Lifestyle,  Plan,  Skiing,  What to Pack

How to Choose What Gear to Pack for Your Next Skiing Vacation

It’s that time of year where couples and families alike decide to plan a week in the mountains, where they will enjoy skiing or snowboarding and ultimately, have no idea what to pack.

This basic packing list will vary greatly depending on who you are. If you are a member of the Houston-Fam, you may need to purchase (or rent) more items than the homies who live year-round in the mountains.

In any case, the last thing I want is for you to arrive at the mountains and realize you don’t have anything for your day skiing or snowboarding. If you are the type who only skis for one vacation a year, then you should consider renting your equipment at your destination. If you have your own equipment, feel free to pack your gear and bring it to the resort for the week.

As an experienced lifetime skier and professional ski instructor, here is my list of essentials (not including your skis & helmet) for you to pack on your next vacation.

Warm, Waterproof Gloves or Mittens Should Always Be in Your Pack

While skiing or snowboarding, one of the biggest misconceptions is that you can wear any type of gloves or mittens. I have seen countless parents and children show up for a day on the slopes with just your regular run of the mill gloves. While those gloves are cheaper and will run you $10 or less at your local superstore, investing in waterproof gloves will save your day and mindset.

Although saving on money is great, wearing the more expensive gloves/mittens will make your winter vacation so much better. People may not realize it, but the second you bend over to buckle your boots, pick up your skis/board, or dust off snow from your gear, your gloves will be soaked from the snow.

For the same reason, your hands will get cold so much faster when outside in the elements. You will last longer if you are wearing waterproof gloves or mittens. If you are freezing even in the summer, buy mittens! Don’t waste your time on gloves, just get mittens so your hands are warmer.

Sunscreen Is a Must to Pack While on the Mountain

We all know that protecting our skin should be very high on the list. When on a ski vacation, you will be at a very high elevation, which means that your skin is at an even higher risk of cancer and sunburn. If you’ve ever visited a ski resort in the spring, you have seen all the ski bums rocking their goggle tan.

Obviously, take the time to pack sunscreen, not only in your suitcase but also in your ski jacket. This way you can reapply sunscreen at least during your lunch (or every 3 hours, depending on what the directions say). Anytime I worked with clients, we would reapply sunscreen at the beginning of the day and again during afternoon lessons. If you are trying to prevent wrinkles, freckles, or uneven tan, you must take time to reapply your sunscreen while skiing on the mountain.

Always Pack a Change of Socks

The best piece of advice I ever got from someone was the idea to bring extra socks. The reasons are simple, feet get super-hot and get sweaty, especially in the car. If you have brutally cold feet all the time and any waking moment during the day, you will want to bring a change of socks.

You will want to start with socks for the drive to the mountain. Then, when you are ready to ski/board, you can change into fresh ski socks for the day. This way you aren’t wearing sweaty socks that will freeze when you get on the chairlift.

Immediately at the end of the day, you may want to change back into your morning socks (it really depends on whether or not you are spring skiing). Save your friends and family from your feet stench and swap them out (the extra smelly folk will want a bag to seal the stench away). Bring an extra pair of socks so you have something to change into before and after skiing on the mountain. Your toes will thank me.

Rent or Own Gear That’s the Right Size for You

Now, you may think that by going to the rental shop for your gear, that you will be wearing gear that is the right size. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many people I have seen while working as a ski instructor. Several people come in for the same size boot and ski, and on busy weeks you may end up giving with a similar (but not perfect) size. This can mean your boots are a little large or that your ski/board isn’t necessarily the best fit.

This information applies to those who own their gear and those who are renting. If you have gear that is fitted to you, your day on the mountain will be easier and better overall.

Equally important is the ability to put your gear on and take it off without assistance. Take the time to learn how to put your gear on and take it off. If you can’t reach your toes, you are asking for a shitty day on the mountain. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. People who can get up off the ground while their feet are strapped to a board(s) will have an easier day in lessons.

Pack Your Favorite Sunglasses or Goggles That Fit

One thing you realize while skiing every day of the year is that your need for eye protection changes. In the early winter, you may need to wear goggles, while in the spring skiing months you can easily get away with sunglasses. This will depend on your personality, as well as the weather conditions on the mountain.

Now if your goal is to just look fly on the mountain or while après skiing, sunglasses will be your go-to. But if you are a serious skier who wants to take in as many laps as possible, you will want to wear goggles. This is because goggles are typically better than sunglasses at protecting your eyes from the wind while falling down a mountain. Or you can do what I do and start with goggles, and then switch to sunglasses when you get to the bar.

Invest in Some Waterproof Pants

While not obvious to some, skiing or snowboarding will mean that you sit on wet snow several times. Therefore, you need to invest in pants that are waterproof (no, not your jeans). If you are a newer snowboarder, you will spend most of your lesson sitting on the ground in the snow. If you are a skier, you might do the same. You will also probably fall at least once in the snow during your lesson.

In any case, you should consider purchasing waterproof pants instead of the cheap version at your local supermarket. This is because, at the end of the day, you will want a comfy butt instead of a cold wet one. Save yourself the misery of shitty pants and get yourself some waterproof skiing pants to save your bum throughout your vacation.

This list of items to take on your next ski vacation will greatly improve your experience on the mountain. When you make sure to pack these items, you will be better prepared for a fantastic day on the mountain. Every day on the mountain is different, depending on weather and slope conditions, so you will need to use your best judgment.
There are many ways to improve your ski vacation in the mountains. By following this list of items to pack, you will have a better idea of what will help you. So, pack away, get on the mountain, and let me know how epic your day was.

Is there something else you would pack or is there something on this list you hadn’t thought about before? Let me know in the comments below.

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