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Bluebird days and après ski nights–this is the ultimate vacation. But before you can strap up your boots and begin hitting the slopes, you must gather all the ski gear you’ll need for an epic ski-cation.
Not to worry–we’ve pulled from our own experiences, scoured the best reviews, and put together the ultimate ski trip packing list so you have everything you need on your upcoming ski trips.
- Ski Clothing
- 1. Ski Jackets
- 2. Thermal Underwear
- 3. Ski Pants
- 4. Ski Socks
- 5. Face Coverings
- 6. Gloves
- Ski Gear
- 7. Ski Boots
- 8. Ski Poles
- 9. Skis
- 10. Ski Bindings
- 11. Ski Helmet
- 12. Backpack
- 13. Ski Goggles
- Comfort and Convenience Items
- 14. Sunscreen
- 15. Moisturizer
- 16. Lip Balm
- 17. Camera
- 17. First Aid Kit
- Flying with Skis or a Snowboard
- Planning for the Ski Trip
- Where is the best ski destination in the United States?
- Where is the best ski resort for families in the United States?
- Best Ski Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Firefall/2 Jacket
- Best Ski Pants: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Bib Pants
- Best Ski Socks: Darn Tough Solstice Over-the-Calf Ski Socks
- Best Ski Gloves: Black Diamond Terminator Gloves
- Best Ski Helmet: Smith Allure MIPS Snow Helmet
- Best Ski Boot Bag: OutdoorMaster Boot Bag
- Best Ski Goggles: Oakley Flight Deck M Snow Goggles
- Best Tech Accessory: GoPro HERO12
Need lift tickets? Find yours here.
First things first: you can’t take your next ski trip without ski clothes (Well, you could, but you’ll probably get frostbite–and a public indecency ticket).
Before you pick out your poles and hit the slopes, it’s important to choose what goes directly on your body. This section includes the best cold-weather clothing to keep you warm on your ski trip.
1. Ski Jackets
A good ski jacket is a must for any skiing enthusiast. It keeps you warm and dry on those cold days on the mountain slopes.
But remember, while the ski jacket needs to be warm, it also should be lightweight. This way, it doesn’t become too heavy during the trek down the slopes.
We’re a fan of the Mountain Hardwear Firefall/2 Ski Jacket. This piece includes two breathable layers that are mapped synthetic insulation. Plus, it offers extra ventilation with underarm zippered vents.
In addition to keeping you warm and cozy during your ride, it offers attractive features like an over-helmet hood, internal powder skirt, and adjustable cuffs.
2. Thermal Underwear
Investing in quality base layers is vital for a successful ski vacation. Just as important as an outer layer, a proper thermal base layer made with merino wool allows skiers to stay warm on the slopes without becoming a sweaty mess from their physical exertion.
We suggest the Craft CORE Wool Mix Base Layer Set, available in men’s and women’s sizes. In addition to being soft and comfy with merino wool, the material in these base layers is naturally odorless (trust us– that’s a big plus). There’s no better feeling than a nice warm body temperature against the snowy elements.
3. Ski Pants
Snow or ski pants are also important, protecting your legs from the cold weather and moisture. And, just like with the jackets, you want to ensure the pants are light but still warm. Ensuring that they fit well is also recommended.
Ski pants that are too tight will be uncomfortable, while those that are too loose will let in the cold air and moisture. And you don’t want that!
You should also ensure the pants have an elastic bottom that fits above your snow boots. This way, they can lock out cold air outside and snow debris.
Our pick is the Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Bib Pants for your upcoming ski trips. These snow pants offer three layers of AscentShell™ technology to ensure your legs stay comfortable all day long.
Additionally, the material moves with the skier and has deep cargo pockets for storing all your snacks. Our favorite? An easy-access hatch when the lodge is just too far away to make a bathroom break.
See Related: Best Places to Ski in the Netherlands
4. Ski Socks
Keeping your feet warm is paramount during any winter sport. No surprise, ski socks are the best way to do that. In addition to keeping your toes provided with extra warmth, they offer cushioning for your feet, which is important when going down those long trails.
Grab a pair of Darn Tough Solstice Over-the-Calf Ski Socks to ensure your feet stay in tip-top condition all season long. Besides providing the basic comforts of ski socks, the Darn Tough Solstic socks are created with merino wool and have been performance-tested to ensure they won’t slip down during your ride.
5. Face Coverings
It might seem like a minor type of clothing, but it’s one that skiing demands. Face coverings are essential to your ski trip packing list as they help protect your face against windburns and sunburns.
A ski mask, balaclava, or neck gaiter are some of the most common facial coverings for skiing trips. Ensure your ski mask or neck gaiter is comfortable and fits well without obstructing your vision.
The Seirus Magnemask Combo Clava is a great choice for your next trip. It is ideal for both men and women and offers ultimate comfort during your snow sports. The balaclava helps protect your face against all harsh weather elements, including freezing temperatures, strong winds, UV rays, dust, sleet, fresh snow, and rain.
Even better, this face covering is quite versatile. It can be worn as an open balaclava, full-face, or half-ski mask. You can also wear it as a neckerchief with a helmet, goggles, or even on its own.
