The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List – What to Bring, Buy and Rent

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Mountain view for skiers who can enjoy their trip after packing with a ski trip list

Packing for your ski trip can be a hassle. You’re picturing days spent outdoors in the crisp mountain air. And nights relaxing in a hot tub or roasting s’mores by the fire. And then you panic. You’re worried about all the gear you need and what you know you’ll forget.

Relax. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) you need to pack for your ski trip. Some of it’s essential ski gear; other items are nice to have. If this is your first ski vaction, we’ve included info about what to rent or buy on the cheap, so you’re not making a huge investment.

Pull out the suitcases and get busy. You’ll have the packing done in a flash and you can get back to dreaming about how good that fresh powder will feel under your skis!

Free Download: The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List!

Gorgeous ski mountain view to be enjoyed after packing with a complete ski trip list
Having the proper ski gear is key to a fun family ski trip! Photo credit: Liana Moore

Travel Documents & Other Travel Essentials

  • I.D.
  • Confirmation Numbers/ Itinerary
  • Credit Cards
  • Health Insurance Cards
  • Travel Insurance Documents
  • Ski Passes (Make sure to purchase in advance!)
  • Auto Insurance Cards
  • Toys, books or games
  • Fully charged electronics
  • Charging cords
  • Camera/ Phone
  • Snacks

Ski Gear to Pack

Bringing the right ski gear is a key ingredient to a successful ski vacation. Be sure to download our printable ski packing list!


Helmets may be the most important piece of ski gear. A helmet keeps your head warm as well as safe.

We like Smith helmets or K2 helmets for the adults and POC helmets for the kids. A neck gaiter or balaclava will act as a neck warmer. And it doubles as a Covid-19 face mask, if you need one. These days you can even find fun ones that go over the helmet.

Ski Gloves

Ski gloves made of Gortex will keep fingers dry and warm. Our favorites are Swany and Hestra. Hand warmers inserted into the gloves will keep fingers warm in the cold weather.

Pro Tip: Pack extra hand warmers. Cold fingers can lead to crabby moods and shorter days on the slope.

Ski Goggles

good pair of ski goggles will make all the difference on a powder day or a day with flat light. That happens when it’s overcast or snowing so there’s not enough light to see the “texture” of the snow surface.

Choose yellow, gold, amber, green or rose-colored lenses, which have higher visible light transmission (VLT), meaning they let more light pass through the lens. Also look for lenses that promise not to fog up.

Ski Socks and Base Layers

Multiple pairs of socks made for skiing are a must. Invest in a few pairs of SmartWool ski socks or Stance ski socks made of merino wool. Warm, but not sweaty feet will keep you happy.

Comfy thermal base and mid-layers or long underwear should be a moisture wicking fabric, not cotton.

Of course a waterproof ski jacket and waterproof ski pants are ski essentials. A down jacket will add warmth.

Read More: Warm Clothes Are Also Important for Snowshoeing with Kids

Family dressed for skiing with gear included on a ski trip packing list
Family dressed warmly for skiing Vail in Colorado. Photo credit: Vail Resorts/ Andrew Maguire

Miscellaneous Ski Gear

Ski resorts are located at high altitude and drinking plenty of water is key to preventing altitude sickness. So, you may want to bring a Camelbak hydration system or whatever it is that gets you to drink water.

Cold drains cell phone batteries, so you will want to pack a pocket charger to make sure that you can stay connected while on the mountain. Hand warmers next to your cell phone can also help. As a bonus, they keep you a bit warmer, too.

Don’t forget candy to carry in your pockets to provide a sugar boost. Skiing with kids? You can use candy as an extra incentive while skiing. The high end resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek often have granola bars available in the lift ticket offices.

The best ski resorts offer slopeside heated pools and hot tubs that are really fun in the winter. Soaking in warm water with snowflakes falling after an exhilarating day on the slopes is the perfect way to end the day! So be sure to pack a bathing suit!

  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Neck Gaiter
  • Ski pants and ski jacket
  • Moisture-wicking thermal base layers
  • Ski gloves or ski mittens
  • Hand/ foot warmers
  • Ski socks
  • Hydration pack (Camelbak)
  • Pocket cell phone charger
  • Pocket candy/ treats
  • Ski boots*

What to Wear if You Don’t Have Ski Pants?

