What To Pack for a Ski Trip

Written By Jill Robinson

Snowbird   |  Austen Diamond/Visit Salt Lake

Whether you’re packing for a ski trip for two or a whole family, it can feel overwhelming. Ski gear can be expensive. The last thing you want is to forget essential items and have to repurchase them. While you can easily rent or buy items when you arrive, having a system to plan and pack wisely is always helpful. 

Ski Trip Packing List

If you’re not sure what to pack, or just want to make sure you don’t forget anything, we’re here to help. Follow this ski trip packing checklist to guarantee a fun and safe winter adventure for the whole family.

Ski and Snow Gear

  • Insulating base layers — typically polyester blends or merino wool
  • Ski socks — merino wool and polyester blends
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Balaclava or neck gaiter (or both on a chilly day)
  • Ski jacket and snow pants
  • Boots
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Ski bag or backpack

Off-the-Slope Clothing

  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas
  • Sweaters/sweatshirts
  • T-shirts and lighter shirts for layering
  • Jeans/leggings/sweatpants
  • Comfortable boots and/or sneakers

Toiletries and First Aid

Besides basics like required prescriptions, vitamins, shampoo/conditioner and a toothbrush and toothpaste, here are some other toiletries and first aid items to pack on your ski trip. 
  • Small packs of tissues
  • Lip balm (with SPF)
  • Sunscreen (something that’s easy to re-apply and has an SPF of at least 30)
  • First aid kit (pain killer like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, antihistamines, bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, scissors)
  • Aloe vera or another after-sun lotion
  • Hand lotion/Vaseline/Aquaphor

Snacks and Extras 

  • Snacks for ski jacket pockets (granola bars, instant oatmeal packs, fruit snacks, trail mix)
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Electronics and other entertainment

Don't panic if you forget to pack something, you can easily rent or buy items when you arrive.

Photo: Austen Diamond/Visit Salt Lake

Taking a ski lesson? Plan to reserve your spot at least a month in advance, especially if you're traveling during busy holidays.

Photo: Austen Diamond/Visit Salt Lake

To save space in your suitcase, plan to wear bulky clothes like boots and coats on the plane or in the car.

Photo: Austen Diamond/Visit Salt Lake

Don’t wait until the morning of ski school to realize that gear doesn’t fit.

Photo: Adam Clark

Packing Tips For Parents

Check the Fit Before You Go

Kids grow quickly. Snow boots, pants and jackets that may have worked well last season will likely be too small this season. When planning your trip, have your child try on those clothing items so you can plan to either replace them or opt for rentals. Don’t wait until you’re packing for your ski trip (or worse, the morning of ski school) to realize that gear doesn’t fit. (Read: What to Know for Ski School)

Get the Kids Involved

Depending on the ages of your children, you can make it a fun assignment where they can either draw or write the items they’ll need to pack. If the little ones are taking their first skiing lessons, check with the instructor for recommendations to ensure your kids will be comfortable and well-equipped for a good time on the mountain — as much as is within your control. (Read: Utah's Kid Ski Culture)

Train everyone to be responsible for their winter gear and have them pack it. This works better for adults and older kids than for younger children, so as with the ski trip packing lists, you may need to assist. I’ve found that making sure that each traveler gets a backpack or boot bag for their snow gear.

Make sure everyone knows that all their snow gear goes in their backpack. This makes getting out the door in the morning much easier: Put on your winter clothes, and grab your bag — you’ve got what you need.


If the little ones are taking their first skiing lessons, check with the instructor for recommendations to ensure your kids will be comfortable and well-equipped for a good time on the mountain.

Photo: Jay Dash

Schedule Rentals and Lessons Before You Leave

Sure, you can grab what you need at the rental shop when you arrive at the resort, but since many offer the opportunity to reserve gear online in advance, it’ll often save you time to take care of that step before your trip. The same goes for ski lessons. Printing out forms and filling them out in advance, or signing up online, saves time on the morning of the first day. (Read: Family and Budget Guide to the One and Only Ski City: Salt Lake)

Book lessons at least a month in advance if traveling over busy holidays — the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Martin Luther King weekend and President’s Day weekend. Many resorts book up early for those days. 

How To Pack a Suitcase For a Ski Trip

Winter clothes are bulky, making packing a suitcase for your ski trip a bit tricky. Use the following tips and tricks to make it a seamless process. 

  • Wear bulky clothes like boots and coats on the plane or car to save space.
  • Use compression bags to reduce the volume of ski pants, thick sweaters and puffy jackets. 
  • Use packing cubes or mesh wash bags to keep things organized and save space. They’re also great for keeping dirty clothes separated during the trip. 
  • Place items you’ll need quick access to, like toiletries, medications and snacks, at the top of the suitcase. 

Planning a Responsible Utah Ski Trip

Utah's easy access and reliable snowfall keeps ski vacation planning simple. However, you should still review our checklist to minimize delays and maximize downhill. As you plan your ski trip, think about how you can help keep Utah’s ski resorts and backcountry in excellent condition. 

Here are some things to consider: 

  • Weekday vs. Weekend Skiing
    Utah ski resorts and canyons get crowded on the weekends, especially the Cottonwood Canyons. If you’re able to ski on weekdays, you’ll avoid being part of over-crowding and congested traffic. If you’re going on the weekend, have you reviewed canyon alerts and best practices, and are you prepared for a time-consuming journey up Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon? Are you able to take the UTA Ski Bus? Crowds typically thin out around 1 p.m. after lunch.

  • Vehicles and Air Quality 
    If you’re looking to ski during an inversion or when air quality is poor, consider carpooling or taking the UTA Ski Bus to reduce vehicle emissions. However, if you plan to drive, especially when snow is in the forecast, ensure your car has four-wheel drive/snow chains or tires.

  • Respect Others and the Mountain
    If you find yourself in a crowded lodge, lift line or ski run, remember that anytime you are in a crowd, you are the crowd. Be patient and considerate of those around you as you share the outdoor space. This includes all employees at the resort. Whether it’s a lift attendant or a restaurant server, resort employees are there to help you have a safe, fun trip. Treat them with kindness and appreciation.

    Have trash? Ensure you properly throw it away/recycle it instead of littering or leaving it for others to take care of. Bring reusable water bottles, thermoses and containers to avoid excess waste.

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