The ultimate ski trip packing list contains everything you need to be warm, dry, and comfortable on the slopes—whether you’re hitting the bunny slope or the black diamond. Below are the essentials you need to pack before your next ski trip.
Ski Trip Packing List: Clothes and Shoes
Ski jacket: Columbia’s Whirlibird IV Interchange Hooded 3-in-1 Jacket is a great option. It features underarm vents to keep you cool while you’re bundled up and a ski pass pocket for easy access on the mountain. Helly Hansen’s Alpha 3.0 Jacket is a great option for men, as it’s lightweight and breathable but still warm enough for below-freezing days.
Base layers: Stoic’s Tech Fleece Leggings are lined with a performance fleece that’s warm but lightweight enough to layer. Pair it with Backcountry’s Spruces Lightweight Merino Baselayer Crew, which has a moisture-wicking design so you won’t freeze in wet layers when you cool off if you work up a sweat.
Ski socks: The Falke SK2 Thermal Ski Socks feature thin cushioning on the shin, heel, toes, and ankles to save you from ski boot agony.
Apres-ski outfits: After a long day on the slopes, you’ll want comfort more than style. Pack cozy things like leggings or sweatpants if you’re just lounging around your vacation rental, or jeans and a fleece if you’re checking out the local nightlife.
Hat: Keep your head warm with a cozy hat when you’re not wearing your helmet. Turtle Fur’s Leira Lambswool Pom Hat has super warm wool on the outside and a high-pile, plush fleece on the inside.
Mid-layer: A mid-layer, like a thin jacket or fleece that fits under your ski jacket, is essential for unpredictable weather. Patagonia’s Nano Puff is thin enough to fit under most jackets without restricting your movement.
Shells: If you’re skiing on a warm day or doing trekking or touring, waterproof shells that can be custom-layered are a better bet than a full jacket or insulated pants. Fjallraven’s Keb Eco-Shell Jacket and Bergtagen Eco-Shell Trousers are made from a lightweight, recycled material that blocks out all moisture without overheating you or making annoying “swishing” sounds like most rain layers. Both have the important RECCO reflector built-in, which could save your life in an avalanche.
Glove liners: Wear glove liners under mittens to give your hands extra warmth. If you get touch-screen compatible ones like these from Columbia, you can use your smartphone without exposing your skin to the elements.
Ski pants: Obermeyer’s Bond Pant are my favorite women’s ski pants, as they are super stretchy and easy to move in. The Saloman Brilliant Snow Pant is a solid choice for men, with a built-in insulating layer.
Slippers: After a day spent in ski boots, you’ll be glad to slip into some warm slippers at your hotel or rental.
Swimsuits and flip-flops: You’ll want these if your lodging has a hot tub or heated pool. Click here for our round-up of active swimsuits.
Helmet liner: Make your helmet even warmer by wearing a liner underneath. This one by Turtle Fur is thin enough that it won’t interfere with your helmet’s fit, and can be worn alone as a hat once you take off your helmet.
Gloves: Tired of cold hands on the slopes? Invest in Hestra’s Power Heater Gauntlet Gloves. These waterproof gloves have heated panels built into the fingertips for extra warmth on those below-freezing days.
Neck gaiter: A neck warmer is a must for skiing, keeping that gap between your jacket and face from freezing—plus it can be pulled over the lower half of your face for those cold lift rides. I love Turtle Fur’s Chelonia, which is made from two layers of water-resistant fleece.
Casual boots: Don’t clomp around the lodge in your ski boots. Pack a change of footwear in your bag for after the last chair and you’ll be grateful. The Shellista IV tall boots from The North Face are my favorite as they reach the knee (for extra warmth).
Ski Trip Packing List: Skis and Gear
Skis: Romp Zorro Skis are a versatile pick designed to handle any condition on any mountain. These skis are handmade in Crested Butte, Colorado, and can be customized to show off your personal sense of style.
Ski Poles: Leki’s Bold Lite S Lightweight Ski Poles are made from strong aluminum, weighing 8.57 ounces per pole.
