The ultimate ski packing list

Is there anything better than going on vacation? Well, maybe packing for one! The excitement builds as you lay out your outfits and sort through your bookings with feverish anticipation. Ski vacations require a little extra planning in the packing department, and you’ll want to make sure that you pack everything you need for a comfortable time on the slopes. We’ve put together a list of what to pack on a ski trip. It’ll help you be prepared for whatever the slopes throw at you.

Insurance details

Insurance is one of the most important things that you can take on any trip, but particularly for a ski vacation. Get yourself a policy that is comprehensive, covering you for any and every eventuality. Ski insurance should cover you for winter sports and medical attention at a minimum. When you’re hurtling down the side of a mountain on two slippery skis, you don’t want to take any chances, and a great insurance policy is a fast-track ticket to peace of mind. Take a copy of your insurance documents with you. You can take digital copies on your phone, or print off hard copies to stash in your suitcase, but make sure that you have them and that you can access them easily.

A ski backpack

A good day pack will serve you well for carrying all your bits and bobs around the resort. Opt for something small and weatherproof. Going for a smaller ski pack has several benefits; it’s easy to carry, won’t get in your way, and you won’t be tempted to overfill it. A backpack is easiest, especially when you’re also lugging ski equipment around. Just sling it over your shoulders and away you go!

A reusable water bottle

Skiing is pretty intense, and between the adrenaline, the workout, and the layers of winter clothing, you’re sure to work up a sweat. Make sure that you have access to water to keep yourself alert, healthy, and hydrated on your ski vacation. Taking a reusable water bottle is the best way to go for any type of travel. It is eco-friendly and far cheaper than buying loads of single-use bottles. Reusable water bottles come in all shapes and sizes, from thermal flasks to bottles you can clip on your bag.

A multitool 

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared, just ask the Boy Scouts! A multitool might make you think of childhood camping trips, but it is an invaluable tool when you’re doing anything outdoorsy. You can get multitools with everything one them, from corkscrews to scissors, nail files, and screwdrivers. Particularly if you’re skiing solo, you never know when you might need to fix, remove or open something, and a multitool allows you to have everything you need at your fingertips. Don’t forget to pack it in your hold luggage – you won’t be allowed to take a multitool in your carry-on.

A pair of ski goggles in the snow

Ski goggles

These should be right at the top of your ski packing list, even if you’re only an occasional skier. Ski goggles are the one thing that is worth having that’s your own. You can hire skis, boards, and helmets from resorts, but ski goggles are very expensive to borrow. After a week of hiring a pair, you’ll have spent what you would on goggles of your own. The best ski goggles have anti-glare coverings on the lenses to help prevent snow blindness and form a good seal around your eyes.

A warm hat

Make yourself ski-slope chic with a wooly hat. Beanie, bobble, or tracker, it doesn’t matter, and whether you enjoy rocking headwear or not, it’s pretty much non-negotiable. You’ll need to pack a hat. The temperatures at most ski resorts are cold anyway, and when you factor in the windchill as you zoom down the mountainside, your ears will thank you for packing a hat!

Sunglasses

Assuming that you don’t want to spend your entire vacation wandering around in your ski goggles, a pair of sunglasses is a must-pack ski item. We head into the mountains for crisp sunny days at high altitudes, surrounded by gleaming white snow. This weather may be spectacular, but that brightness comes with a sting in the tail if you’re not careful; snow blindness. This unpleasant condition is not to be taken lightly and can put a real dampener on your ski vacation. A good pair of sunglasses will help to prevent it, as it will block out many of the harmful UV rays being bounced into your eyes off of the snow.

Sun cream

It’s not just your eyes, you need to protect your skin from those UV rays as well. Strong sun cream or block is a must when you’re skiing, to combat the strong sunlight at high altitudes. Also, a separate sunblock stick for your lips will help to prevent painful burns and chapped skin around the mouth. Whether you prefer a spray or a cream, this is a must-have item on your ski packing list.

