When I traveled to Colorado on my first ski trip out west, I didn’t have any idea what to pack! I most certainly did NOT have a ski trip packing list to help me.
When I was getting ready to go on my first trip out West, I heard from friends that it could be very sunny in the Rocky Mountains so I’d need sunscreen. But, I also heard that it could be really cold and to be prepared for snow. So, anything goes!
I had questions like: Should I bring my swimsuit? Should I rent ski equipment or bring my own ski boots?
Now, after living in Colorado for over 20 years, I can tell you exactly which ski essentials to bring with you and I have included them on your ski trip packing list. Follow this ski trip packing guide and you’ll be prepared and comfortable during your ski trip to the Colorado mountains. (or any ski resort in the west!)
To make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your ski trip, I’ve put together the BEST ski trip packing list of what you should pack for an amazing ski or snowboard vacation!
This includes everything from a ski clothing guide to ski accessories that you don’t want to forget. My hope is that this list helps you prepare for your ski or snowboard trip.
In This Article
- Outerwear For A Ski Vacation
- Next Layers to Pack for a Ski Vacation
- Ski Accessories
- Smaller Ski Accessories To Pack For Your Ski Trip
- Skis and/or Snowboard, Boots, and Bindings
- Apres Ski Clothing
- Items For Your Days On The Slopes
- Additional Clothing To Pack
- Luggage For Packing Skis or Snowboards
- Additional Items To Pack
- The Best Time To Go On A Ski Vacation
- In Conclusion
Outerwear For A Ski Vacation
Your ski jacket is one of the most important pieces of ski clothing to pack for a winter ski trip. Your outer layer should be waterproof or water-resistant, insulated, with some great pockets.
A ski jacket with vent zippers on the sides is favorable so you can unzip those and let some of your body heat escape if you get too warm. A great ski or snowboard jacket is an important component of your ski trip packing!
Here are two of my favorite ski jackets from Helly Hansen:
Ski pants that are waterproof or water-resistant will be the best choice on the slopes. An insulated pair of ski pants will be great for those really cold days in the Colorado mountains! Good pocket options are something to look for here with ski or snowboard pants too.
Be sure to add your ski pants to your luggage so you’re prepared to hit the slopes right away without the need for some shopping first.
A great pair of ski pants definitely belongs on your packing list of ski essentials! Some things are fine to buy while you’re on your ski vacation, but when you’re looking for what to pack for a ski trip – you want comfortable ski pants that you know fit you really well and that you love! Better to bring them than buy them in the resort. (probably less expensive, too!)
Ski Gloves or Mittens
Ski gloves or mittens should be at the top of your ski trip packing list!
You’ll need to have a waterproof pair of ski gloves or mittens that are insulated. Mittens tend to be a little bit warmer than gloves. But, then you won’t have as much flexibility and mobility. So, it’s your choice! I prefer mittens because my hands stay warmer in mittens.
Some gloves or mittens have nice long cuffs which are great because they go up higher on your forearm and prevent snow from getting in. These definitely belong on your ski packing list.
Next Layers to Pack for a Ski Vacation
Layers, layers, layers are the keys to success on a ski trip!
Base layers (aka long underwear)
A great base layer is going to be one that is made from polyester, nylon, polypropylene, or a blend of fabrics. These are awesome for moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking is when the fabric has been constructed to remove the sweat from your body helping to keep you, dry all day long while you’re skiing.
One of the most common synthetic fabrics for long underwear is polyester. You might also see nylon, polypropylene or rayon, or a blend of fabrics. These are great choices when selecting a base layer.
Your mid-layer will work to retain body heat and keep you warm! We call this the “insulating” layer and I’ve linked some examples and favorites below.
This layer will be a little bit thicker than your base layer. This is the main layer just underneath your jacket that will keep you really warm. When putting together what to bring on a ski trip, a solid mid-layer (or three!) is a great idea.
If you have your own helmet for skiing and snowboarding that fits you well, be sure to pack it for your ski vacation! Otherwise, the ski shops typically will offer a helmet rental as an add-on option when you’re renting skis. This is an awesome option if you don’t have room to pack it in your luggage!
Goggles are a necessity for your ski trip and make sure to bring any and all additional lenses you have. If you have a bright day followed by a low light day, you’ll want to be prepared for it with the right lenses in your ski goggles. This is especially important in the Colorado mountains because of the abundant sunshine.