See Related: Best Skiing in Minnesota: Resorts & Places to Visit
The cold weather can take a toll on your hands if not well protected. Therefore, always have a quality pair of gloves on hand (no pun intended) to avoid cold hands and cold fingers.
They should be made from water-resistant and windproof materials to provide optimum protection against harsh weather conditions. Also, they should be snug to remain in place even as you ski or snowboard down the trails.
For the best ski trip gloves, try Black Diamond Terminator Gloves. They are durable, warm, and comfortable. Plus, they are tailored to fit the needs of ski racing, free riders, patrollers, mountain guides, and ski instructors who demand quality.
See Related: Best Resorts in Park City, Utah
Next on your ski trip packing list should be the ski gear. Make sure that all the gear is in good condition and fits you well. You don’t want to be struggling with ill-fitting gear as you ski down those trails.
The most important items in this section include:
7. Ski Boots
A skiing trip is impossible without a good pair of boots. These should be comfortable so that you can ski without any hindrance.
They should also be made from waterproof materials to keep your feet warm and dry all day long. And finally, they should provide ankle support to avoid any injuries during your skiing trip.
The Tecnica Cochise 120 Ski Boots are an excellent option for intermediate skiers, but beginners will do just fine with them as well. They offer GripWalk, which means skiers can easily transition from ski mode to walk mode without having to adjust their boots manually.
Remember, the best boots are best found when fitted by a professional. We highly encourage you to visit your local ski shop rather than purchasing online without trying them on.
8. Ski Poles
While not all skiers choose to use poles, most do. No matter your ability level, you can at least appreciate the help poles provide when getting out of a flat patch.
Ski poles should be lightweight, so you don’t feel weighed down. Compare your height to this chart from REI to help you choose the right size to go with your skis.
We’re a fan of the Grass Sticks Original Bamboo Poles. While made with bamboo, they offer the same strength as steel and even greater compression strength than concrete. In addition to being great poles, they’re better for the environment than traditional steel poles.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but the most obvious thing you need to do for your trip is pack skis. If you’re new to skiing, it can be beneficial to invest in season rentals, as this tends to be a better investment than one-day slopeside rentals.
However, if you’re ready to take the plunge to own your own pair of skis, we suggest the K2 Mindbender. These All Mountain skis work for various abilities – beginners through early advanced.
Their Spectral Braid provides the rider with stability and maneuverability simultaneously. Plus, they’re an affordable yet quality option for both casual and regular skiers.
Christy Sports is our favorite for rentals for those venturing to Colorado this season.
Located in PA? Buckman’s Premiere Ski & Snowboard Shop is a great choice for rentals.
10. Ski Bindings
If you’re new to skiing, you might not realize bindings are generally sold separately from your skis. Ski bindings are the hardware that your ski boots lock into.
The most important element of your ski binding is your DIN. DIN is the scale of release on your ski bindings. In human terms, how much force (how hard you fall) it takes for your ski boot to separate from your ski.
The better you are at skiing, the higher your DIN and vice-versa. Before purchasing your bindings, we suggest talking with a professional at your local ski shop to help assess your ability level.
A great intermediate option is the Marker Squire 11 Ski Bindings. The DIN settings range from 3-11, making it a flexible option. Plus, it offers Anti-Ice rails to keep snow-guck from getting stuck on your hardware.
11. Ski Helmet
It’s no secret that skiing comes with its own set of risks. Investing in a quality helmet is an absolute necessity to the sport.
Choose a helmet that is comfortable to wear and that offers strong protection. Additionally, it should have a good ventilation system to prevent your head from overheating during a long day on the slopes.
We love the Smith Allure MIPS Snow Helmet. It’s affordable, yet quality. It offers easy-to-use goggles integration with nine vents for climate control and an EPS foam liner to absorb shock from falls.
All the items on your ski trip packing list need a backpack or duffel bag to carry them. And, to make sure you have room for everything, getting a large ski boot bag is essential.
Look for durable ski boot bags with comfortable straps and enough room to store all your ski gear. Generally, these bags have obvious side pockets for each ski boot.
The OutdoorMaster Boot Bag – 50L Ski Boots and Snowboard Boots Bag is a perfect option for storing your other gear. The bag itself is a bit like Mary Poppin’s bag– you can keep putting stuff in and putting stuff in, and it seems to never run out of room. Plus, it’s still small enough to use as a carry-on for most major airlines.
13. Ski Goggles
Whether skiing or snowboarding on sunny days or overcast clouds, goggles are a must-have item to protect your eyes from the snow’s glare. Choose a good pair of goggles with 100% UV protection and a wraparound design for extra protection.
Any pair of goggles from Oakley is a great choice. The Oakley Flight Deck M Snow Goggles provide all the above protection and are tested to withstand maximum impact from falls and collisions.
Note: prescription ski goggles are available. Talk to your eye-care professional for extra guidance.
Comfort and Convenience Items
Besides ski clothing and gear, a ski trip packing list requires a few things that will ensure your comfort and convenience. These might not seem as important as the above-mentioned items, but I assure you that you need them.
