wearing helmets today than 30 years ago. This is a solid, affordable option.
Hand and Toe Warmers
These disposable, one-time warmers can provide you with extra comfort on colder days. Toe warmers aren’t as hot as the hand warmers, and they don’t last as long; however, these specialty warmers are thin and easy to use. Purchase this variety pack before you go; they mark up the price big time at the base of the mountain.
While not completely necessary, it can be nice to have water with you on the mountain. Even if you have easy access to pop into the lodge or on-mountain dining for water, it’s a great idea to carry some water with you so you can replace fluids before you get thirsty.
In addition to your ski clothing, for your days off or evenings in the village, you’ll want to have jeans or pants, a sweater, warm socks, waterproof winter boots, and sunglasses for your apres ski gear. The basics, too of course, like undergarments, and sleepwear. You will also want to bring a bathing suit to enjoy a nice soak in the hot tub after a day on the slopes, and make sure to bring pair of flipflops, too, so you aren’t wearing your snow boots to the pool.
Bring your regular toiletries of course, like your toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, etc. However, you might not think to bring sunscreen, lotion, or lip balm, but you definitely should. The dry, cold air and sun reflecting off the snow make these items important for everyday use while on a ski vacation.
It’s nice to have everything printed off that you might need so you don’t have to be reliant on cell service. Ski tickets, itineraries, tickets, reservation confirmations, ID cards, insurance cards, medications, power cords/chargers are all important items to have with you.
What to Rent for a Ski Vacation
If you go often, you might want to look into purchasing your own ski gear, but if you are going for the first time or only go once a year, it might make more sense to rent. Rental equipment is usually available to rent at the base of the mountain, but nowadays there are also ski rental vans that can come to your hotel or condo and outfit you in the comfort of your own rented living area. Check your area to see if this is an option for you.
The expert fitting you can help determine the correct length and type/model for your given level of experience.
Ski poles can help move you along on flat terrain or help you steady yourself on a steep slope. It’s common for children just learning the sport to not have poles, but most adults do have them.
The ski pro fitting you can help ensure a proper fit, which can be tricky. You want them to be snug and secure so you can maneuver the skis with ease, but not so tight that you end up being uncomfortable by the end of your first run.
Helmets are available for rent, but if you have the space to pack it, it might be worth purchasing and bring your own for multiple reasons. First, you can guarantee a comfortable fit, especially if you’d like to layer a warm hat underneath. Second, for sanitary reasons it’s nice not to think about using a helmet that has been on many heads before yours.