Bringing the right supplies can make or break a ski trip — but if you've never spent time doing physical activity in freezing cold climates, how the heck are you supposed to know what to bring?
We're walking you through a packing list, so you can focus on getting your skills to black diamond level — instead of shivering in the cold and smacking your horribly chapped lips because you showed up to the mountain under-prepared.
Here are our recommendations on what you should bring for your first big skiing/snowboarding trip, followed by a checklist of everything you need.
When you're up on that mountain, you're exposed to conditions you're not used to functioning in — and if you're not ready to face the elements, you could be entering a world of pain. Make sure you don't forget these essentials.
Don't forget to double down on a sunscreen that packs an extra moisture punch so you don't feel super dry on the slopes. We love Josie Maran's SPF 47 argan oil daily moisturizer (Sephora, $32), and Original Ski Balm also makes an amazing product with wind protection and SPF (Amazon, $9).
You're also going to want to bring a super-lush moisturizer to pile on when you get back indoors. Pratima skincare's rejuvenating pearl cream is thick — but won't clog your pores — and it smells like a dream (Pratima skincare, $45).
Even if you don't normally slather your whole body with cream after a shower, you're going to want to in the dry mountain air. Jason's softening cocoa butter hand and body lotion is nice and thick (Amazon, $6).
Although it's tempting to buy a bunch of cool new gear for your first big trip, it's really better to rent your first time out. That way, a pro on the mountain can help fit you with everything, and you can decide if you even like the activity. Almost all big skiing resorts have a plethora of gear available to rent.
Skiing and snowboarding gear is not cheap, but if you decide it's something you love, you can always stock up on boots, poles, skiis or a snowboard later. If you are planning to go on snow trips multiple times in a season, then it is a good idea to invest in your own stuff.
No matter what any smooth talking retail associate tries to tell you, fancy clothing marketed especially to skiers and snowboarders is not necessary — the same kind of clothes can be worn for all activities in the snow.
That being said, you do need to bring an arsenal of layers — or you'll be hating life.
You don't need to spend a fortune, but good quality thermals and snow socks will make all the difference on a cold day up the hill. Kari Traa's crew top is super cute — and it will totally help keep you warm (Amazon, $75). We also love Dakine's Larkspur base layer pants to keep your legs warm and limber as you learn to navigate your way around on skis or a board (Dakine, $45).
When it comes to jackets and pants, you can't go wrong with REI. Sure, some of their jackets are upwards of $600, but you can also find great insulated jackets for under $200 — like Columbia's Alpine Action insulated jacket (REI, $170).
It's totally acceptable to wander into the lodge in full-on ski gear, but you also might want to pack some fashionable outfits for drinks later on in the day/evening.
Here's a little fashion inspo.
Here are all our suggested essentials in one place. Print it out and check off what you've gathered!
Personal care items
Clothing and gear
Originally published July 2013. Updated January 2017.
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