Helmet: A helmet is the most important piece of gear to pack for your ski trip. Look for one with MIPS technology (which protects your head from rotational forces in a crash), like Bern’s Hendrix Winter Helmet. This helmet features a compass fit system that allows you to adjust the helmet size for the perfect fit, which is important for both safety and comfort. The cozy winter liner will keep you warm and comfortable on the slopes.
Goggles: Get Bern’s B-1 Goggles to go with your Bern helmet, as they were designed to work together. The goggles come with two interchangeable Zeiss lenses (one for sunny weather and one for low light conditions) that feature a magnetic strip so you can change the lenses out as quickly as the weather shifts.
Boot bag: I’ve had High Sierra’s Deluxe Trapezoid Boot Bag for years, and it’s held up perfectly. It can hold enough for a weekend trip, plus has two zippered side compartments with drainage that keep your snowy boots separate from the rest of your gear.
Ski bag: A ski bag makes it so much easier to carry your poles and skis (especially if you’re flying). This one from Athletico is a stellar option that won’t break the bank.
Ski poles: Rossignol Tactic Ski Poles have a comfortable grip designed for all-day skiing and a lightweight aluminum shaft.
Ski boots: Check out this Ski Boot Buying Guide from REI to find your perfect fit.
Ski Trip Packing List: Toiletries
Of course, you’ll want to pack the essential toiletries that you always bring when traveling (toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.)
For a ski-specific trip, you’ll definitely want to add:
Leave-in serum for hair: If you have long hair, you know that no matter how you wear it during skiing, it becomes a giant tangle during the day. Working in a leave-in serum like this one from Pureology can help prevent that.
Janeke Mini Mixed Bristle Brush: This perfectly portable hair brush will painlessly detangle your hair after a long day under a helmet.
Hairdryer: Odds are, wherever you’re staying will have one. But if not, a travel hairdryer is worth bringing, as going out to dinner with wet hair in the cold is pretty miserable. T3’s Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer is as lightweight as the name implies, plus it folds up for easy packing.
Hair elastics: So you don’t have to deal with your hair flying in your face as you speed downhill.
Pain relievers: Aspirin and ibuprofen are both recommended to help with sore muscles.
Lotion: Cold air dries out your skin faster, so make sure to pack an ultra-moisturizing lotion.
Ski Trip Packing List: For Your Jacket Pocket
Tissues: When your nose is running on the lift, you’ll be glad to have a pack in your pocket, and these ones are much softer than ski lodge napkins.
Skin Protecting Balm: Skiing means subjecting the sensitive skin on your face to windburn and sunburn. Avoid both with this perfectly-sized tin of Dermatone Skin Protector, which offers sweat and water-resistant SPF 23 protection and prevents irritation from the wind. It also works as a lip balm!
Snacks: Granola bars or anything else pocket-sized can save you from both an energy crash and from spending all your money at the waffle cabin.
Credit card: In case you need to buy anything.
Cash: Some spots on the mountain might be cash only.
ID: No matter how old you look, you might get carded at the bar—or need it in case of an emergency.
Extra hair elastic: In case you lose the one in your hair.
Hand sanitizer: You don’t want a winter cold or flu to slow down your ski season, so use this before eating those aforementioned snacks (or a meal).
Ski Trip Packing List: Miscellaneous
Cell phone with shatterproof/waterproof case: If you yard-sale, your pride might be damaged, but at least your phone won’t be.
Backup portable charger: Phones die quicker in the cold weather, so a backup portable charger is a must.
Insulated bottle for hot drinks/food: If you don’t want to pay resort prices for a hot coffee or meal, pack an insulated bottle or thermos and stash your own in your ski bag. The Hydro Flask keeps food hot for up to three hours, while this bottle keeps drinks hot for up to six or cold for 24 if you’re bringing water.
GoPro and harness or helmet clip: In case you want to film your adventures.
Download and Edit Your Own Ski Trip Packing List:
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018.
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