Some of the items that shouldn’t be missed on your ski trip packing list include:
See Related: Best Ski Resorts in the US to Visit
As mentioned earlier, the weather on the slopes during skiing can be harsh. This means your face will be vulnerable to the harsh elements, causing sunburns or frost burns. Subsequently, you must include good sunscreen on your ski trip packing lists.
Applying sunscreen on your face when skiing protects it from the cruelty of the cold wind and sun rays. This way, your days and skiing activities can get more fun and comfortable.
Try EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen for the best results. Zinc oxide is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that prevents UVA and UVB sun rays from harming your skin. Its small size makes slipping into a jacket or pants pocket easy.
A moisturizer is another item you don’t want to forget on your packing list. Skiing and snowboarding can dehydrate, leaving your skin dry and irritated. To avoid this, include a good moisturizer on your ski trip packing list and apply it regularly on your skin during the trip.
We recommend using the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. It is an excellent moisturizer that gets absorbed quickly into the skin, provides long-lasting hydration, and is free from irritants.
16. Lip Balm
The cold weather can also cause your lips to become dry and chapped. To avoid this, include a lip balm on your ski packing list, slip it in your jacket pocket, and make sure you use it regularly.
A good example is Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, whose 4.8-star rating shows users’ approval of the product. It is 100% natural and offers lasting moisture and cooling. And you’ll have that minty freshness all day.
Pics, or it didn’t happen. Did you really go on a ski trip if you don’t have wicked photos to prove it?
Cellphone photos are all well and good, but the top-tier footage you’ll get from the GoPro HERO12 is next-level. This first-class product offers 6.0 video stabilization and over 90 minutes of run time. Plus, it’s waterproof, so your wipeouts won’t ruin the camera.
17. First Aid Kit
When you’re out on the slopes, it’s important to be prepared for anything; keep a pocket-sized First Aid Kit in the deep pockets of your ski or snowboard clothing.
Most snow pants, like the one recommended above, have deep cargo pockets perfect for these kits. Your snow jacket pockets will likely work as well. Double-check that your kits include the following:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Medical tape
- Safety pins
- Burn gels
- Alcohol pads
See Related: Things to Do in Ogden, Utah
Flying with Skis or a Snowboard
Most standard airlines count a ski bag PLUS a boot bag as one piece of checked luggage, as long as the combined weight isn’t over 50 lbs. Check your airline regulations on flying with skis before booking your ticket, as budget airlines might charge for oversized luggage, offsetting any ticket savings.
Planning for the Ski Trip
Whether it’s a solo or family ski trip packing list, there are two more items that you shouldn’t miss – travel insurance and a good travel credit card.
Travel insurance covers your interests during the ski vacation, ensuring stress-free travel. For instance, it covers most eventualities, including medical emergencies, emergency evacuation, luggage loss, and trip cancellations.
Some great travel insurance companies you can try out include:
- Travelex Travel Insurance – best overall
- TravelInsurance.com – a marketplace that helps you find the most comprehensive coverage
- InsureMyTrip – best value for your money
See Related: Best Family Insurance Plans
Ski trips are incredibly expensive – there’s no way to avoid that fact. A good travel credit card helps you get the best deals on flights and accommodation, so you can spend more time on the slopes and less time stressing out about how much your ski-in, ski-out room cost. Some of these travel cards even help you earn points that can cater to an entire trip’s cost.
The best travel credit cards for a ski trip include:
- Amex platinum – earns you 5x reward points if you book a flight with America Express Travel or directly with airlines. You also earn 5x points for prepaid accommodation through American Express Travel.
- Capital One Venture Card– Rewards you with 5x miles on accommodation and rental cars when you book via Capital One Travel. And it offers 2x miles for any other purchase made through the card.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred– The card rewards you 5x points for travel booked and purchased via Chase Ultimate Rewards. In addition, you get 3x points on dining and 2x points on other travel-related purchases.
With these cards, planning and paying for your ski holiday or any other travel costs has never been easier.
Where is the best ski destination in the United States?
If you ask ten powderhounds, you’ll get ten different answers. For expert terrain, it’s hard to top Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Jackson, Wyoming, is a lovely ski town, too.
If you’re looking for a quiet, family-friendly mountain with tons of terrain, Powder Mountain in Utah is my top pick. Park City is another great pick for families and groups.
Want to ski the deepest powder, year after year? Alta-Snowbird never misses, and both are part of the IKON pass.
Where is the best ski resort for families in the United States?
Aspen-Snowmass is my pick for the top family-friendly ski resorts in the United States. With a remarkable amount of terrain and plenty to do for skiers and non-skiers alike, the Aspen, Colorado, area is always a hit. Planning a trip? Check out our guide on where to stay in Aspen to get started.
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- About the Author
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Cait is a Chicago-based Greek-American but spends most of her year floating around the globe. She holds a B.A. in Communications and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management. Her favorite destinations include visiting her homeland in Greece, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and wherever her partner is stationed abroad. Cait is also a powderhound, taking to ski slopes in the Rocky Mountains and throughout the country.