Winter ski vacations are something we salivate over all year, unfortunately, their seasonal nature means they’re something you just have to wait for. The anticipation makes the trip even sweeter, but it also puts pressure on the trip to come together just right.
And there’s little worse than showing up hundreds of miles from home, hungry for powder, hot tub drinks, and well-earned platters of après food—yet without the right gear. To save you hand-wringing, discomfort, and expensive purchases at the resort ski shop, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a few staple items and creature comforts you’ll want to pack along.
So without further ado, here’s a prepping and packing checklist that has a few built-in pro tips we’re adding free of charge.
1. Always bring your own boots
Any other piece of equipment can be bought or rented on the fly if need be, but there’s literally nothing worse than ill-fitting rental ski boots, which can ruin your day right out of the gates. So double- and triple-check that you’ve packed them along.
And while you’re at it, make sure they’re in good shape after last year. Is there anything that needs repairing before your big trip? Have your boots been properly heat-molded and fitted? You can make the most of your days at your destination by making sure your local shop has done everything in their power to customize the fit of your boots. It’s much more pleasant to stay out all day long if your feet have great warmth-bearing circulation and zero pinchy spots.
2. Pack a ski quiver geared for the snow conditions.
Do as much research as possible when deciding which skis to bring. If you own more than one pair, you can probably squeeze two pair in your ski bag so you are prepared for powder, chop, groomer cruisers, or icy conditions. Monitoring local weather, resort cams, and local social media buzz in the days leading up to your trip can help you make the best possible decision.
3. The rest of the basics
This includes gloves, goggles, helmet, outerwear, layers, swimsuit, and a clean sweater to throw on for après because you’re classy. A little research into current conditions will go a long way here too. Know how warm or chilly it will be as you plan your layers, and consider what light conditions will be like as you choose which goggle lenses to throw in your bag.
4. Properly prep your playlist and headphones
Working on your ski playlist in advance helps build the savory anticipation of turns to come. And either bring good weather-resistant earbuds or invest in a Bluetooth helmet speaker system—with the tap of a button you can take a phone call or toggle back to your ski tunes.
5. Get your tech on point
Skiing with a group, whether family or friends, comes with a certain element of chaos. Unless you schuss down the hill as tightly clustered as a school of fish, you’re going to lose each other several times over the course of the day. And you’ll spend almost every lift ride with your gloves peeled off, texting and calling each other to determine everyone’s location and next meeting point.
But, you can work around that by downloading an app that shows you where your friends are. Everyone simply agrees to use the same app, and presto, you can see each other’s location on the mountain and drop pins at your next meeting point.
Of course, using your GPS and music all day in the cold can drain your smartphone battery terribly fast. So anticipate this too and buy a little backup phone charger you can pack along with you. A little lunch-hour recharge goes a long way keeping you connected all day.
6. Bring a daypack with a few creature comforts
Pack a smaller daypack in your luggage that you can use to carry little creature comforts with you throughout your ski day. You’ve paid a lot of money to go on this trip—you may as well maximize your time outside and your comfort while you’re at it.
Load your daypack up with snacks and a bottle of water (hot lemon water in a thermos is a complete delight on a cold day). To truly impress your friends and your stomach, pack a second thermos with hot ramen noodles or soup you microwaved in advance. It’ll help you persevere through calorie-burning hours of powder turns.
Save a little room in your pack for extra layers or to store layers you peel off mid-day. It’ll allow you to adjust on the go and stay at optimal shredding temperature all day long.
Originally written by RootsRated for Rock/Creek.
Featured image provided by Zach Dischner