Growing up in an outdoorsy family gave me years to perfect the art of planning weekend escapes to the slopes that are action packed and relaxing. Here I share tips for what to pack and how to prepare to ensure you too can keep the good vibes rolling during ski trips this winter.
Essential items to round out your basic packing list
- 2 Large waterproof duffles – One bag is be exclusively for your ski/snowboard gear, while the other holds all your other clothes, toiletries, etc. Having a bag devoted to gear makes it easy to toss in the car the morning you’re headed for the hill and is a useful way to keep everything organized, including when you’re back at home and unloading or storing gear. Waterproof bags are great when transporting bags during a storm, and they allow you to set the bag down in the ski resort parking lot without worry. My all time favorite is by Patagonia.
- Comfy, weatherproof snow shoes – Invest in a pair with good tread that you can wear before and after ski day. My favorites are these classics from LL Bean, UGG, and Sorel.
- Quality gear – Having quality gear immeasurably increases your happiness. When you invest in well-designed, well-structured garments you won’t be too cold or forced to deal with malfunctioning gear when you should be skiing.
- Wool under layers – I can’t emphasize the importance of wool enough! It keeps you warm, minimizes odor and wicks away sweat. On any given ski day you’re body temperature will fluctuate and you want gear that can keep up. Polyester clothes aren’t insulating and cotton is an unwise choice because it gets damp with sweat and upon cooling off will make you clammy and miserable. Smartwool gear is the gold standard and a good place to start your quest for wool base layers.
- Camelbak hydration – Skiing is a workout and it’s important to stay hydrated! A camelbak hydration pack is perfect because it’s super lightweight and allows you can sip on the go without having to clumsily retrieve a bottle from a backpack on the chairlift or at the chilly top of a run. On days when temperatures are at or below freezing, fill the bladder with warm water, and after taking your drink be sure to blow the water out of the hose, completely back into the so it doesn’t freeze.
- Skincare kit -Assemble a little kit with whatever that you swear by for skin protection and repair. You’ll want to leave it in the car so you can nourish your skin in the morning and immediately after leaving the hill. Suggested items to include: your favorite sunscreen (to apply in the morning), witch hazel facial cleanser wipes, moisturizer, and rose chap stick or rose balm (this will be a lifesaver to your wind chapped lips and nose after a long day on the hill).
- Insulated thermos – Keep your tea or coffee hot and spill-proof during morning drives to the mountain, or pack it in your lunch sack for a midday pick-me-up! Here again, quality matters and you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Waterproof mats or rags for the car – Protect your car against the inevitable water, snow and mud from your boots with all weather mats. Weather Tech sells great ones.
- Games for the evening – Try to put down the technology and keep the entertainment analog with games! Our favorites include: Scategories, Apples to Apples, Pictionary and Celebrity.
Easy actions that make a world of difference
- Offline music and maps – It may be 2018 but you still can’t count on having consistent cell service in the mountains. Prepare for no reception by downloading offline versions of your favorite music playlists and a map of the area you’re headed to. If there are important instructions or emails you’ll need to get to your cabin, screenshot them before departing.
- Group meet spots – At the beginning of your ski day, make a plan for where to rendezvous in the event people get separated, for lunch and/or at the end of the day. Cell service isn’t dependable and having a plan like this in place ensures you don’t waste precious skiing time frantically trying to track down a group member.
- Know mountain etiquette rules – Nothing is a bigger buzz kill than getting into a crash on the hill or a disagreement with someone in the lift line. Review this fun etiquette refresher to keep the positive vibes going and be a responsible adventurer!
- Gourmet Lunches – Save money and time by packing your own delicious lunch made from ingredients you can get a Trader Joes. We make hearty chicken breast and avocado sandwiches the night before so we can can get up and out of the cabin quickly in the morning. To make it super swanky we also bring vacuum sealed olives, baby carrots, dark chocolate and cans of Underwood Pinot Noir. Put your lunch in a water resistant sack or backpack and tuck it near the top of a ski lift or in a tree well near the lodge you’ll eat lunch at.
Simple ways to elevate your experience
- Change of clothes – Leave a change of clothes in the car that is cozy and warm. You’ll feel like $100 Million when you have fresh clothes (and socks!) to change into after a day of skiing.
- Lunchtime accessories – Pack sunglasses and brimmed hat or beanie with your lunch food so you can take off your helmet and goggles but still enjoy protection from the elements.
- Hand warmers – These air activated hand warmers can be what keeps you or cold extremity friends on the slopes and smiling longer.
Images by HonestlyFIT