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December 01, 2020

With the transition into winter comes memorable ski trips. Outdoor winter activities, like skiing, are one of the only ways to get outside to relieve some pandemic-related stress. We will still need to take travel restrictions and other social restrictions into consideration before hitting the slopes. Many ski trails are enforcing social distancing as they open for the season.

Preparing yourself for a ski trip, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, is a necessary skill. Forgetting the proper clothing, accessories, and equipment can lead to costly rentals or hasty purchases of ineffective gear. With our tips for how to pack for your next ski trip, you can skip an unfortunate pit stop at a nearby store and stay safe on the slopes.

Clothing Essentials

On the bunny hill, the steepest slopes, and anything in between, staying warm should be your primary concern—right above having a blast. You can’t have fun if you’re freezing cold, so you should pack enough clothes for each day of your ski trip, along with some backups. Layering your clothing to stay warm is one of the most crucial skills you’ll learn as an outdoor adventure seeker. Your clothes may take up the most room in your suitcase, but it’ll be worth it when you stay warm on the ski runs.

Waterproof Base Layers

Skiing is a physical activity, and your body will react to it in the same way it would react to any other exercise. You’re going to get sore and sweaty even in the brisk mountain air. Your base layer should prevent sweat from sticking to your clothes and skin by allowing the water to evaporate easily. Without sweat seeping into your other layers and chilling you to the bone, you’ll be able to stay outside comfortably a lot longer.

You should bring along plenty of base layers in case they get wet. If a base layer ever stays wet for too long, change into a new one as soon as you can, or you’ll be in danger of frostbite or hypothermia the longer you stay out.

Plenty of Insulation

Your middle layers should keep you warm and protected from the elements. This layer consists of shirts and fleeces you can remove once you’ve warmed up. They don’t need to be waterproof, since your base layer and outer shell should handle water, but if they do get wet, then you’ll need to replace or remove them.

A Cozy Outer Shell

The last layer of clothes you need to pack for your trip is your trusty winter coat. Your ski coat must be waterproof and sturdy enough to handle high winds and blustering snow. An outer shell will be the most expensive addition to your ski wardrobe, so pick a brand that focuses on outdoor activity and intense winter weather, such as Kuhl. Our collection of Kuhl outdoor clothing at Escape Outdoors offers parkas and jackets that will protect you from the frozen landscape of your favorite ski trail.


Sometimes, the most critical parts of your wardrobe are the little things. You’ll need to pack heavy-duty accessories when going on a ski trip—especially when it comes to gloves. The gloves you wear need to be tough enough to withstand the rope burn of a rope tow while also providing grip for ski poles or lifts. And you should never have exposed skin when out in the snow—make sure to cover your wrists and ankles with a base layer that stretches to your fingertips, and wear long, waterproof socks. Don’t forget a sturdy hat to protect your ears!

Remember, you’ll be moving quickly while skiing, so don’t wear things that are at risk of being thrown off while zooming downhill.

Ski Equipment

Next on your packing list is your ski equipment. If you’d rather rent equipment from the resort or ski shack, you can skip this step. If skiing is more than a hobby for you, you may prefer your own equipment for the slopes.

Ski Boots

Before you pack your ski boots, make sure they still fit snug and aren’t too worn. To ensure you can keep your boots with you wherever you go, even when they’re wet, bring your boot bag along as well.


Dust off your skis and prepare them for a long winter full of activity. Don’t wait until the season begins to realize you need new skis—make a note of how old they are and start shopping around for new skis long before your trip. Check the skis for cracks and worn edges before packing them in their ski bag.

Helmet and Goggles

Not only is a ski helmet good for keeping a cozy hat on your head, it will also protect you from any unfortunate tumbles or unexpected tree accidents—especially if you’re testing your skills on a black-diamond run. Goggles allow you to see even through tossed snow powder.


A backpack may not be as necessary for a popular ski resort or slope, but if you plan on taking a cross-country ski trip or skiing off the beaten path, then an outdoor backpack is essential. If anything disastrous happens while out, your life could be at risk. Carrying a backpack with water, snacks, a flashlight, extra layers, and your cellphone might be the difference between life and death.

Off-the-Slope Gear

You need to take care of your body once you’re off the mountainside. Bring this gear to keep your body’s condition sound while indoors.

Lotion and Lip Balm

The cold, dry air of the mountainside dries out your skin and lips like nothing else. Take soothing lotion and lip balm with you to prevent painfully cracked hands and lips.

Hand Warmers

In an emergency, warmth can be difficult to find. Carrying hand warmers with you ensures a degree of warmth even in the freezing cold.


You may not notice it while you’re freezing, but skiing drains you of water just like any other sport. Whenever you’re off the slopes, make sure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated while you’re active.

Face Masks

There may be situations off the run where you must stand near people or speak to them. To keep yourself and others safe during the pandemic, carry a face mask with you. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean that the virus can’t be transmitted—and you also need to prepare for the indoor areas of the ski slope.

This year may make your ski trips seem different than they have been in the past. You may require a little bit of extra preparation. How you pack for your next ski trip will vary from trip to trip and person to person. Making the extra effort will ensure a safe and exciting ski trip for you and your family.

How To Pack for Your Next Ski Trip

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