With the fresh air, snow-covered trees, and charming ski towns, it doesn’t get much better than a trip to the mountains in the wintertime. Skiing and snowboarding are such fun activities and as a bonus a really great workout.
Trying to pack light in the winter is difficult with the bulky sweaters, coats, and boots, but packing for a ski trip, and all the gear that goes with it, is a whole different animal.
That said, there is nothing I love more than to bundle up in scarves and sweaters. So despite the difficulties you face trying to pack light, ski trips are one of my absolute favorite things to pack for. Having gone on many ski vacations over the years, I tried to think of everything you might need for a trip to the mountains.
Before we get into what to pack, here are a couple of packing tricks I’ve learned along the way:
- Wear your boots, your bulkiest coat, and a sweater on the flight. You might get a little warm, but it will help save a ton of space in your bag.
- Unless you really can’t part with your skis and ski boots, just plan to rent them when you get there.
- Bring a lot of light layers to go under sweaters. If you have a fresh base layer every day, you can get by with re-wearing your sweaters.
- If you decide to bring a helmet (which you probably should!) use the space inside the helmet to pack shirts, socks, or anything that will fold into the space.
- It’s easy to forget sunscreen and SPF lip balm because it’s the winter, but the reflection off the snow can be brutal for your skin. This is a must if you don’t want to get burned! I’d also remember to bring heavy-duty skin lotion as it’s usually very dry in the mountains.
WHAT TO PACK FOR ON THE SLOPES
Warm Jacket and Snow pants
Whether you’re flying down the ski slopes or walking around town, you absolutely need a warm jacket. Patagonia and North Face are my go to brands for outdoor apparel as the price point is decent and the quality is very reliable. The Patagonia down jackets are really warm, light, and pack up very tiny—perfect for travel. If you’re sick of boring black, a bright ski coat or snow pants can be the perfect thing to help others find you on the mountain.
As mentioned in the tips above, a helmet and base layers are important for a long day of skiing. Long underwear and ski socks are another easy thing to forget. My skin gets too itchy with wool, so I opt for silk long underwear. As far as socks go, I’m a big fan of the Thorlo brand. They are thin (they have a thick version as well, but I prefer the thin version), warm, and not at all itchy. For those of you who prefer wool, I know a lot of friends who swear by the Smartwool brand. If it’s going to be a cold week I usually pack a neck gator and goggles to keep the wind off my face.
When packing for post-ski activities, I like to bring my coziest things.
- Sweaters are perfect for a ski town as they are both cute and practical. There is no better place to get some use out of your fair isle or snowflake sweaters than in a ski town.
- Lightweight boots such as waterproof duck boots are perfect for walking around town and shopping. They’ll keep your feet dry and don’t get too warm if you pop into a restaurant or coffee shop for an hour or two.
- One of the best things about ski towns is that you can get away with being cozy and comfy when you go out on the town. Even the fanciest of ski towns aren’t too fussy. Jeans are perfect for daytime and evening. If you’re going to be outside ice skating or walking at night, I would suggest wearing long underwear under your jeans to keep you warm.
- Blanket scarves are a great accessory for a ski town and on the airplane. You can read all about my obsession with blanket scarves here.
- Ski towns are also a great place to pull out your faux fur–especially at resorts like Aspen or Vail. If you have something sitting in the back of your closet, now’s the time to pull it out!
- Vests are a great space-saving tip because they can easily change-up an outfit you’ve already worn, they pack up small, and they keep the chill from the wind off you.
- It seems like Pom hats are everywhere this year and they are the perfect après ski accessory because they hide your messy hair after a long day of skiing. Whether you’re having drinks at the bar, hot cocoa by the fireplace, or walking around town – it will save you from having to go back to your room to shower or do your hair right away.
- Most rental places in the mountains will have an outdoor hot tub, but I always like to double-check before booking a place just to make sure! There is nothing better than a relaxing hot tub under the stars after a long day on the mountain, and I swear they are the best thing for your tired muscles. Don’t forget your swimsuit or you’ll seriously regret it! A cozy long sweater, boots, and hat are also good to have for the 20 feet run you’ll probably have to make outside before you can jump in the hot tub!
What else do you pack for a ski trip? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!