If you don’t pack for a ski trip regularly, you might be easily overwhelmed when planning a ski trip for a family. Packing in general is a pain but packing for a vacation where you will need the basic items plus sports specific gear is even worse.
A ski trip is no exception. While ski equipment – including ski boots, skis, and poles – can be rented easier than it can be brought on a bus or plane, there is still a lot of gear to pack. This includes everything from the obvious ski jacket to the smaller accessories like socks and gloves.
Since winter gear can be so bulky, finding items that can be used on and off the slopes is a good idea, but ski gear is also not a place to prioritize price over quality. If you’re taking a family ski vacation this winter, here are a few items to pack for a ski trip with kids, and don’t miss our printable ski packing list at the end!
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What to Pack on a Ski Trip with Kids
Whether you’re planning your first ski trip or your twentieth, it always helps to have a ski trip checklist. Use these top tips to make sure the entire family has what they need for a successful ski vacation.
Ski clothes for the slopes
One of the most important things to remember when heading to the slopes is that once you start skiing, it can get warm really fast. I would recommend bundling yourself and your kids in layers, so it’s easy to take things off as needed.
Ski or snowboard jacket
A ski jacket is possibly the most obvious piece of clothing to pack for a ski trip but it’s also one of the most important. Since the jacket is the last layer between you and the cold climate, it’s essential to find a waterproof ski jacket that is high-quality.
The best jackets are light weight and flexible while also providing good insulation and warmth. Snowboard jackets – the ones that are a bit longer – are also a good option.
Waterproof ski pants or a snow bib
A pair of warm, waterproof pants to go with the ski jacket is also essential as most regular pants easily absorb water.
Luckily, winter clothing styles have come a long way so waterproof ski pants does not mean necessarily mean big, bulky snow pants. There are many styles available that are warm, comfortable, and stylish – some of them you wouldn’t even realize were ski pants.
Thermal under layer
As mentioned above, layering clothes is necessary when packing for a ski trip so that clothes can be added or removed as necessary, depending on the temperature. Starting with a base layer that includes a thermal long-sleeve shirt and long underwear sets you up for success.
Thermals made of merino wool are the best choice. If things get too hot, outer layers can easily be peeled off.
Fleece jacket, sweatshirt, long sleeved shirt, or t-shirt
Depending on the temperature, you’re going to want to wear something over the thermal under layer. A fleece jacket is a good choice for many. My husband likes a t-shirt, my teen and tween prefer a sweatshirt, and our youngest just likes a good ol’ long sleeved shirt with a polar fleece on top.
Pack at least two pair of gloves – one very insulated, heavy duty, thermal pair of ski gloves for the slopes and one light pair for wandering around off the slopes (preferably tech ones you can keep on while taking pictures on your phone).
Ski helmets are ideal for safety but can often be rented at the destination. Even if you plan on wearing a helmet, pack a warm, lined ski cap that covers your ears and can be easily worn under a helmet. Or wear a beanie that can fit under the helmet and provide warmth off the slopes as well.
Neck gaiter – neck scarf – balaclava
Bring something along to wrap around your neck and keep warm. A fleece gaiter will protect your neck and face from the elements. And if it’s really cold, consider a balaclava (face mask) to cover everything.
Regular, cotton socks are not going to cut it at the slope. Proper ski socks reach almost to the knee, are lightweight, and often wool or moisture-resistant. They will keep feet much, much warmer on the slopes than any other pair of socks. Be sure to bring extra pairs in case one gets wet.
Essential Items for the slopes
This is a non-negotiable in our house. If you don’t own a snow helmet, you can always rent one at the slopes.
Skis, snowboard, bindings, ski poles, and boots
If you’re bringing your own ski essentials, be sure to bring all of the above. Consider purchasing a boot bag to keep boots together. If you don’t want to bring all of the gear, plan on renting equipment at your destination.
Snow goggles (or sunglasses)
Some people prefer to wear sunglasses on the slopes, to help with the sun glare off from the snow. Sunny days can make for eye burning reflections.
Some amazing pictures can come from any ski trip – of the skiers but also of the surrounding scenery. For some cool action shots, clip a GoPro to your helmet as you race down the slopes.
Skiing can be exhilarating and it can be exhausting. Throw a granola bar in your pocket in case you get hungry, you can always eat it while you’re riding the lift or waiting in line.
A small package of tissues
The cold weather always makes my nose run. Throw a small package of tissues in your pocket in case this happens to you.
Hand and foot warmers
When skiing on a really cold day, place hand warmers in your gloves, or foot warmers inside your boots. These will help keep you toasty.
What to wear in a ski lodge
If you’re not skiing and plan on hanging out in the lodge for the day, here are some things to pack that might come in handy. I always try to wear something that’s comfortable for the lodge, but I can go outside to take photos as needed.
If you can find them, pack some lightweight snow boots for the kids, their feet will be super tired after wearing ski/snowboard boots all day. These will be perfect for hanging out in the lodge.
Mom and dad should find some comfortable snow boots as well in case they have to chase after the kids or trek through the snow between the lodge and their hotel room.
Pants, jeans, sweats, or leggings
If your going to be sitting in the lodge for awhile, you want to be comfortable. Choose your clothes accordingly.
Sweater or long sleeve shirt
This is the same as those bottoms, you want to be comfortable. A sweater will keep you cozy, but don’t choose one that’s itchy.
Laptop, phone, cords, headphones, and portable charger
If you have any free time to get some work done, these will come in handy. Throw them in a small backpack so they don’t get lost.
Book and/or magazine
Vacations are meant for relaxing, so grab some reading material and cozy up by the fireplace.
Extras to pack on a ski trip
- Lip balm
- A pair of sneakers for off snow activities
- Swimsuit and flip flops for the hot tub
- Muscle pain relieving cream
Packing these important items will allow you to stay warm, dry, and enjoy the absolute most out of your family ski trip. And if you forget anything, almost every ski resort has a rental shop where you can find everything from a first aid kit to a fleece sweater or waterproof coat. With all of your bags packed, you’re ready for your winter vacation!