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How do I Pack for a Ski Vacation?

Paulla Estes
Updated: May 23, 2024

When dressing for a cold climate is not an everyday activity, it can be difficult to remember everything to pack for a ski vacation. Often a winter ski trip is planned by southern residents whose idea of winter is putting on a sweater; but even if the skiers in question live in a place where the winters are cold and snowy, it helps to have guidelines when packing for a ski vacation.

A vacation is a time to take a variety of clothes to look good and feel great, but unlike most vacations, when we pack for a ski vacation we have much more to take. There are many variables to consider; we need to plan for our days on the slopes, but also the after-ski clothing, and evening wear.

As you pack for your ski vacation, first pack your ski gear. You will need plenty of layered clothing for staying warm and for shedding once you warm up. For under gear, include thermal underwear, thin turtleneck shirts, and thin moisture-wicking socks. Over this you will probably want a fleece or a sweater, water-repellent pants, and another, thicker pair of moisture-wicking socks, such as smart wool.

You will also need the outer-essentials for your ski vacation, such as a hat, gloves, muffler or neck wrap, sunglasses or goggles, and of course, a warm ski parka. Layers are very important as the temperature often fluctuates throughout the day, and our bodies warm up and cool down as we alternate skiing and riding on the lifts. If you own your own ski gear, remember to pack the boots, skis and poles; if not, you can always rent them on site. Don't forget to bring snacks and plenty of sunscreen.

Sometimes the best part of a ski vacation is what happens after we ski. After-ski clothing will include a comfortable pair of boots and a change of pants. In this, you will be comfortable enough to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in the ski lodge, browse the shops in town, or do some sight-seeing.

Many ski resort towns really come alive in the evening hours. Your ski vacation might take place in a small, quiet town with only a local pub and hamburger diner, where after-ski clothing is all you'll need. However, many ski towns offer a night life of fancy clubs and bars where a step up from the after-ski clothing is required. Ski resorts are all fairly casual, so you won't need formal wear on your ski vacation, but pack some khakis or a nice pair of jeans, some pretty sweaters or shirts, and perhaps a coat other than your ski parka.

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Paulla Estes
By Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Paulla appreciates the flexibility and consistency that comes with contributing to WiseTour. She relishes the opportunity to continuously learn new things while crafting informative and engaging articles for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Heavanet — On Feb 27, 2014

I had the opposite yet similar experience on a beach vacation Rundocuri. The weather got very chilly unexpectedly, and I had nothing to wear but shorts and sleeveless shirts. I had to go shopping for a sweatshirt to stay warm!

By Rundocuri — On Feb 27, 2014
Though you may not think of lighter clothing as something you need on a ski resort vacation, I learned the hard way that you never know when you will need this type of clothing, even in a cold climate. One time when I was on a ski trip, the weather got unseasonably warm and I had nothing but sweaters and heavy pants to wear. You should always bring a short sleeve shirt and light pants, just in case.
Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George...
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