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What To Pack For A Ski Vacation

by krismkoch
what to pack for a ski vacation

In the wintertime, there’s nothing we love more than going skiing. We have been skiing out in Park City every Christmas since Andrew and I started dating. It’s become a special family tradition. We try to get to the mountains at least a couple times throughout the winter, and since I pack for everyone in my family (*eye roll*), I have plenty of practice packing for a ski vacation.

There’s a lot of gear and extra clothing required when you’re planning to hit the slopes. Plus, there are so many gorgeous family photo opps, that I like to pack lots of cute ski outfits for everyone.  To make it easier to pack for our ski vacations, I have created a checklist that I use each year. From gear for the slopes to apres ski outfits and warm layers, here’s everything you need to pack for a ski vacation.

OFF THE SLOPES

Heavy-Duty Parka

I love Canada Goose’s heavy duty parkas, but there are tons of great options at every price point from L.L. Bean, J.Crew, Madewell, and Moncler. While winter white is tempting, go for a darker color, which better conceal stains and general dirt better because parkas are not easy to wash. Black is my pick for an option I can wear in NYC and in Park City, but honestly, navy, army green, grey, or red can look really chic too. Regardless of which color you pick,  I love the look of fur trim along the hood to luxe it up just a tidge.

Shopping Recs:

Down Parka

Black Leggings

I like mine lined for extra warmth, especially since it’s totally acceptable to wear them as pants when hanging out off the slopes.

Shopping Recs:

Leggings

Skinny Jeans

Go for a skinny style to tuck easily into boots (which is basically all I wear when in a ski town, because if it’s not only acceptable but chic to wear leggings and furry boots outside, the house, you wear leggings and snow furry boots everywhere.

Leather Skinnies

Its’ the perfect time to wear leather without worrying about getting too hot, so I always like to break mine out. But they also feel slightly more dressed-up than jeans for nicer dinners. But honestly, even at the nicest spots in the chicest of ski towns, the vibe is just so much more low-key that jeans are pretty much acceptable everywhere you go.

White Jeans (optional)

Optional extra but I love to pack a pair because they look especially chic with big, chunky sweaters. Speaking of which…

Chunky Turtleneck Sweater

The chunkier, the better.

Shopping Recs:

Chunky Turtleneck Sweater

Tunic Sweater

A longer sweater that covers your booty pairs perfectly with leggings or skinnies and boots. It looks chic but it’s super cozy and easy to just throw on and go.

Shopping Recs:

Tunic Sweater

Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater

In a neutral, goes-with-everything color like gray, black, navy, oatmeal or camel. I prefer oversized boyfriend styles that can be worn over leggings and will cover your butt.

Fur Vest or Jacket

Fur instantly dresses up sweaters, leggings and jeans and makes everything look so much more luxe. Plus, when you get to bundle up in glam fur (faux or real) without looking semi-ridiculous, take advantage.

Ski Sweater

If you have some festive parties to go to as my in-laws always are sure to throw, consider a knit in a festive pattern like fair isle.

Shop the Look:

Fair Isle Sweater

Sweater Coat/Long Cardigan

A long cardigan or sweater coat can act as a jacket on sunny blue bird days (at high altitudes it can be surprisingly warm in the sun), a cozy coverup while lounging in leggings or pj’s, or for an added layer when it’s really chilly and you’re headed out and about. It’s also a perfect piece for plane travel. I usually stick to black or grey so it can easily be dressed up or down.

Flannel Shirt 

A perfect layering piece for the slopes, especially if you’re heading to Vermont or somewhere out west.

Cotton Turtlenecks

A thinner, cotton turtleneck is key for layering under sweaters when it’s super chilly, or even a dress or sleeveless going out top if you have anything fancier going on. And you may end up rocking it on the slopes if it’s particularly cold and you’re using my method of layering on everything you own.

Cotton Tees

A white t-shirt and maybe a grey or black one is key for layering under unbuttoned plaid shirts, sweaters, and for when the heat is blowing heavy inside.

Snow Boots

I prefer tall boots for keeping snow out  and legs warm (and they tend to be more flattering than ankle boots, which can make legs look shorter). I have an amazing pair I bought in Park City during our wedding weekend on sale for like 4000 percent off, but I also have the pair of Tory Burch embellished fur boots I wore for our wedding (well the outdoor portions) that I love. I sort of don’t wear them enough actually because I’m paranoid about ruining them because they’re so special to me, but they’re truly amazing.

Shopping Recs:

Shearling Boots

Big Scarf

A big, cozy scarf is perfect for bundling up on the plane and for wrapping up in when you’re apres skiing.

