I was packing this morning, trying to decide what to take on my ski trip, when I remembered that a problem shared is a problem halved. So, I put fingers to keyboard and pulled together the ultimate ski trip packing list according to my 8 years as a skier, 7 ski trips, and a little bit of internet research.
So here’s everything you need to take on a week-long ski trip.
Let’s start from the feet upwards.
Ultimate Packing List for Skiing
Snow boots / hiking boots
In an ideal world we’d all have some fur lined snow boots (hmmm, £20, tempting), but I don’t, so you can definitely make do with some hiking boots. My little beauties were from Sports Direct, at around £40, just before I went to Costa Rica. I feel like a right adventurer when I put these on, they’re weather proof, and they’re super comfy too. I’ve found them on Amazon for £32.99.
Painful feet are the number one killer of any fun when you’re skiing, and cold feet are the second. Invest in good skiing socks. And you can wear them two days each, who cares? Depending on the socks (some are specially insulated) you can always wear normal socks underneath for extra warmth.
2-3 pairs minimum, obviously one a day is ideal but who’s got the money and suitcase space for that?
These aren’t an absolute necessity but depending on your circulation you might find it comforting to know you have the option of heat packs in extreme cold. Each packet has ten hours of heat, when exposed to air. I’ve got some of these for my skiing trip to Finland, my toes get cold.
Bring one per day
Being cold when you’re up on the mountain is horrible, trust me, I’ve been there, several times. Invest in some good thermals, they don’t have to cost loads. I’ve previously bought them from Primark and been fine, although they’ve either shrank over the years (or I’ve grown), either way I’ve just bought some new ones from Trespass that were reduced from £50 to £20. Gotta be good right?
I would absolutely, definitely, not go skiing unless I had some good thermals on.
Usually the thermal layers will only work if they’re against your skin so don’t go thinking that a top underneath will help you to stay warm – follow the instructions for use.
Two sets minimum, unless you have a washing machine.
I just wear my normal knickers, and then either a sports bra or a normal one. It’s not like you’re bouncing around much, well, hopefully not. A good comfy supportive one will do. You’re gonna sweat though, so depends which bra you want to do that in.
Two per day, stay fresh with some new ones for the evening.
My skiing experience
Canada: Sun Peaks
Germany: All over
I’ve only ever skied in my tshirt once, and it felt good. When I learnt to ski, in Slovenia, it was warm enough to ski in the ski pants and a tshirt. Never again though. Pack a few cool ones in your luggage though, just in case. You can always wear them as a fourth layer.
Take a few
Choose a fleece top or two that undoes at the top, as in, has a zip. This way you can let a blast of cold air in if you start to overheat from the ski work out. The best ones are made from Merino wool, but you’ll also find they’re the most expensive. I don’t have one. I have two Trespass fleeces, one’s a hoody and ones a pullover. And they’re both toasty AF.
Two will do
I want to say don’t scrimp on the ski jacket because this is your main shield against the elements but at the same time, I’ve just picked this beaut up from Trespass at £40 (nearest shop to my house, don’t have time to faff about). Try TKMaxx and the sales at the likes of Mountain Warehouse and Trespass, or, if you’ve got the cash to burn, Google.
There are some beautiful ski jackets around but you’re definitely going to be paying a good amount for them. Be warned about the ones with the super trendy fluffy linings on the hood – my favourites – that fur doesn’t seem as much fun when it’s cold and wet and in your face. Obviously you don’t have to worry about packing this for your ski trip, you can just wear it.
Just the one will do it.
If you’re going to a ski festival in Europe, you definitely need the coolest ski jacket you can find.
You need one of these. They keep your neck warm under your coat and help to seal up your body against the cold. You can also pull them up to cover your mouth and keep your chin warm. You can get some pretty funky ones, to stay bright, but here’s a sleek example from Amazon.
It’s a good idea to have two, as putting on a cold one is not nice
Make sure they fit well and keep your hands warm. Don’t get big baggy ones that you’ve borrowed off someone, they’ll just be annoying and keep falling off. Your fingers will feel the cold first so make sure they’re well protected. If you can get ones that attach to your coat, that’s always useful.
It can be a good idea to have a thin cotton pair within a heavier duty pair. My cotton ones have some weird magic in the finger tips so that I can still press my phone buttons without taking them off. Very useful up on the mountain. And then get some mittens to go over the top – they keep your hands warmer than finger gloves.
Two pairs, different thicknesses
If you’re skiing you’ll most likely be wearing a helmet – good for keeping you safe, and warm – but you’ll want a hat to put on for the apres, or when you’re eating your lunch. Just any old beanie will keep you warm. I have one from Primark and one from Oliver Bonas, just in case.
Two, in case you lose one.
I like to ski with a rucksack on, generally so I have somewhere to put my layers if I need, keep my camera stuff, a drink and maybe a snack too. It doesn’t make a difference to me whether I have the rucksack on or not but I know some people find them annoying. Up to you!
Or, you might prefer to use a bum bag / fanny pack instead.
Sunglasses / glasses / contact lenses / goggles
I’m short sighted so I prefer to ski in contact lenses. This means that if for any reason I lose my glasses, I can still see. I mean, it hasn’t happened yet but life is all about damage limitation, right? I take some cheapo sunglasses to wear for the apres, or when we’re chilling, and then goggles for when I’m skiing. These help to keep your face warm, protect against wind chill, and reduce the brightness from the slopes. Make sure to take your own as they’re pretty cheap to buy, but as I discovered in Japan, very expensive to rent.
Enough contact lenses for the week, some sunglasses and your goggles
You can buy everything you need for skiing from Amazon. Check out the prices here.
At the hotel / chalet
I’ve packed my slipper socks – don’t take up much space and an absolute dream to put on after a hot shower.
Same reason. You just want to be comfy and free to move around after a day on the slopes. Tracksuit bottoms are the answer!
After some apres ski and a good hearty dinner, you can slip into your comfy pyjamas and go right to sleep.
Swimming costume / bikini
Needed for the spa opportunities. Medicinal.
Keep a jumper or cardigan or three clean for your evening meal.
For the spa, your bathroom, and who knows, there might be a pool too?
The apres ski
Almost all attire fits here, just leave your heels and loafers at home.
In the bathroom
Just a list, don’t think you need an explanation, do you?
Cough & cold treatment
First Aid Kit
Camera / GoPro, and attachments
Weather proof case for your phone
MAKE SURE YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE IS VALID
If you forget stuff
Don’t worry. If you’re going to a main ski area there’ll be at least one shop waiting with open arms to sell you some overpriced ski wear. You’ll just be limited in price and money, but trust me, there’ll be options for most things. But, that’s what they want you to do. With this packing list for skiing you should have everything you need, covered.
What not to pack
- Big chunky scarves – could be good for the evening, but really, they just get in the way, take up too much space, and you can wear your gaitor to keep warm for the apres.
- Anything fancy – trust me, even if you’re going somewhere where the nightlife is legendary you can still get away with hiking boots, jeans and a tshirt. You’ll look like an idiot if you bring your ‘out out’ clothes, and you’ll freeze.
- Skirts and dresses – nahhhh, comfort and warmth rule all.
- Straighteners and curlers – why bother?
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