The Outdoors

How to Know What to Pack for a Ski Trip: A Perfectly Simple Packing List

Ski trip packing list 
Packing list for a ski trip 
Packing for a ski trip 
Skiing trip checklist 
Skiing trip essentials 
Skiing gear checklist 
What to bring on a ski trip 
How to pack a ski bag

These days, I’m mindlessly searching the internet for the best deals on ski gear. This can only mean I am subconsciously preparing myself for those cold, yet spectacular winters on the mountain. Although, maybe you’re a beginner skier who doesn’t have the same zest for ski season quite yet. I get it, taking a ski trip can feel extremely intimidating. Add to it that researching what to pack for a ski trip tends to cause even more confusion and anxiety. As you read 100 different blog posts about it, all you can visualize is the money draining from your bank account and the time you will lose packing. Finally, when it comes to confirming your attendance, you’ve already backed out of the trip. 

Maybe this isn’t everyone’s experience, but from my perspective, the narrative has always been “I can’t afford it”. That was until I moved to Colorado and was finally convinced that there were ways to make skiing affordable and accessible. That’s right, going on a ski trip is possible even if you’re a beginner. My ski trip packing list is meant to decrease your overwhelm by providing a free perfectly simple list of what to pack for a ski trip. The list is stripped down to only EXACTLY what you will need to be comfortable. No fluff and no affiliates. Let’s make this easy people. 

Looking to ski in Colorado? I have several guides to help you navigate your trip. From Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs to familiar favorites like Breckenridge

What is the Best Way to Pack for a Ski Trip? 

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Carry-On

The best and most efficient way to pack for any trip is to use a carry-on. Yes, this is possible to achieve even with all of the heavy clothing you plan to pack on your ski trip. When you decide to bring a carry-on, it will not include any ski equipment. In the case of the carry-on, you must be prepared to rent skis, boots, poles, helmets, etc. Which can actually be the cheaper option anyway. I encourage you to look into the cost of checking a ski bag vs. renting skis and go from there. This will depend on where you are skiing and where you rent from. 

Check a Ski Bag and bring a Carry-On

If you’re loyal to your skis, then your best option is to buy a ski bag and check it as “oversized luggage”. The ski bag can fit all of your chunky gear in addition to your skis including your ski jacket and pants. I’ve even had friends visit (boys of course) who packed everything for the entire weekend in their ski bag…this I do not recommend, but it is possible. So in addition to the ski bag, you will also need a carry-on. This can be done efficiently and be pretty cost-effective depending on the airline. 

Skiing Road Trip

Long, but sometimes easier. This obviously depends on where you’re coming from and going, but a skiing road trip can make many of your travel logistics disappear. Especially in the packing department. I recommend getting a ski roof rack to save some space, then get to packing with a bit more freedom. Still, you should stick to the essentials on my packing list to make loading and unloading easier. 

Other Essential Ski Trip Packing Tips 

  • Worry About Skiing First
    • The good news about ski trips is that you know what you’re going to get. There is no packing “just in case” for the weather. It’s going to be cold and snowy and that’s that. In addition, I recommend focusing on the main event and worrying about all the other fluff later. You will spend the majority of your days on the mountain…and then getting aprés, so pack your ski essentials first and then whatever else can fit for your dinners out, etc. 
  • Be Casual
    • Most ski towns (at least out West) are casual. Typically everyone is more concerned about staying warm than dressing their best. There’s no need for heels or complicated outfits. I suggest sticking to 1 pair of jeans or pants that can mix and match with cozy sweaters and your favorite pair of boots. That will be more than enough for your dinners and nights out at dive bars. 
  • Use Packing Cubes
    • Another tip for just about any trip with a carry-on. Packing cubes is not only a great way to stay organized but allows you to pack more. You can also save space by rolling your clothing into the packing cubes rather than folding and stacking. 

What Do You Bring on a Ski Trip? 

Ski trip packing list 
Packing list for a ski trip 
Packing for a ski trip 
Skiing trip checklist 
Skiing trip essentials 
Skiing gear checklist 
What to bring on a ski trip 
How to pack a ski bag

Essential Ski Gear & Clothing

Let’s start with the most intimidating and expensive part…gear. Buying ski gear is an investment that will last you several seasons, so it helps to think of it that way. Not to mention there are hacks to getting affordable gear. When investing in gear, just be realistic about how much you plan to use it. Someone who skis one weekend a year may be able to get by with more budget-friendly gear. My ski trip packing list breaks down every bit that you will need. My gear was bought on sale or second-hand (and I love it) so giving you a list of what I use may not be helpful. However, I can share that my favorite place for quality and affordable ski clothing is Montec or Dope Snow and I bought my skis and boots in a post-season sale on Evo

Off the Mountain

This is the less cut-and-dry part of figuring out what to pack for a ski trip. All in all, you want to think casual, warm, and versatile. My favorite look is typically comprised of jeans, a sweater, and my Chelsea Doc Marten boots. I think another go-to is a long sweater dress. Trust me, this look sufficed even when I was in Aspen. Try not to sweat this part too much. When you’re not skiing or out on the town, leggings, athletic wear, and sweatpants will absolutely make do. I like to bring a cozy matching lounge set on ski trips. Lastly, a bathing suit and flip-flops can’t hurt if you have access to a hot tub. 

How Much Do You Need for a Ski Trip? 

Ski trip packing list 
Packing list for a ski trip 
Packing for a ski trip 
Skiing trip checklist 
Skiing trip essentials 
Skiing gear checklist 
What to bring on a ski trip 
How to pack a ski bag

For exact numbers download my list of what to pack for a ski trip. I break down how much to pack by number and type of luggage. 

How much you need for a ski trip depends on many factors. The length of your stay, number of days skiing, and access to a washer/dryer should be considered. The best thing you can do when packing for a ski trip is plan ahead as much as you can. This will avoid overpacking and help you stay focused on essentials. Think minimalism and less is more attitude. Pack clothing that can be worn more than once in several different ways. Keep in mind that traveling from out of town can affect the amount of time you spend on the mountain. You will be tired and you will be sore, so just know that you may not feel up to skiing all day, every day. Also, as long as you can dry your socks (whether that’s by fire or dryer) you can get away with only bringing 1 or 2 pairs.

Deciding what to pack for a ski trip can be an overwhelming task. Fitting all those bulky items into one suitcase is enough to make your head spin. Add in the hassle of checking an oversized bag or finding available rental gear and you’re ready to give up. Ironically, my best advice when packing for a ski trip is to keep it simple. That’s exactly why I made this ski trip packing list. I’ve lived and learned through several weekend ski trips and have the packing down to a science. So, you no longer need to cancel because my list of what to pack for a ski trip has you safe and prepared for the perfect winter vacation on the slopes. 

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