Packing for a ski holiday is an art form. Working out how to squeeze all that hefty and bulky winter clothing plus the essential equipment into a suitcase that would normally (in the summer months) just house a few swimming costumes, a beach towel and a couple of pairs of flip flops can often lead to a rather stressful start to your ski holiday.
For first-time skiers and snowboarders in particular the packing process can raise a number of questions, from what kit you need on the slopes to what to wear in the evenings, and for families the stresses are often multiplied.
The trick? Keep it simple. Remember you’ll spend most of your days in the same outfit, maybe changing your layers once of twice in a week, and in the evenings things are often a much more casual and relaxed affair, especially in chalets and self-catered residences – think nights spent by the fire retelling stories from the slopes rather than late nights on the town (although those do happen too)!
To help you streamline your packing and get your trip to the mountains off to a bump-free start here’s our ski holiday packing list. Still need to buy your kit and equipment? Make sure to check out our expert guide to all the essentials including jackets, helmets, gloves and goggles, and for the more advanced among you boots and skis.
Happy packing and happy holidays!
- Waterproof, breathable jacket
- Waterproof, breathable salopettes
- Waterproof, insulated and breathable ski gloves or mittens
- Ski or snowboard specific helmet – also available for rent hire shops in resort
- Glove liners – for cold weather
- Hand warmers – for very cold weather or bad circulation
- Fleece or merino scarf or neck warmer
- Balaclava – for extremely cold conditions, such as those found in Canada
- Three or four pairs of ski socks
- Goggles – you can’t rent these and even at the end of the season you can experience white-out conditions
- Two or three thermal tops/base layers in merino wool or manmade fabric
- Thermal bottoms
- Two fleeces or merino/down mid layers
On the mountain
- Small backpack – while not an essential for all a backpack can be handy to carry water, snacks and the layers you’ll shed and put back on throughout the day
- Sun cream and lip balm with a high SPF – the sun is strong at altitude, make sure to wear it even in a whiteout
- Reusable water bottle or Camelbak
- Ankle, knee, wrist supports (if needed)
All essential equipment can be hired in resorts, often as part of a package with your operator, but if you're a regular visitors to the slopes its worth considering investing in your own.
- Skis or snowboard
- Ski poles
- Ski boots or snowboard boots. Check out Ski boots: everything you ever needed to know or Snowboard boots: everything you ever needed to know
- Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe (if heading off piste) – avalanche airbags are also recommended for keen backcountry skiers and snowboarders. Also see our top 20 things to pack when you're going off piste
In the evenings wear what you would at home, such as, T-shirts, jeans and jumpers.
- Snow boots or walking boots (warm and waterproof) – something with a good grip that will prevent you falling over in the snow when walking in resort
- Slippers – particularly useful if you’re staying in a chalet or self-catering accommodation
- Swimming costume or trunks if you have a hot tub or you plan to use the spa or swimming pool in resort or your accommodation
- Normal gloves or mittens
Other important stuff
- Insurance details
- Deep Heat (or similar) – for aching limbs
- Personal medication
- Passport photos – check if you need these for your lift pass in the resort you are going to
- Camera or action video camera to capture all the memories