Goggles are readily available for purchase at ski shops if you need to buy a new pair, and the staff is usually very knowledgeable and experienced.
It’s easier to come prepared but just in case you want to chat with a local skier about the conditions and the best lenses for the day – the ski shop professionals are usually great!
This post is all about your best ski trip packing list.
Smaller Ski Accessories To Pack For Your Ski Trip
These are the smaller things on your ski trip packing list that if you forget, most ski shops will have. Thus, you can pick them up at your ski resort or in the closest mountain town ski shop. When you’re packing and making sure you have what to bring on a ski trip, these are ski essentials too!
Extra Ski Socks & Cozy Socks: In case of wetness, extra ski socks are always a great idea. Also, the more you bring, the more often you have a clean pair of socks to wear! I usually pack 4 or 5 pairs of ski socks since they don’t take up much room. Also, a pair of cozy warm socks to wear when you’re lounging around the fire! Ski socks are ski essentials that you don’t want to forget.
Neck Warmer (neck gaiter): Bring a couple of these in case one gets wet. It’s also nice to have extra neck warmers in case someone else didn’t bring theirs! Neck gaiters are the BEST!
Glove Liners: For extra warmth, in case of very low temperatures. Protect those fingers with glove liners.
Goggle Cleaner: Essential! This will help you see clearly which is most important! Goggle cleaner must go on the ski trip packing list.
Lip Sun Protection: Especially in the west where the sun is bright and strong! (over 300+ days of sunshine per year) Lip protection is very important so you avoid sunburn on those bright days.
Camelbak or Small Backpack: A Camelbak is a small backpack with a bladder that you fill with water. It has a soft plastic tube that reaches up to your mouth. It’s perfect for keeping you hydrated while on the mountain, which is important in such a dry climate. And with any small backpack, you can carry additional accessories like cameras, chargers, snacks, or extra layers. Camelbaks typically have small extra pockets too!
Skis and/or Snowboard, Boots, and Bindings
Of course, you will need your ski equipment so be sure to pack it!
Should you bring your skis or rent ski equipment in the ski resort? If you’re looking for less hassle of traveling with your skis or snowboard, you can decide to rent them. Your destination will most likely have a convenient ski shop that will rent you a pair of skis or a snowboard. Usually, ski shops have a few levels of ski rental packages to choose from, from beginner to pro level.
A few advantages of renting ski or snowboard equipment are: (1) You can rent ski equipment best suited for the current snow conditions, (2) You can try out a new pair of skis or snowboard if you’re interested in a higher-end rental package, and (3) You don’t need to travel with bulky skis!
If you own ski or snowboard boots that fit you really well, I recommend you travel with them so you can assure a comfortable ski day! A comfortable ski boot is essential and you don’t want to spend half the day in a rental shop trying to figure out a well-fitted boot when you have some at home.
Apres Ski Clothing
Once your ski day is over, you might want to head to the bar for an apres (after) ski drink! These are some great tips to share when planning and packing for your apres ski experience! And these packing essentials should definitely be added to your ski trip packing list.
Footwear: You’ll want comfortable and warm winter footwear, especially after skiing all day long! Plus, you’ll want to add all the style you can muster after a long day of being in ski boots.
Make sure to pack a pair of shoes or boots that you can wear after skiing because you’ll probably want to be in them every day. I recommend something stylish but also comfortable and practical for getting around on snow. This means something with good tread on the bottom. These are great for any winter items list!
Merrell boots are my favorite brand and style! Check them out here.
Hat (to wear after you take off your helmet): Warmth and style are important when choosing a cute post-ski hat!
There are so many choices for cute winter hats that you shouldn’t have a problem finding a few to bring with you on your ski trip. I’ve listed my favorite brands below. Ski shops usually carry lots of cute options!
Check out my favorite hats brands here: (so cute!)
Vest: A vest is a perfect apres ski piece of clothing because it will keep your core warm! I always bring a vest or two with me on a ski or snowboard trip. Vests are cozy accessories and can be super cute and stylish! And, they don’t take up as much room in your luggage as a ski jacket. Or, better yet, wear it on the plane!
