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Ski Gear: Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List

Ski Gear: Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List

In the winter, the snow falls on the slopes of countless ski resorts around the world. These resorts beckon thousands of people every single year. Why would they not? The soft snow blanketing the natural scenery while the fireplaces blaze in chalets and cabins. While many visit these resorts for things beyond skiing, there are also many dedicated to the winter sport life.

I understand, however, that some of you are just starting out and you don’t exactly know a lot about skiing. Have no fear, for I am here! In this article, I will lay out all the best essential ski gear so you can be prepared on your ski-cation. But for more on the history of skiing, check this out.

Also take a look at these guides on some of the best ski areas in Europe:

Best Ski Resorts in Italy

Best Ski Resorts in Austria

Skiing in Scotland

Person in full ski gear scoping out the slopes before heading down
Man about to go skiing

Ski Base Layers: A Warm Foundation

When packing for a ski trip, you should pack a good set of base layers, especially when your destination is snowy. The best way to chase the cold away is with a good foundation so make sure you take a few things into account. You want it to be comfortable, mid-weight, and warm. There are a lot of options out there, I know. Let me break down the best base layer options for you!

Ski Men’s Wear

There were several choices I looked at for men’s base layers. Some look the exact same and others are just ridiculous. Luckily, I did manage to find some great options for you to choose from. Let’s begin.

Blue and green skis laid out on the floor with their poles by their sides
Skis, Boots, and Poles
Breathable Thermal Shirts

First up is the Helly Hansen Merino Crew Neck. This particular shirt has a wool exterior and a Lifa technology interior. The 2-in-1 base layer provides a great amount of warmth. The flat seams allow for more comfort and no itch. Slim-fitting and light-weight, the Merino crew will get you looking and feeling good on and off the slopes. Knock these off your ski checklist right away.

When I said your base layer should be mid-weight, I meant that it should be warming but comfortable to wear in various seasons during various activities. I found another awesome option for your base layer. REI Co-Op Midweight Base Layer is a polyester shirt suitable for any kind of activity. The breathable sweat wicking material keeps you as comfortable and fresh as possible while you swoosh down the slopes.

Form Fitting Thermal Long Johns

For a base layer, just a shirt isn’t really enough. Under your pants you’ll need leggings or a short of fitted long Johns to keep your legs extra warm. I recommend the SmartWool NTS Bottoms because they’re light-weight fitted wool leggings and so comfortable, buyers tend to wear them daily and buy multiple pairs. The covered elastic pants protects against the annoying waistband line. The flat seams fight against chaffing while the form fit allows you to move as you’d like.

Person about to ski down with their gear in hand
Skier adorning gear

Another awesome option is the Icebreaker 260 Tech Base Layer Leggings. Now, this pair is just as good as the last one. It’s made of Merino wool with UV protecting features. The wool in these leggings have been certified with the Responsible Wool Standard, meaning they’ll last you a long while. These leggings will keep you warm and dry while wicking off sweat. They are an absolute must for ski gear while packing for a ski trip.

Women’s Ski Clothes

Shopping isn’t easy. Shopping for vacation is worse. And shopping for things that are comfortable, fashionable, and compliments you is nearly impossible. I’ve made it simpler for you to cross these items off your ski checklist.

Woman bundled up in layers while it snows
Woman in winter wear
Thermal Shirts To Look Good and Feel Warm

I know that it can be difficult to find thermal sportswear that is comfortable and flattering without making you look like a magazine model. It can get frustrating so I’ve picked out an awesome shirt. Hot Chilly’s Peppers Bi-Ply Top is a comfortable relaxed fit perfect for the winter chill. The flat seams make for a non-abrasive feel and the soft material gives it a T-shirt like feel.

Another relaxed option for women’s thermal shirts for skiing is the SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer. The fabric used  has sun protection as well as moisture wicking. The relaxed fit and sleek style makes it comfortable for the chalet and the slopes. It comes in several different colors to suit every style.

The scape of the forest in the winter
Forest in the winter
Thermal Leggings for Optimum Mobility

Now I absolute love leggings and wear them almost every single day. Thermal leggings are an absolute essential piece of ski equipment, especially thermal ones. I like the Icebreaker 200s because I wear leggings until they tear at the seams and these last at least 2 years. On top of the cozy Merino wool, it is sun-protective fabric, moisture wicking, and quick drying. This makes a perfect first layer in your ski packing list.

Now, I understand that leggings are not just for comfort but also for sport. As a fan of the warming Merino wool, I have to recommend these REI Co-Op Tights. The form fit make it easy to wear under layers of other warm sporty clothes and provide optimum warmth. These multi-sport tights are moisture wicking and quick drying.

