First Time Skiers: What to Pack

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As many first time skiers quickly find out for themselves, skiing is not your standard vacation. Whereas most are simply an opportunity to explore and enjoy a new part of the world and its culture, a skiing vacation is basically an extended sporting event. Naturally this means that what you pack for such a vacation is going to be rather different to a standard vacation.

The most obvious difference is that your suitcase is going to be stuffed with fairly large, space-consuming items. Forget about the skiing equipment itself – the clothes you’ll need are often very thick and poofy because they’re supposed to keep you dry and warm.

So what should first-time skiers pack with them, then (besides the skis of course)?


Your thermals are basically a warm under layer that go under your usual clothing, not unlike a set of long johns. These will form the first layer of many when it comes to your skiing outfit, and will help keep your body warm and dry while out and about in the mountains.

Some may recommend to first-time skiers that you can actually substitute thermals with tights and leggings, which reduces both the costs and the luggage space needed (thermals can be a little bulky). This ultimately up to your own discretion, however, we recommend you try to avoid cheap imitations of actual gear as much as possible. Most supermarket chains offer thermals at reasonable prices anyway, so to do otherwise is just a bit stingy and will leave you cold. Literally.


You’ll thank us when you don’t have cold wind and snow getting onto your neck and down your back. Avoid materials that are irritating or abrasive. Neck warmers are also ideal and fit around much more snugly with no loose, flapping ends to worry about.

Ski Clothing

We’ve lumped together all the usual suspects here for space and convenience. These are basically clothing items specific to skiing – socks, pants, jackets, gloves, and the like. These are made specifically for people going out and about in the mountains and are thus more than capable to keep you dry, warm and healthy for the duration of your skiing trip. These act as the outer layer of your outfit, with your usual clothes forming the middle layer.

Try to avoid going for cheaper alternatives. Snow boots, for example, cannot be substituted for other kinds of boots. They simply won’t be able to stand up to the cold and wet as efficiently.


Goggles not only protects your eyes from any spraying snow as you’re going down the mountain but can also protect them from the glare of the sun from the snow. Ordinary sunglasses won’t cut it, as they’ll not prevent snow from getting into your eyes.

Sunblock and Lip Balm

We’re not joking. While you’re unlikely to be sunbathing much in the mountains, the sunlight glinting off from all the snow can still give you a very nasty sunburn if you’re not careful. It’s also surprisingly strong up in the mountains, just adding to the danger. Before you go out skiing, always make sure you rub a strong layer into any exposed areas of skin for proper protection.

Skin moisturiser and lip balm are also essential things to pack with you for similar reasons. The air in the mountains can sometimes be very cold and very dry, which can cause your skin and especially your lips to dry up, crack and bleed. Keeping your skin moist and supple will ensure it remains healthy.

Dressing Gown and Slippers

Nothing says alpine luxury like walking around your mountain cabin in a cosy dressing and slippers. Some chalets may also impose a ban on shoes inside the building, so slippers make a much more practical alternative to socks.

Cell Phone and Protective Case

A cell phone is a very valuable piece of equipment to have. Not only does it keep you entertained when not skiing, it’s also invaluable in case of emergencies. Make sure you check with your service provider to see what sort of coverage you have while on vacation and keep it on hand in case you ever find yourself in need of help while on the mountains.

Naturally you’ll also want to keep your cell safe, so invest in a protective case to keep it from being battered into pieces while skiing. Waterproof cases can be found in most retail stores for relatively cheap, and this can be kept cushioned up in the middle layer of your clothing or you can toss it in an  easy to carry waterproof bag along with your other essentials.

About the Author

Christian Mills is a world traveler who loves to share his tips and expierences with his readers.

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