Packing for a ski weekend, a week, or even a day, can be daunting for skiers. As
you stuff your SUV or mini-van full of gear, or prepare for a flight out west,
you stress about forgetting someone's ski gloves or socks. Our family has
certainly made our mistakes, and shared a few panicked looks on the early
morning road trip to the ski resort or airport. Whose job was it to pack Suzie's
ski pants anyway?
After years of family ski trips, and various forgotten gear, our family of four
has ski packing down to a science, so we are always ready to go to the snow.
With a few systems, you can escape to the mountains with everyone's goggles and
gear, with less worry, maybe even get some sleep the night before your ski trip.
Start with the most essential ingredient:
your ski clothing. Every skier in your
family should have their own boot bag, even the kids. This bag should have a
separate boot compartment plus ample space for ski clothing: hat or helmet,
goggles, neck warmer or facemask, gloves and/or mittens, ski socks, fleece or
microfiber layer, base layer (a.k.a. long underwear), pocket size lip balm and
sunscreen. A large trash bag takes up no space, and can be used for wet or dirty
clothes, or worn as a poncho in the event of wet precipitation, a.k.a.: rain. We
typically wear our ski jackets and pants during a morning ride to the slopes.
When our kids were little, they would sleep in their long underwear, one less
layer to put on in the morning.
For overnight trips, and when space allows for luxury items in your bag, I
recommend portable boot dryers, disposable hand warmers, extra pairs of gloves,
ski socks, and layers. These add-ons prove handy when the weather inevitably
changes. Or if anyone forgets something, they will be forever indebted for your
“loaner.” Everyone should have a uniquely identifiable bag, with contact info
inside, preferably not all black to avoid confusion.
separate luggage bag with après ski clothing and personal items, just as
you would any trip. Your ski stuff is all in the boot bag, except for what you
wear on the road trip or plane ride. For the kids, placing individual outfits in
zip lock bags keeps them organized. If you do not have a washer/dryer at your
destination, these bags are handy for dirty clothing to avoid
“cross-contamination.” Most ski resorts and condo complexes have pools and hot
tubs, so be sure to pack a swimsuit. See our
Packing tips to look stylish on ski
If you are flying and hope to ski on your arrival date, I suggest you wear your
ski jacket and pack ski pants, gloves, hat, goggles and ski boots in your carry
on. If your checked luggage is lost, you can easily rent a pair of skis and
poles, but you are in your own comfortable ski boots and clothes. I would rather
not have proper dining out clothes than my ski stuff. The airlines typically get
your lost baggage to you buy the next day, but you would have missed a day on
the slopes or had to wear rentals ski boots.
In your garage or basement,
keep all your ski and snowboard gear
together, skis paired with poles, ready to pack into the car. Just as you try on
your boots before the season, bindings should be professionally inspected for
safety. Flying with skis is expensive so look into rental options like Ski
Butlers, where you order your preferred skis online and the butlers meet you at
your ski hotel and adjust your bindings in minutes. At then end of your stay,
they pick up your skis and you hop a plane with a lot less luggage to carry and
pay for. Shipping skis via UPS or FedEx is another option, but can be costly and
time consuming on both the packing and shipping and receiving ends.
A few weeks before your first ski outing, have a downhill dress rehearsal. Our
family does this in the fall, a fun tradition to get stoked for ski season.
Everyone unpacks their ski or snowboard bag, tries on their gear to be sure it
all fits, is clean and functional. You will have time before your first ski day
to launder anything that smells or is moldy (it happens), or to visit the local ski shop to
purchase anything the kids grew out of. You do not want to spend your first
morning at the mountain in the ski shop, missing precious slope time.
Confirm lift opening times and directions so you are all dialed in for your
drive and arrival. If your kids will be in ski lessons, camp or ski area
daycare, reserve online or by calling and fill out required forms in advance.
Ask what time you need to arrive, what is included in the price, what you should
bring, and where to check in. Label everything in your child's day bag and pack
extra base layers and mittens in case things get wet in the elements or in the
excitement of the day.
If you are
lodging overnight, get the 411 on check in procedures and your
accommodations. Staying in a condominium, you can pack breakfast foods, as well
as après ski munchies, beverages, and even a dinner. Some units only have a
microwave and mini-fridge, so confirm that before you pack a big frozen lasagna.
“Fully equipped kitchen” does not always mean fully stocked so you may need to
bring everything from butter, milk, oregano for your sauce, to a few extra zip
lock bags and laundry detergent (which can be used for hand-wash emergencies if
there is no washer/dryer).
Do a mental checklist as you pack the car: boot bag, luggage, skis and poles,
snowboards, food, money, directions, reservation info, ski lesson registration,
season pass or lift ticket coupons (every little bit helps). My husband packs
the skis and poles in car the night prior, but keeps our ski boots and clothing
warm inside near the door.
Upon arriving home from your ski trip, immediately unpack everything, launder
what needs to be cleaned, then repack that boot bag with all clean, dry gear so
you are ready to go on your next ski trip when the meteorologist says snow.
Ski /Snowboard Boot Bag Checklist - Everything you need for a
week or weekend on the slopes:
Ski or Snowboard Boots (in a
Ski Pants for colder days, Wind Pants for the warmer days
Ski Jacket for wintry conditions, Windbreaker/Shell for warmer weather
Two Pair of Ski Socks
Goggles and Sunglasses in their protective cases
Gloves/Mittens /Disposable Hand Warmer Packets
Pocket size sunscreen and lip balm
Base Layer/Long Underwear