Winter town in France with freshly fallen snow all around
Winter mountain town in France

Skiing Clothes Mid-Layers: For Extra Warmth

There’s another layer? Yes there is, to prevent hypothermia. Layering is a very important thing to consider when packing for a ski trip. In the mountains it can get below freezing, so for your safety, please wear more than one layer. Mid-layers can vary from a second shirt to a vest to a light-weight jacket, but allow me to give you the top rated items.

Men’s Second Layer

Coming in three colors, the North Face Gordon Fleece is more than just looks. The polyester fleece material gives you a comfy feeling while you explore the vast winter scenery. The zipper allows you to adjust to your style and the chest pocket is the perfect place to safely store your phone and/or wallet. The fit is standard, not too tight or too loose, to provide you with optimum comfort.

Person cross country skiing between towering cliffs
Cross country skiing

My second recommendation is from the same company. The North Face Borod Mid-Layer is a little thinner than the last but just as warm and cozy. It is a slim fit fleece that provides the wearer with a sleeker look while the polyester blend keeps the chill away. The fleece is also very breathable to keep from feeling muggy or stale so all you have to worry about is your balance on the skis.

Women’s Essential Ski Clothes

Fleece is the go to for mid-layers. The warmth and comfort it provides is practically unmatched. So for women, I recommend the Patagonia Cotton Snap-T Pullover for your mid-layer needs. The soft fabric will tempt you to sleep in the thing while the polyester cotton blend maintains consistent breathability. This is a very versatile pullover that you can include outside your skiing checklist.

Purely white snow on the forest
Ski mountains

North Face is a great brand simply because they are reliable and their products are good. The price is most definitely worth it especially for their Osito Jacket. Coming in a total of five colors, this relaxed fitting jacket will make you look sleek and cuddled up.

Ski Jackets: The Final Layer

Now, some skiers wear the full jumpsuit to go skiing. I do not recommend this because they’re hard to get off in a hurry. So in, say, a bathroom emergency you might not be able to get it off in time. I’d go the more convenient route of a snow jacket and pants. They’re much easier to get off and you don’t have to worry about accidents.

Men’s Ski Jackets for His Skiing Gear List

Having a jacket that is waterproof is critical when going on a vacation that include a large amount of snow being whirled around you from every direction. The North Face Clement Jacket is suited to withstand heavy snow. It is an insulated jacket with a removable hood, large interior pockets, and underarm venting so you can reach maximum comfort and mobility.

Wintery village in the mountains glowing with light and gently blanketed with snow
Mountain village

The alternative I would go for is the Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket due to its durability and weatherproofing. The breathable material ensures that you won’t feel stuffy as you stick it to the other skiers on the slopes. The sleek design puts the clunky snowsuit style to rest and makes it easy to take on and off.

Best Women’s Ski Jackets

I know that snow jackets can make you look clunky but I have found some sleek jackets that are sure to compliment you. For example, the North Face Apex Flex is a great relaxed fit jacket equipped to withstand heavy snow fall while remaining breathable. It even has a headphone pass through so you can listen to some tones to really set the skiing mood. Remove the hood for a sleeker look too.

Another fashionable option is the Columbia Lay D Down II Jacket. In three colors, this satin polyester blend will certainly keep you warm on your ski excursion. The removable hood and faux fur makes it adjustable to any type of style. This is also a waterproof piece of ski equipment. Fashionable and functioning, that’s the dream, right?

Ski boots being attached to skis on the snow floor
Ski gear

Ski Pants: Final Layer

Two layers of bottoms isn’t enough to protect your poor legs against the unforgiving bite of winter. While the heating systems help while at resorts and other facilities, they don’t necessarily work when you’re out skiing. So let’s look at some pants!

Best Ski Men’s Pants

I wouldn’t recommend them if they were only a single use. These pants are also good for hiking treks up mountains and backcountry activity. Norrona Lofoten Pants are nothing to stick your nose up at. The deep pockets will prove to be helpful with carrying the small stuff you don’t want to stuff into your backpack.

The Arc’teryx Rush LT Pants are another great option. These include suspenders so you don’t have to worry about your pants loosening around your waist. Wind and water proof just as the last pair, they are perfect for winter sports and the breathable material will inevitably prove to be helpful.