Here’s one of my favorites:
Leggings: Leggings are a super comfortable way to dress after a day of skiing or riding. You can dress them up a bit, and they’re easy to slip into boots! They’re very easy to pack as they fold up very small!
Cozy Sweaters: A cute and cozy ski sweater is perfect for hanging out after a day of skiing! A sweater that’s warm and festive will fit right into the apres-ski scene. Plus, will keep you warm in case you’re outdoors or near a drafty door.
Scarf: I always pack a couple of scarves for a ski vacation. A scarf is one of the simplest ways to add warmth to your body and look cute at the same time! Definitely pack a scarf or two for your ski trip if you’re someone who gets cold easily. (I am!) It will help you stay warm in the same way a vest does but keep some of your body heat in.
Check out the latest Best Spots for Apres Ski Drinking and Dining in Aspen here.
Items For Your Days On The Slopes
Here are the things to pack with you for your ski day! Keep these in your jacket pockets or Camelbak backpack so you have them while you’re out riding the snow, in case you need them. it’s a good idea to keep reapplying sunscreen and lip protection throughout the day, so those are a must!
This post is all about the best ski trip packing list.
Additional Clothing To Pack
Bring comfy clothes to sleep in. And, maybe something warmer than you’d expect, just in case you have some cool evenings wherever you’re staying and sleeping!
Winter dresses are perfect for snowy weather and the casual dress code in Colorado. There are some cute winter styles that you can pair with warm tights and boots. This would be for the day you stroll around town shopping, or an evening out. Perfect for any snow trip packing list. Title Nine has super cute mountain-style dresses for all seasons!
Be sure to pack your swimsuit for hot tub dipping or a swim in the lovely hotel pool! You may even encounter some natural hot springs where you’re going and you want to make sure you’re prepared with a swimsuit.
Luggage For Packing Skis or Snowboards
A travel bag for your ski or snowboard equipment is necessary if you’re flying to your ski destination. There are some awesome ski travel bags out there! Lots of good pockets are very helpful to store your additional accessories like gloves or mittens, neck warmers, hats, and extra socks.
Ski Travel Bags that have wheels are the most favorable as it’ll be very easy to wheel your skis or snowboard straight to the check-in desk. These bags have padded edge protection that will extend the life of the bag and protect your gear inside!
Additional Items To Pack
Camera: Bring an additional camera if you love photography, as the mountain scenery is magnificent!
Extra Battery Chargers: This is always a great idea, just in case of an emergency. Always a good reminder when packing!
Binoculars: These are handy if you’re interested in spotting wildlife. Perhaps on the days that you aren’t skiing.
Go Pro Camera: Already mentioned this one, but as a reminder, it’s fun to have a Go Pro to capture all of those action moments!
Headphones: You might want headphones on the airplane or to listen to some tunes during your ski runs. Or, maybe on a snowshoe hike.
Slippers or Flip Flops: A pair of flip flops are perfect to slip on as you’re getting out of the hot tub and heading back to your room. Flip flops are not a natural thing to think about when packing for a ski trip, but I always bring mine just for that walk from the hot tub!
Slippers are nice to have in the hotel room, or around the rental house when you’re just relaxing. Keep your feet warm and cozy.
This post is all about the best ski trip packing list.
The Best Time To Go On A Ski Vacation
Late November through mid-April are the typical months of the ski season in the United States. if you’re looking for the best snow, February and March are going to be great choices! Once we’re into February, most ski resorts have a great base of snow and all of their skiable terrain is open and regularly groomed. Read this post to get an in-depth look at the Best Time to Ski in Colorado.
If you’re looking for the best pricing, early January and April are great times to find some good pricing and promotions.
March is typically perfect for lots of snow and the days start to warm up towards the end of the month. If you’re looking to sit outside for lunch and enjoy the sun during your ski day or have an apres-ski drink on a patio, March will be the perfect time for you!
Having all of the right equipment on a ski trip is key to having an easy, fun (and prepared) ski vacation! There are so many things to remember to bring so you can well suited. Especially if it’s one of your first ski trips to the mountains!
My hope is that this ultimate ski trip packing list will help you pack for a ski trip with ease by providing some very useful tips! All of the skiing essentials needed (and then some!) are on this list.
For your own Ski Trip Packing List Printable, click here.
If you’re planning a trip to Aspen, check out this post which includes 23 of the BEST Places to Stay in Aspen.