What to Pack For a Ski Trip: Essential Must-Haves

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What to pack for a skip trip. If you are embracing winter and have a ski trip planned as part of your winter travel, I’ve got you covered with your necessary skiing essentials. Adhere to this ski packing list and you’ll have everything you need for a fantastic weekend of skiing!

By investing in great ski gear, most of it will last for YEARS! I’m not including skis or a snowboard in this ski essentials list, but even if you only ski once or twice a year, consider investing in the gear – over a few years, it comes out much cheaper than renting. The rest of these items are not just fantastic for skiing but for ALL outdoor winter sports. And, once you own them, it’s that much easier to get outside and enjoy winter!

Ready to ski with all the right gear

Start with a warm base layer

The most important rule when planning what to pack for a ski trip is to stay warm. Most of our ski trips are to Boyne Mountain in Northern Michigan, and it is COLD there. We’ve had ski vacations where the weather has been in the teens, and thanks to being properly dressed, have still had a terrific time.

If you aren’t cold when you are out there on the mountain, I guarantee you’ll have a much better time! So be sure your packing list for skiing includes plenty of warm clothes.

Start with a cozy base layer of long underwear, then add on layers as needed. I absolutely love the brand Cuddl Duds for skiing. They keep me warm and are so soft and comfortable. I start with a layer of thermal leggings and a long-sleeve top, and then if it’s a really cold day will add a turtleneck as part of my base layer tops.

Even when I check the weather before the trip (and you should always do that), I still pack plenty of layers – you never know!

Add a winter weather-worthy top layer

After your base layers, a good pair of ski pants and a ski jacket are next. My favorite brand for both affordability and comfort is Columbia. We typically hit the Columbia outlet in the late summer if anything needs to be replaced, but unless you have growing kids, your ski jacket and pants will easily last you several years.

❄️ My favorite Women’s Ski Pants and Ski Jacket (the Rosie Run)

❄️My favorite Men’s Ski Pants and Ski Jacket

❄️My favorite Kid’s Ski Pants and Ski Jackets

If you are a woman on a budget, consider this pair from Amazon – I picked them up last year to have a slimmer fit option and really love them! They fit me perfectly and worked just fine when skiing in temperatures between 20 °F to 35 °F. Plus, since the fit is slimmer I feel more comfortable wearing them to soccer games or even to an après ski dinner.

three people on skis posing for the camera

A terrific feature the newer Columbia jackets have is a zip-out liner. This helps if the weather is warmer and sunny one day but snowy and cold the next. Plus, you can just take one jacket and wear the liner alone apres ski!

Take care of your feet and hands!

Finally, you’ll want to keep those extremities warm. It’s well worth investing in a real pair of ski socks. The extra compression helps keep your feet and calves comfortable and warm in ski boots. I’ve been wearing these for years and have never felt the need to buy anything new.

Your hands and head are important too. Ski gloves are a must. They need to have enough traction on the palm/finger area to grip the poles and be hearty enough to keep your hands warm. A terrific option is a pair of ski mittens like these – keeping your fingers close together helps retain the warmth.

Most skiers wear helmets these days, so spend a little extra on a safe one that will keep your head safe and toasty too! I’ll admit I often ski without one, but I am definitely in the minority and plan on picking up a good ski helmet for myself this year. Not only is it smart, they keep your head warmer, and pretty much everyone on the mountain is wearing one.

Important extra items to pack for a ski trip

Even when wearing a turtleneck, a neck gaiter is an important extra layer. Tucked into your jacket, it can be easily raised or lowered over your mouth and nose as needed. We often buy them at ski resorts as fun and inexpensive souvenirs, but you could also pick up an inexpensive set at Costco or on Amazon.

A cozy neck gaiter is another winter item that I use ALL the time at cold weather sports events like late fall football games or cold soccer tournaments. I keep mine (along with a fun hat) right by the backdoor so I can grab them as we head out for a day of outdoor fun.

Kid with a helmet and gaiter

If it’s a sunny day and fairly warm, you could get by with sunglasses, but for most ski days, ski goggles are a lifesaver. Just like most ski gear essentials, they can get pretty pricey, but go ahead and buy a decent pair and you won’t need to replace them for years.

In fact, just this year, I had to buy a new pair – to replace my Smith Goggles I’ve owned for TWENTY years. Money well spent – in fact once I started using the new ones I kicked myself for waiting so long – they are SO much better!

Other skiing essentials to consider when packing

Although not necessary, it’s nice to have a pack of hand warmers handy. We typically each tuck a set into a pocket so that they can be pulled out if the day or our hands get cold. As they are lightweight and inexpensive, they are nice to have on hand.

🌟 Insider tip: Buy extra hand warmers and keep them in the car for early spring outdoor sporting events. They’ve saved my life during more than one March soccer tournament!

A good pair of snow boots is another great additional item to pack. If you are staying at a ski-in/ ski-out location you technically don’t need them, but if you are on a ski vacation, there is probably a LOT of snow, so it’s much safer to wear snow boots than tennis shoes when you aren’t skiing.