Sweater Dress

I always like to pack at least one dress for a nicer dinner or one of my in-laws’ many festive parties. I find it hard to find the right dress though because most don’t look awesome with snow boots and heels or even ballet flats are usually not very footwear when you’re dealing with snow, salt, and ice. Plus, even the heavier wool tights are usually not enough of a barrier from the cold at night. A cozy sweater dress is totally appropriate for the setting, and works with leggings and snow boots, no problem.

Shopping Recs:

Sweater Dress

Sunglasses

The sun is strong in the mountain, so you def don’t want to forget about protecting those peepers (plus, squinty eyes give you wrinkles.)

Mittens

I’d leave the leather gloves at home in favor of something more cozy, warm, and snowball friendly. Recently I’ve become obsessed with shearling mittens but wool will keep you warm and of course, texting gloves are very practical. I am a huge fan of the mittens with the tops that flip off to reveal fingerless gloves. I have an odd-shaped engagement ring, so most gloves don’t fit over it really, so these are the next best thing. Keeping my fingers warm but letting me flip them up to text without having to jam them over my rings.

Knit Hat

I prefer cashmere or cotton-cashmere blend. There’s nothing worse than an itchy hat. A pom pom hat is super cute, but a classic knit beanie is always on-point.

Swimsuit

For the apres-ski hot tub, obvs.

ON THE SLOPES

Skies or Snowboard (if bringing own)

Ski Boots (if bringing own)

Ski Goggles

Helmet (if bringing own)

Ski Gloves or Mittens

I love my mittens. My husband bought them for me because my hands are always cold, and they have these little toasters that you unzip and put hand warmers in them, which is genius and the only thing that has been able to keep my hands warm and prevent me from needing to go in for hot cocoa breaks every half hour.

Insulated Pullover

To wear over long underwear and under your ski jacket. I always like to wear my Chilli and then like to layer something over like my Patagonia zip-up, or if it’s on the warmer side, I will just toss a Patagonia vest over it. But I’m not going to lie, every year when we’re in Park City, I’m always tempted to splurge on one of those festive, over-priced ski sweaters, so we’ll see. Maybe this will be the year.

Snow Pants

Black are classic and I prefer the more gortex type than the fitted legging style that are super on-trend these days, mostly because I like to do a lot of bowls and hiking and trees, which means I spend enough time on my butt falling or resting, that I like to get as much extra protection as I can over looking hot on the slopes. I purchased a white pair of snow pants for our wedding, and while they’re already so dirty, I love wearing them from time to time too. They look so chic.

Ski Jacket

I have a few different options I swap around depending on the weather, but I always come back to a black puffy North Face jacket that’s actually a boys’ extra large (great hack for getting things cheaper is to shop the boys’ section). But Arc’trx makes the best ski shells and Moncler and Patagonia also make great puffy jacket styles if you prefer to go that route. Of course you could go old-school with Bogner, which is making a comeback and some people really love to do the fur trim while skiing. Personally, I am not such a fan of hoods and other appendages when shredding pow, but to each his own.

Vest

Optional, but I like to have extra layering options.

Neck Warmer

Also known as a “turtle.” Some people aren’t that into these, but personally, I still view it as an essentials if not at the very least to pull up over my face to avoid getting sunburned, wind burned, or from snotting flying all over my chair lift seat mate.

Long Underwear 

I like to go as warm as humanly possible and for the technology that whisks away sweat so you don’t freeze in your own cold sweater on the ride up the ski lift after breaking a serious sweat hiking.

Ski Socks

These are key and worth investing in ones that whisk away sweat and keep your tootsies warm, because there’s nothing worse than freezing cold feet while skiing.

Hand Warmers

Because if you’re like me, mittens alone just aren’t enough.

Ski Mask

Yes, I wear one, and no, I don’t care how ridiculous I look. I hate being cold and having chapped skin.

Travel Gear

Hardshell Roller Suitcase or Waterproof Duffel

For luggage, I love Tumi, Hartmann, and Victronix. The hardshell is key for keeping your stuff dry and safe when it’s being loaded onto the plane in snow or sleet.  If you’re going for a duffel style, which can make sense when packing all your puffy gear like snow pants etc., you def want a waterproof bag. North Face and Patagonia make great waterproof, heavy-duty travel bags that will keep your clothes/gear etc. dry if your bags sit on tarmac in the snow or rain.

Boot Bag

To protect boots and helmet during travel if you’re bringing your equipment with you.

Ski or Snowboard Travel Case

If bringing you’re own equipment, you’ll want good protective cases to keep them safe en route. Make sure to choose ones that are airline certified.

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