Chair lifts heading up to the peaking ski slope with skiers riding down
Chairlifts and ski slopes

Top Women’s Ski Pants

My top recommendation for women’s ski pants are Outdoor Research Bib Snow Pants due to the style. I hate having to stop what I’m doing to pull my pants up so overalls are a great option to have. Before you brush it off, consider this: these are 3 layer water and wind proofed pants with pockets deep enough to fit a puppy. There’s also a little mesh piece to keep the snow out of your boots and frostbite from your toes.

Your next choice should be something like the AFRC Tech Softshell Ski Pants because of the micro fleece lining. This lining will insure that you are warm and not susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. There is a snow guard to keep the snow out and the warmth in. They are definitely worth the price.

Snowboarder gracefully going down the slope with a cloud of snow behind him

Ski Socks: To Cocoon Your Feet

To keep the feeling in your toes, you should have a pair or two of nice thermal socks. There are the light cushioning Smartwool PhD Socks made with little sections of mesh for breathability and warm wool to fight the cold. The flat seams counter potential irritation too.

When you buy socks and other clothes, you should NOT wear them right away. Wash them first to prevent itchiness.

There are also the Point6 Ski Light Over-the-Calf Socks which provide a light cushion on the calf and foot. These are stress areas so the cushion is a pleasant addition. The breathable material makes a great comfort while you swoosh down the slopes.

Ski Boots: They’re Made For Skiing

Footwear is very important when you choose to go on hiking or ski adventures. It’s crucial that you break them in before your trip to save yourself the blisters when you’re just trying to have a good time. This is the kind of ski gear you don’t want to be stingy on. Let’s break it down.

Top of the ski tower in the middle of winter
Obergurgl ski lift

Top Rated Men’s Ski Boots

For downhill skiing, I recommend Apex Ski Boots. They are a stiff flex boot that reduces frame weight by 20%. These boots are for the more experienced skiers as they are designed for more aggressive speeds. Beginners should go with Salomon QST Boots as they are soft flex and easy to walk in. I like these ones because you can use them for hiking as well, meaning they have many uses.

For cross country skiing you need something a little different. These boots are more similar to hiking or motorcycle boots. You should try the Rossignol BC X12 Boots. They have high durability and warmth that is perfect for cross country skiers. Cross country skiing requires a type of ski equipment that can keep you comfortable for long periods of time. These are those kind of boots.

Skier swooshing down the ski run skillfully
Skier in Austria

Best Women’s Ski Boots

For downhill skiing, I recommend putting Dalbello Kyra MX Boots on your skiing packing list , the soft flex if great for beginner and intermediate skiers. They aren’t hard to walk in either. The material itself is fairly breathable as well.

For the well experienced skiers, the Tecnica Mach1 Boots will demonstrate innovative buckle mechanisms and easy customizable shells. The cuff adjustments allow for a snug fit and protect against. These are a little harder to walk in but it’s well worth the speed you can get on them.

Now, cross country skiing is a whole other story. These Alpina Alaska BC Boots are great sleek boots that make the long distance ski much easier. The foot beds provide great balance and the boots themselves are lined with insulation to keep your feet warm in the bitter cold.

Backcountry skiing is another form of cross country skiing but requires a bit more bulk. I recommend these Salomon QST Boots that were made for both downhill and backcountry skiing. The stiff flex provide power transfer and you can walk in them no problem.

Skiing village quaintly resting at the bottom of the mountains in snow
Skiing village

Thermal Gloves: Keep Those Mitts Warm

Ski gloves are a very important piece of ski gear. Like in all winter-based activity, gloves are essential to fight against frostbite and potential losing one of those lovely fingers. I recommend the Outdoor Research Illuminator Sensor Gloves mostly because of the individual fingers. The insulated lining makes them great for winter activities. I think the individual fingered gloves make for better grip on ski poles and other items.

Another option would be the North Face Powderflo Gloves for their water resistance, insulated lining, and breathable material is the trifecta for perfect ski gloves. On top of all that, the cuffs are adjustable. The style is sleek enough for men and women.

Skier at the top of a ski run
Ski gear about to be tested

Ski Helmets: An Absolutely Essential Ski Gear

This goes without saying but helmets are the most important piece of gear for your skiing packing list. Helmets protect your skull and in turn your brain.

The Smith Vantage Snow Helmet has lovely ventilation while keeping your head warm at the same time. The bright yellow color is a safety feature, making it easy for first responders to spot you in the event of an avalanche.

My next top pick is the Smith Hold Helmet that comes in black or orange. I recommend the orange to make it easy for people to spot you. This particular helmet is self adjusting so it’ll sit right on your head. Its venting system prevents fog in your goggles, which we’ll talk about next.

