Figuring out a ski holiday packing list can seem a little daunting at first. It’s not quite as simple as a few summer outfits and swim suits; for a winter ski trip you need a whole array of gear to keep you warm and comfortable on the slopes. However, the good news is that quality ski gear will last you for years, can be as luxury or as affordable as you need, and can make your experience on the snow much more enjoyable. So, let us take you through our exactly what to pack for your next ski trip…
Our Essential Ski Holiday Packing List:
Thermals / Base Layers
One of the most important elements of your ski gear are your base layers. These will ensure that you stay warm on the slopes. As with any other element of ski kit, there’s a lot of variation here in terms of what individual skiers prefer to wear. Some don’t bother with thermals at all, others (me included) can’t be without them, even on warmer spring skiing days! You can get various types of thermals, from compression leggings to merino wool, even heated options are available! We’re particularly loving Oosc’s playful base layer sets at the moment, which would definitely make you the best-dressed back at the chalet!
Whether you prefer an oversized hoodie, a cosy fleece or a highly technical Arc’Teryx option, mid-layers are often lifesavers when the temperature drops. On a spring ski day, you might even use one of these as your outer layer, particularly if you’ve got a DWR treated garment, such as this awesome technical hoodie from Friski.
Salopettes & Ski Jacket
Another hugely important part of your ski holiday packing list and definitely where we would recommend investing if you only have a limited budget and are needing some new ski kit. Ski jackets and pants can vary hugely in terms of technicality and price. Some super high-end options with all the latest tech can be pretty pricey, but you also don’t want a jacket that won’t keep you dry or warm. Therefore we’d recommend a mid-range option that gives you all the best technical features at great value prices. Take a look at our pick of the latest apparel here.
One cannot overestimate the importance of ski socks. Not only do they keep your feet toasty, but they can also have a serious impact on how your ski boots fit. Get the right ski socks and well-fitted ski boots and you’ll never be that guy complaining at the end of every run! Our top choice? Anything from Falke, who know everything there is to know when it comes to seriously good ski socks.
In the past, this may not have been an item many people thought about purchasing for their ski trip. Admittedly, you can hire them, but if you’re going to be taking a number of ski holidays, it’s a good idea to purchase your own helmet. Not only do they provide added protection in case of an accident, they’re also quite helpful to keep your ears warm! Just make sure that you get the correct fit and look into your options (e.g. many people choose helmets with MIPS technology if they want the ultimate safety standard).
Protecting your eyes is essential on the slopes, not just from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but also from the elements! Though it can be worth investing in a pair of high end ski goggles if you really want the best optical experience (e.g. Oakley’s Prizm lenses, or Bollé’s Phantom+), there are a range of budget-friendly options available if you don’t want to fork out just quite yet.
Cold feet and cold hands are two things that can seriously ruin a day’s skiing, so it’s really worth investing in a pair of ski gloves. Nowadays gloves come in a whole range of styles, colours and materials, but you can’t go wrong with Gore-Tex, which is practically guaranteed to keep your digits dry and warm. If you really feel the cold, it might also be worth a few small hand warmers into your suitcase, which can be purchased at many ski shops.
Snood / Balaclava
If you feel the cold, then packing an extra snood or two can make the world of difference on those colder days. You can grab a full head balaclava, or simply snap up one of these fail-safe and budget friendly neck warmers from Decathlon.
Hat / Sunglasses / SPF
All the small things, but no less important than the larger items! The sun’s rays are even more powerful at altitude and with the reflection of the snow, skiers often find their faces getting pretty rosy! SPF face cream and lip balm is therefore a very savvy thing to pack for your ski holiday. What’s more, eye protection is hugely important when you’re on the snow, as we’ve mentioned. If it’s a sunny day and you’re not wearing your ski goggles (because who wants to keep those on at après-ski!) then sunglasses are definitely worth bringing. Likewise, a hat can be a god-send on a chilly day when you don’t quite fancy wearing your helmet at the lunch table!
So how do you carry all this on the slopes you might wonder? Many ski jackets do have a vast array of pockets, but this often isn’t too comfortable, and you may find yourself losing items as you root around for your lip balm on a lift! Instead, we would definitely suggest carrying a ski backpack, so you can ensure you’ve got more than enough layers, any extras such as hats or sunglasses, water, piste maps and … If you’re an experienced skier planning to head off piste, a backpack is a necessity as you should be carrying avalanche gear (shovel and probe).
Avalanche Safety Gear
If you do think you’ll be venturing even slightly off piste, you should be packing an avalanche safety kit, including transceiver, shovel and probe. This is imperative for your whole groups’ safety when heading into ungroomed terrain, provided you all have them! You’ll also need to make sure you know how to use this gear. Head to a UK based training talk, such as those from Henry’s Avalanche Talk, or book a training session in resort.
Ever tried stomping through deep snow in trainers? Not an experience you’d want to repeat. Snow boots with good sole grip (such as Vibram soles) are definitely recommended when heading to any winter resort, not only to avoid getting snow-covered ankles, but also to give you more stability if you do come across an unexpected patch of ice on your evening amble.
An absolute essential of a ski holiday packing list if you’re skiing with children (or if you’re not…) are some mid-ski snacks. Speaking from personal experience, a well timed chairlift Mars Bar has been known to taste better than anything known to man. Or, if you’re more healthy and have less of a sweet tooth, some nuts or a TRIBE bar are also great choices to keep energy levels up.
If you’re a serious skier, you might also be bringing your own skis and boots, but we’ve not included these here as that’s a whole ‘nother guide! If you do want more info on skis and boots, check out our buyer’s guide here.