Going skiing this winter? You’ve got a lot of packing to do. Skiing is already a gear-intensive sport, then you’ve got to bring regular clothes so you’re not swishing around the restaurant at night in all your ski gear. You know you need to bring a ski jacket and pants, but what else do you need?
Forgetting a vital piece of kit might not be an actual disaster, but it can mean you’re less comfortable than you could be, which can be a problem when there’s without conditions or you have sore feet at the end of the day. It can also mean you end up getting hosed with inflated resort prices to buy a pair of sunglasses or gloves.
Skip the hassle and use our handy checklist for what to pack for a ski trip so you’re sorted, whether it’s an extreme skiing expedition or you plan to spend plenty of time at the spa.
No matter where you are, skiing requires a lot of clothing. If you’re going for a longer trip, you might want multiples of items like base layers and long johns, but make sure you have at least one of the following:
- Ski jacket
- Ski pants
- Base layer and thermal underwear (preferably merino wool)
- Mid layer such as a fleece jacket
- Ski gloves
- Ski socks
- Balaclava (also known as a ski mask) or neck gaiter
- Beanie hat (keep this in your pocket for when you stop for lunch and take your helmet off)
If you’re traveling by plane, it is easier to rent gear, but if you want to bring your own, check out our article on how to fly with ski gear as there are many approaches from just checking one giant bag to making it all work with a carry-on and one checked bag. Regardless of whether you’re renting, bringing your own, or doing a bit of both, you’ll need the following:
- Alpine skis
- Ski boots
- Ski poles
- Ski goggles
When you’re not skiing, you’re almost definitely going to want to be comfortable. Ski resorts embrace the mountain casual vibe, so don’t think you need to bring dressy clothes or fashion shoes to go to a nice restaurant; they’ll happily serve you in leggings and UGGs.
When you get off the hill for the day, you’re going to be wiped out and want to slip into comfy clothes as quickly as possible. Think sweatpants and hoodies here and have a down jacket to stay warm around town. Make sure you pack non-ski gloves and a hat for the evenings too.
Lots of ski resort hotels offer yoga classes for skiers (or you can use our yoga for skiers guide) and it can be great to stretch it out after a long day of skiing, so bring yoga pants or gym wear, and of course clothes for any other activities you might want to enjoy like running.
Hot tubs also tend to be abundant in ski resorts, so don’t forget your bathing suit so you can soak your aching legs.
Finally, you’ll want comfortable footwear after walking around in ski boots all day, but something with decent grip for snowy resort streets. Snow boots that you can just pull on are great, though you might be able to get away with trail running shoes so long as they have good grip if it's a more arid climate. Consider also bringing flip flops and slippers for padding around your accommodation to let your feet breathe.
Toiletries and other accessories
In addition to your regular toiletries and accessories that you’d pack for any trip, here are a few things you might want for a ski holiday:
- Sun protection like sunglasses, sunscreen and chapstick with SPF as the glare from the snow increases harmful UV rays.
- Hand warmers that you can pop inside your gloves if you tend to feel the cold.
- The correct adapter plug for international travel – if you’re skiing in Switzerland, an EU plug won’t work.
- A first aid kit with painkillers in case you’re sore after skiing.
- Your water bottle and electrolytes to help you stay hydrated – it’s much easier to get dehydrated at high altitude.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.