There really is no substitute for ski pants. When you fall, they keep you dry and warm. Ski pants, a ski jacket and gloves are really a must-have. Discount retailers such as Walmart, Target and Costco sell ski pants for a quite low price. These will be good enough for a few days on the mountain.

If you really don’t want to buy a pair then you can rent some. What you rent may be a better quality. But it won’t be cheaper.

Read More: Should You Buy or Rent Ski Gear?

Snow tubing is fun and requires gear included on a ski trip packing list
Also, be prepared for fun other snow activities such as sledding, ice skating and even snow tubing at Adventure Ridge activities on Vail mountain. Photo credit: Vail Resorts/ Daniel Milchev

Clothing to Pack

Layers, fleece, moisture wick under layers and warm, non-slip snow boots will be your most important pieces of non-ski clothing. You will want some comfy but stylish clothes for après ski.

And, don’t forget a swimsuit! There’s nothing better for a skier than relaxing in a hot tub surrounded by snow after an exhilarating day on the ski slopes. The sun is bright at altitude so make sure to pack sunglasses.

  • Warm pants and shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans
  • Snow boots
  • Wool socks
  • Warm hat or beanie
  • Sunglasses
  • Fleece jacket
  • Warm Vest
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Dinner/ Evening Clothing
  • Swim Suit and Flip Flops
  • Undergarments
  • Sleepwear
  • Leggings or Exercise Clothing

Medicine / Toiletries to Pack

While it is always a good idea to bring along some kind of headache medicine, it is an important precaution while on a ski trip. A headache will be the first sign of altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water. Read tips on preventing altitude sickness. Pain relievers can also help relieve sore muscles.

Ski resorts are also located in dry climates. A saline nose spray can help prevent bloody noses from the dry climate. You might also want to buy and bring one these awesome portable humidifiers.

Gold Bond powder sprinkled on the feet will help keep ski socks dry and warm.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Tylenol, Advil, etc.
  • Saline nose spray
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Clorox wipes
  • First aid kit
  • Gold Bond Powder
  • Water bottle

Ski Equipment to Rent

We live in a ski resort town, so we own ski equipment. However, with the cost of transporting skis on airlines, you are going to be better off renting your skis or snowboards. If you ski several times per year, it might be worth investing in and bringing your own ski or snowboard boots, especially if you drive to a ski resort.

Otherwise, you’re probably better off renting skis. Plus it is a fun opportunity to try different types of skis for different snow conditions. Check to see if your ski rental company or hotel will provide ski valet service.

  • Skis or Snowboard
  • Ski Poles
  • Ski/ Snowboard boots*

Items to Rent if Hotel Doesn’t Provide

Extra Items for Ski Season 2022-2023

COVID-19 is still a thing and winter means flu season too. Masks or face coverings may be required in some places. And, if you’re eating outdoors, you’ll need to bundle up, more than usual. So, there are a few additional items that you may want to be sure to pack this winter.

  • A backpack for one of the adults to carry packed lunches and snacks
  • Masks, neck gaiter, balaclava or other type of face covering
  • Extra Clorox wipes for additional sanitation
  • Pocket hand sanitizer
  • Extra snacks
  • Extra hand warmers
  • Small bottles of hand sanitizer everyone can keep in a pocket

As you can see, a ski trip requires a lot of gear. Use this comprehensive ski trip packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything important.

Liana Moore lived overseas growing up, attending British public school for kindergarten in London. She then moved to Stavanger, Norway for nine years until age 15, growing up with friends of different cultures. Summers involved camps in Switzerland and Wales, plus USA time in East Texas and Minnesota. Liana sees things from others’ viewpoints, believing those experiences shaped the woman she is today. She’s instilling that empathy in her children, having fun along the way. Currently based in the mountains of Colorado, much of her time is spent exploring the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not marketing a resort property professionally, or traveling and writing, find her trying out new sports with her kids, like BMX biking, or debating with her teenager (and occasionally winning). Follow Liana’s adventures at Insider Families.
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