Ski Goggles: Number One Eye Protection

In any dangerous activity whether it be chemistry or skiing, everyone requires goggles. Your eyes are vital so you need to protect them. Consider putting one of these top goggles.

The first option I have are the Smith I/O Goggles with its UV protective lenses and hypoallergenic face foam. Not to mention those extra lenses it comes with for the clumsy folks out there and the helmet compatible form it takes.

Smith has great products, they’re one of the best in the goggle business. They have another great pair too. The Smith Squad Goggles like all Smith goggles they are helmet compatible with a non-slip strap and fog resistant. The sleek design is an absolute can’t miss.

Chair lifts going over the slope in the sunny off season
Off season chair lifts

Ski Equipment For the Long Term

Now, how could you possibly go skiing without the actual ski equipment? Let me break down the gear you only need to buy once. There are so many different options but let me help you out.

Skis for Your Checklist

There are some sleek nice looking skis out there but you need to make sure they won’t break on you. The Dynastar Legend X9 Skis are durable with light-weight wooden cores. They can handle the harsh bumps in the snow and contain rockers that will ensure some amazing fun on the snowy slopes. These skis were designed for men but I have an awesome pair just for women too.

The Dysnastar Legand 96 Skis are just as light-weight and easy to maneuver as the other skis. Also containing a wooden core, the agility it gives doesn’t compromise the stability of your footing. The sleek design will tempt your friends to buy them too.

Cross country ski route generously dusted with snow, lined with snowy trees with a sunset in the distance
Trail in the winter forest

Stability with Your Ski Poles

Next up on the agenda are the poles you use to ski. Poles that are for everyone are the Rossignol Stove Pipe Poles. These poles are made of strong lightweight aluminum with bi-material grip for a secure and comfortable grip. The disks at the bottom make for a more reliable hold on hard packed snow.

My next recommendation is the Salomon X 08 Ski Poles. Also made from aluminum, they ensure safe and comfortable skiing on your ski-cation. These are great for stability and comfort. My advice would be to know how long you need them as neither are adjustable.

Best Ski Bindings: The Last Piece

The last piece of ski gear you need to complete the essential list are the bindings. These are meant to stabilize your feet so you can avoid injury on the slopes.

I recommend the KneeBinding Shadow Ski Bindings because they have a neat feature to prevent knee injury. They can handle 65+ pounds while being lightweight as well as excellent energy transfer.

Another great option with energy transferring feature is Salomon Z 12 100 Bindings. They are fine tuned to your boots so each time you slip into your bindings, they are snuggly fitted to you.

Ski poles resting in a bucket near the slopes
Ski Poles

Ski Backpacks: For All Your Supplies

I do not recommend lugging all your ski gear in your arms. You should get a gear bag to make it much easier for you.

The Osprey BigKit Duffel bag is not for a hike or walks, this is for carrying your ski gear effectively. It has a 75 liter capacity and over 4,500 cubic inches of room for you to store your gear.

However, your skis won’t fit in that duffel so I recommend the Sportube Series 2 Hard Case due to the hard protective case on the outside with foam pads to protect your skis.

For your boots, I think you should go with the Dakine DLX 55L Boot Pack. It can also hold your helmet and goggles safely while being a stylish back pack for you.

Skis sticking up from the snowy ground with skiers in the background
Ski gear

Just In Case of Emergency: Ski Gear Essentials

I’m not one to put a damper on all the fun but with winter vacations comes the possibility of accidents. First of all, you should get travel insurance! Travel Insurance is a must, especially though for skiing trips. Often, it is included as a perk on your credit card, but if your credit card does not offer this service, we highly recommend that you sign up for Travel Insurance. SafetyWing is a great choice and we can highly recommend them! Worry less about the unexpected. Make sure you’re covered!

Second, you should be prepared for common risks in the mountains. Wear your helmet. Don’t go off on unmarked slopes. In the mountains there could be surprise avalanches or blizzards that you thought were light snow fall. In case of emergency, I advise you bring along an avalanche pack. This pack should be worn every time you get on the slopes in the event of an avalanche.

Personally, I would go with the Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack. This bag deploys an airbag that can create buoyancy and decrease the depth in which you sync. It also has room for the other emergency items you might need like shoves, probes, and transceivers.

Some Places to Ski

To ensure that you make the best out of your ski trip, make sure you pack the best of the essential ski gear. You don’t want your gear to break down in the middle of the slope. That could cause serious injury to you and the people around you. So for your safety, please only bring the absolute best.

Ski Gear: Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List was written by Hedge Metreyeon.

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