A ski buff

You might be asking; ‘What’s a ski buff?’ It’s essentially a tube of material, which sounds simple enough, but doesn’t really do justice to the usefulness of this handy little accessory. Buffs are made of thin, warm, moisture-wicking material, and are a multi-tasking marvel. They can be worn as a scarf, a face mask, a bandana, a hat, a wristband, and many other things too. They are an easy, lightweight thing to throw in your bag which has a ton of uses on a ski vacation.

A man in ski gear on a mountain

Thermal ski clothing

One thing you can guarantee about a ski vacation; it’s going to be cold. Even if you’re doing a bit of summer skiing, high altitudes and mountainous microclimates mean that temperatures are not going to be warm, so you’ll need some good warm base layers to keep out the chill. Thin thermal layers are ideal. Often made of a material such as merino wool, good ski base layers should be moisture-wicking, easy to layer, and comfortable. You can get thermal versions of everything, even underwear, so you can rest assured that you’ll be toasty, even if the temperature plummets.

Waterproofs

While we’re on the subject of ski clothes, you’ll want some waterproofs. Of course, a waterproof jacket is a must, particularly if it’s lined with a warm material. Waterproof trousers are also a fantastic idea. They’re great for keeping out the wet and the cold, so are ideal for trudging through deep snow or sliding down slopes. The most crucial element of your waterproof outfit should be a great ski jacket. This outer shell does a lot of heavy lifting in terms of keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable on the mountain.

Gloves

We’re not talking about dainty, fashionable gloves you might wear when heading to the shops. You’ll want to invest in some proper snow gloves. The ones that are thick, weatherproof, and make it amazingly cumbersome to hold or handle anything – except for ski poles. Your hands are one of the most susceptible areas of your body to cold temperatures, so you’ll need to look after them if you want to get the most out of your ski vacation.

Ski socks

While we’re talking about gloves, we can’t forget socks. While they may not be the most glamorous item on your ski packing list, the humble ski sock is truly the MVP of a successful winter vacation. Think thick, wooly, and guaranteed to keep your toes safe from freezing temperatures. If in doubt, go for a blend of materials. Many ski socks are made of synthetic fabrics such as nylon, which allow them to be designed specifically for comfort and durability. When buying ski socks, you should go for a snug fit, to go easily under boots. Don’t wear regular socks underneath, and never double up on ski socks, as you’ll make your boots too tight and have a very uncomfortable day on the slopes.

Ski boots on a rack

Boots

Staying in the foot region, if you’re investing in one piece of ski equipment, it should be good ski boots. They are absolutely integral to your comfort, safety, and enjoyment, and nothing will ruin your vacation faster than sore feet. You can hire boots, but it’s unlikely you’ll get the time you need to ensure that they’re a proper fit, so it’s usually best to get yourself a pair of your own.

Hand and foot warmers

These little lifesavers are a great way to keep your extremities toasty in cold weather, and a hero item on any ski packing list. They are usually filled with self-heating microcrystals, which warm up when moved and cool down gradually. They are small enough that they can slide inside gloves or socks to give wearers an extra burst of comforting heat.

Muscle soaks

Pack yourself a treat for when you get off the slopes with a muscle soak. When you return to your ski vacation rental home, ease your tired muscles with bath salts, bubbles, or anything which helps you to relax and unwind. Ski packing is as much about little touches to treat yourself as it is about the practicalities.

Après ski clothing

Don’t forget to pack something stylish for après ski sessions! Whether you like to go casual or relish the opportunity to dress up, layers are the key to partying in comfort and style. It’s also a great chance to let loose and express yourself after being bundled up in ski gear all day, so don’t be afraid to pack something fun and funky.

Two women enjoying drinks after skiing

Book your ski vacation with Top Villas

Whether you’re heading for the glamorous slopes of Chamonix or the family-friendly fun of Park City, book your vacation homes with Top Villas. Our villas are beautiful, and perfect for large groups as well as small families, with space for all your ski gear and easy access to the best slopes in the world. We also offer a fantastic range of Travel Extras, designed to make your ski vacation go seamlessly from the moment you arrive.

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