Whether you’re going skiing for the very first time or this is your tenth trip, you don’t want to arrive at your ski resort without the essentials. But what is essential for your skiing vacation? The essential items are those items you must pack to stay safe and enjoy your special winter sports experience on a true skiing and snowboarding mountain.
What is essential will be different for every skier. Here is a quick, catch-all guide to ensure that you don’t miss out on the fun because you didn’t prepare.
Before packing, organize your mind by writing a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to pack for your skiing vacation. First, write 5 headings to help direct your thoughts:
- Vital items
- The usual vacation items
Once you’ve compiled your list, you can cross off each item as you pack to ensure you don’t leave anything essential behind.
These are things you literally can’t survive without. They will be different for each skier. For example, if you suffer from a peanut allergy, you won’t want to leave behind your EpiPen, which will be indispensable in the event of an anaphylactic shock in one of the ski resort cafés. Any medication you or your family members require should be listed under vital items.
If you enjoy backcountry, cross-country skiing, a locator beacon might save your life. Imagine you ski below a cliff, and an avalanche covers you completely. Unable to move and invisible to rescue workers, your locator beacon will direct the first responders straight to your location.
A compact first aid kit may come in very handy in the event of a fall. Even if you don’t suffer any accidents, you may wish to apply band-aids to your blisters after returning to your chalet.
On your first skiing adventure, you may choose to hire all your skiing equipment. However, if you plan to ski regularly, it’s a good idea to invest in your own skis, ski poles, and ski boots.
Ski goggles come into regular contact with your face, so it’s best to buy your own rather than rent. Sunglasses help keep off the glare of the sun reflected off the snow but don’t offer as much protection as well-fitted goggles.
Everyone should wear a ski helmet to ensure their safety on the slopes. You can hire a helmet, but you may feel more comfortable wearing your own, and you’ll know it fits. A ski bag or snowboard bag will prevent damage to your equipment while you’re on the way to the slopes.
Truly enthusiastic skiing families can take even the youngest family member along on their cross-country skiing adventure by using a baby pulk. A well-designed pulk will have pouches to enable you to bring along other essential equipment. Other kinds of pulk can be used to carry camping equipment or emergency supplies on long-distance cross-country skiing adventures.
Before you invest money into purchasing any skiing equipment, take a few beginner skiing lessons to ensure that it’s really for you. You may discover that you find give snowboarding a try, skating, or snowshoeing more appealing. There’s even the exciting sport of snowfeeting (using snowskates) that’s drawing lots of attention on the slopes. Skiing and other winter sports lessons will help you to become familiar with the equipment which will help you make the right purchasing choices.
Other handy items include a GoPro to record your skiing adventure. If you’re going cross-country skiing, a mobile GPS unit with built-in maps may become indispensable. And when you take to the slopes for the first time, you may want your camera so that somebody can take an action picture when you fall. A backpack may be handy for emergency supplies.
Specialized ski jackets and ski pants are expensive. If you’re just starting out, you can hire good-quality jackets at many ski resorts for the fraction of the price of buying them. Alternatively, you could purchase more affordable jackets from as little as $100 and pants from around $80 from Amazon. When buying your first jacket, consider getting one that would work just as well for hiking or other outdoor pursuits.
When choosing ski gloves, look out for breathable and waterproof gloves. Beginners should avoid any gloves that aren’t waterproof because you are liable to fall frequently and your gloves will soon get wet. Thin glove liners can help keep your fingers toasty warm. Some skiers prefer ski mittens for extra flexibility.
While it’s important to wear appropriate ski clothing on top, don’t neglect the important layers below that help maintain your core temperature. Your base layer, or thermals, touch your skin and help keep it dry by wicking away sweat. A lightweight down jacket makes a great mid-layer.
Frequent skiers use a neckwarmer when it turns truly cold. These fill the gap between your helmet and ski jacket better than a traditional scarf. In extremely cold conditions, some skiers wear a thin balaclava beneath their ski helmet. Modern ski socks are surprisingly thin. They are designed to allow an insulating layer of warm air between your foot and inner ski boot.
The frequent change in temperature from cold to hot as you step in and out of your hotel or vacation rental can be hard on your skin, so ensure you pack some skin moisturizer. However, the most damaging problem is the strong sunlight found atop mountains and reflected by the snow. Sunscreen and lip block are essential. Hair ties are important when you’re trying to fit your helmet. When traveling with kids, baby wipes should never be left behind.
The usual vacation items
When completing your packing list, don’t forget the usual items you take on any vacation, such as your travel documents, passport, and money. Travel insurance documents may become important when skiing since falling on steep slopes can lead to the occasional bone break. If you need to hire a vehicle, don’t leave your driver’s license and international driving permit behind.