Ski Trip packing Checklist
Ski trips are fun! Realizing you forgot something important is not. Even the most experienced skiers and travelers forget to pack certain items for their trips sometimes.
That is why we made this checklist to make sure you never forget anything important, and your trip goes smoothly from start to finish.
We discuss some of the items further below, including providing some of our favorite products.
The quick checklist seen here is available to download by click the button below.
Below, we provide quick advice on all the ski packing list items with some product recommendations for people on their first ski trip.
Ski or Snowboard Gear
Skis or Snowboard – Even if you have your own pair of skis, double check that your airplane baggage fees don’t outweigh the cost of just renting at the mountain. You can save yourself the hassle of lugging your skis everywhere, and maybe even get to try out the newest models when you rent. Its a win-win.
If you do travel with your own skis, a protective ski bag with wheels is a worthwhile investment (like this one from Athletico).
Pro Tip – if possible, buy a ski bag with some different colors or slap some tags and stickers on it. Many people have the same bags and even the ones that are different look similar. Spice yours up a bit to easily recognize it and reduce the chance someone else grabs it thinking that your bag is their own.
Ski or Snowboard Boots – You will always want to bring your own boots if you own a pair. Luckily, most boot bags are nicely compact and can be considered a carry on item. The Kulkea Boot Bag backpack is a solid all around bag with good features and storage space.
Ski Poles – if you are bringing your skis, its easy to throw a pair of ski poles in the same bag. Considering how skinny they are, it should be easy to fit them. However, removing the baskets (especially if you have large snow or powder baskets) can help.
Helmet – helmets can also be rented and for fairly cheap, but i find that fitting your helmet in the boot bag is usually possible, so if you have your own it is rarely useful not to bring it.
Goggles – these can NOT be rented. You will need to bring your own, whether this is your very first ski trip or your thousandth. I typically put these in my clothing bag rather than my ski or boot bag to avoid the lenses getting scratched (which can still happen even if they are in a soft covering). The Wildhorn Outfitters, who outfit the US Olympic teams, make an excellent budget option for those who don’t want to commit to investing in a good pair yet.
Ski Jacket and Ski Pants – obviously you don’t want to leave home without your primary protection from the elements. Ski jackets and pants should be waterproof enough to handle snowy days on the mountain, so shoot for a waterproof rating of 10,000mm or above.
If this is your first ski trip, don’t expect to buy these when you get to your destination. Shops around ski resorts are notoriously expensive. You can usually find the same items for a lot less by buying before you go.
Also, don’t skimp here. The “ski jacket” at JC Penney may seem like a good deal comparatively, but spending time in freezing temperatures is not something to take lightly. Lift tickets are expensive, you don’t want a whole ski day to go to waste because your gear failed and you nearly froze to death. Cheap stuff often isn’t warm to begin with, has poor waterproofing, and can rip easily. It happens, we’ve seen it.
Fleece Jacket – a fleece provides an extra boost of warmth on super cold days or if you are a skier who like to take it easy and stop a lot.
Mid Layer – your mid layer should consist of wool or some other technical material that doesnt hold moisture (not cotton). These can range from lightweight down jackets to half zip fleeces. The “3-in-1” style ski jackets that you may come across already have a mid layer (usually a removable, light down jacket) built in.
Thermal Tops and Bottoms – long underwear, otherwise known as thermals or base layers, give you a solid foundation of warmth and something comfortable up against your jacket/pant shell material. These MUST be moisture wicking (polyester or wool construction) or you will lose body heat quickly if you sweat at all.
Gaiter / Neck Warmer/ Facemask – for most scenarios a full coverage ski mask is a bit overkill. That’s where gaiters, or neck tubes, can come in handy. Make sure to pack one of these because they not only keep your face cozy on windy ski lifts, but they also provide protection from the sun. Smartwool, Buff, and TurtleFur all make effective neck warmers.
Beanie – a cozy beanie keeps your head warm and is great for around town, Apres, and even on mountain. We highly recommend wearing a helmet, but some people wear beanies underneath their helmets.
Ski Socks – pack a few pairs of socks on your ski trip, especially if you have sweaty feet! They will likely be wet from sweat or snow by the end of a ski day. Let a pair dry by the fire and grab a fresh, dry pair for your next ski day. Ski socks should be thin, snug, and moisture wicking to ensure your foot stays warm and in position in your ski boot. Darn Tough makes great socks with a famous unlimited warranty, ensuring that you will only ever need to buy a few pairs in your life.
Ski Gloves – ski gloves are essential on the snow as hands are one of the first things that get cold. For first time ski trippers, I would opt for a pair of mittens because it is easier to find really warm mittens for good price than it is for gloves, and you will probably be more concerned with warmth than dexterity. Carharrt Mitts are a remarkably good value.
Ski Pass – cant go skiing without a lift pass! If you have your pass in advance, it may be wise to just put it in your ski jacket pocket from the get-go (unless you interchange multiple jackets). Alternatively, you can put them in a ski pass holder, such as a lanyard or one that attaches to your goggles.
Small Backpack – pack a small backpack to store additional clothing layers, snacks, water, and other small items. Although the foldable, packable backpacks are convenient for packing – we find them extremely uncomfortable and annoying on the slopes. Your best bet is to go with a backpack that has structure – Dakine’s reasonably priced 12L pack is good when going small.
Hydration Bladder or Water Bottle – hydration is important for avoiding altitude sickness and keeping from cramping. A hydration bladder, or a reusable water bottle are smart items to bring on your ski trip.
GoPro or other action camera – dont forget to capture the moment! Remember to pack your GoPro or other action cameras (and the chargers!) to make sure you have proof of all your epic ski feats
Lip Balm – winter weather brings chapped lips. Bring chapstick.
Pocket Tissues – your nose gets runny in cold weather, so its nice to have tissues with you to avoid rubbing your nose raw with your glove.
Pocket Sunscreen – even though your ski trip doesn’t feel like a beach vacation, the suns rays are actually even more potent at altitude and snow acts similar to water in that it reflects the rays. Sunscreen is vital.
Hand / Foot Warmers – having some extra hand and foot warmers around doesn’t hurt. They are small and easy to pack, so you can bring a bunch without it taking up much space.
Off Mountain Clothes (Normal clothing)
- Winter Coat / Jacket
- Casual Top
- Jeans or Pants
- Winter Hat
- Warm Socks
- Bathing Suit
- Casual Boots or Shoes
- Comfortable Lounge Wear (robe, sweats, shorts, etc)
- Passport or License (ID)
- Flight details and confirmations
- Accommodations details and confirmations
- Other transportation details and confirmations
- Cell phone and charger
- Luggage tags
- Luggage locks
- Nail Clippers (might help those ski boots fit even better!)
- Toiletries and hygiene products
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
- Razor and gel
- Shampoo and soap
- Feminine hygiene products
What else would you bring on a ski trip? Any packing tips for? Let us know in the comments below!
Teaching your kids to ski or snowboard is a lot of work. To help your youngster out, we have compiled a list of the best kids ski harnesses.