Plus, you might want to go tubing, snowshoeing, or even winter hiking – in which case snow boots will be a necessity.

And if you want warm feet, purchase a pack of toe warmers to tuck into your boots!

snow boots in the snow

We also always pack a few granola bars (or candy bars) in our pockets for a mid-morning break. When the kids were little, we discovered that stopping for a candy bar (already a fun treat) would easily give us another hour or two on the slopes!

🌟 Insider tip: This list would also be perfect for any cold-weather vacation that included snowshoeing, tubing, or other outdoor sports.

Not a skier? Don’t worry there are plenty of other things to do on a ski trip – and you’ll still want warm clothes to best enjoy most of them! There are so many fun things to do in the winter, all over the Midwest, and you’ll enjoy them much more if you are prepared.

What to pack for after a day of skiing

There typically aren’t a lot of hours left in the day once you’ve finished skiing for the day. And, if you are like me, you might be a wee bit tired! However, even if you are staying in a condo and can prep your meals, the odds are good you’ll head out at least once or twice over the trip.

If you don’t mind repeating an outfit (that you likely only wear for an hour or two), you can easily get buy with two cute Apres ski outfits. One for a nicer dinner or night out at a bar and one for true apres ski – food and drinks at the base of the mountain.

Curious about what shoes to pack for a ski trip? Even your nicer outfit can be jeans and a cute sweater with boots since most mountain towns are pretty casual and sporty. I used to pack multiple pairs of boots but rarely wore them, so for the last few years I’ve kept it to one pair and it makes life so much easier. That and my flip-flops are typically all I need.

I’d also suggest packing some type of loungewear for hanging around your room at night. If we aren’t in the mood to head out, we typically order pizza from our favorite pizza spot and play games in the room – especially if we have friends with us. Loungewear is much more comfortable in this situation than jeans!

Make sure to pack a cute hat (to combat helmet head if you are heading out right after a day on the slopes), and less bulky mittens or gloves.

Finally, you’ll want to be sure to pack a swimsuit, cover-up (even just joggers and a sweatshirt can do the trick), and flip-flops. Nothing feels better than a beer and a soak in a hot tub after a day of skiing!

two people sitting at a picnic table enjoying a drink après ski

Fun things to bring on a ski trip

If you have the room, there are a few fun extras you could add to your what to bring on a ski trip checklist! Although on a true ski weekend, most of your time will be spent skiing, you will have some free time not on the slopes.

We always bring games that are easy to pack such as Farkle or our latest favorite Flash! We also bring our favorite soft-sided cooler for drinks and leftovers, and to pack breakfast food.

One year we even brought a ski logo puzzle and worked on it for a few nights while watching TV. It was fun and relaxing! And, when the kids were little we’d bring along a few fun crafts for them to do after skiing.

How to pack ski clothes

Let’s face it, ski clothes are bulky! There’s just no way around it and I’d be crazy impressed with anyone who could pack for a ski vacation with just a backpack. The best I’ve ever been able to do is a duffle – and that’s by having my apres ski outfits do double duty.

Definitely consider using packing cubes when you pack your clothing. I actually like to bring two bags with me. One for my “regular” clothes, and one for ski clothing/gear. I can usually get my ski stuff and my kids into one bag. This makes it easier to get ready in the morning (it’s all in one place) and it ensures your regular clothes don’t get thrown around when everyone is getting ready in the morning (if YKYK).

After the first ski trip of the season, I clean anything that needs to be cleaned and then repack the ski bag. That way the next trip all I have to worry about is the non-ski clothing and toiletries.

FAQs: what to pack for skiing

What are the essentials for a ski trip?

Everything on the attached “what to pack for a ski trip list printable”. Or at a minimum a warm ski jacket, gloves, and socks.

What do I need for a week long ski trip?

Aside from the ski trip essentials listed in this post, you’ll want three or four outfits for the times you are not skiing – you won’t wear them for long, so you can probably get by with packing lighter.

What toiletries should I pack for a ski trip?

Aside from your normal toiletries, pack lip balm and sunscreen – you will need both!

Download this free printable ski trip packing list to help you remember what to bring skiing.

Conclusion: what to pack for a ski trip

Embarking on a ski trip requires thoughtful preparation to ensure comfort, warmth, and maximum fun on the slopes. From choosing the right base layers to having an après-ski plan, this comprehensive guide for what to pack for a ski trip offers insights and suggestions to ensure your winter getaway is a breeze.

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-timer, prioritizing essential gear and packing efficiently can make all the difference. Remember, your ski experience will be determined not just by your skill, but also by how prepared you are for the elements.

So, adhere to this ski checklist and ensure that your next skiing adventure is nothing short of memorable. Bundle up, enjoy the chilly air, and make the most of every winter moment! Safe skiing! 🎿❄️🏔️


Planning a ski trip and not sure what to pack? Just want to make sure you have everything you need? Check out this post with all your skiing essentials and then download your list of what to pack for a ski trip. #printable #skitrip
Planning a ski trip and not sure what to pack? Just want to make sure you have everything you need? Check out this post with all your skiing essentials and then download your list of what to pack for a ski trip. #printable #skitrip