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We have been skiing to Colorado and Utah a few times with the kids since Simon, my younger son, was 4 years old. It’s great when they start young because most kids learn to ski quickly and they are fearless. But there is nothing like being well prepared. You don’t want to ruin the vacation that you have been so looking forward to and you are paying so much for just because you want to save a few dollars on a pair of socks.
This is my recommended packing list for a one-week ski vacation, including links to some products we have used and liked, so you don’t have to go crazy reading reviews on hundreds of options 🙂
What you need to go skiing:
Ski Jacket – It absolutely needs to be waterproof with lots of pockets. Because I get very cold, I like a down jacket, these are the warmest and very lightweight. My husband doesn’t get as cold as me, he has a 3-in-1 jacket with a waterproof outer shell and an inner fleece layer that can be worn separately or together.
Here are a few good options for you:
- Columbia Men’s Bugaboo 3-in-1 Fleece Interchange Winter Jacket
- The North Face Men’s Gotham Down Jacket
- Spyder Women’s Inna Gore-tex Ski Jacket
- The North Face Women’s Gotham Down Jacket II
- Lands’ End Girls Squall Waterproof Winter Parka
- Obermeyer Girl’s Haana Jacket (Little Kids/Big Kids)
- Lands’ End Boys Squall Waterproof Winter Parka
- Columbia Boy’s Bugaboo 3-in-1 Fleece Interchange Winter Jacket
Ski Pants – Of course they need to be waterproof, and make sure it’s compatible with ski boots, don’t buy just any snow pants. I think in general Columbia gives you the best quality for your buck when it comes to ski clothes. For young kids, I recommend the Bibs, but older kids might prefer pants. Here are a few options:
- Columbia Bugaboo Men’s Pant
- Boulder Gear Women’s Luna Pant (A little less bulky than Columbia, I like this one better for me since it has a slimmer but still comfortable fit)
- Columbia Bugaboo Boys Pant
- Columbia Unisex-Teen Bugaboo Pant (with unique OUTGROWN system)
- Columbia Youth Unisex Adventure Ride Snow Bib
3 sets of Long Underwear – Your base layer should be fitted. I recommend wool or polyester. Don’t buy anything with cotton since it dries slowly and it absorbes moisture, from sweat or snow, it will freeze, and makes you very cold.
These are the ones we use, I highly recommend them:
- LAPASA Men’s 100% Merino Wool Thermal Underwear Long John Set
- FX Women MAXHEAT Fleece Stretch Thermal Underwear
- Hot Chillys Youth Midweight Crewneck Top
- Hot Chillys Youth Midweight Bottom
- Hot Chillys Kids Midweight Toddler Set
1 Fleece Sweater and/or 1 Fleece vest
3 Pairs of Wool Socks – We have been wearing Smartwool socks for years and they are the best. Recommended by many ski stores as well. It’s very important to keep your hands and feet warm if you want to enjoy your day at the mountain.
Neck Gaiter – I like this one Turtle Fur Fleece Neck Warmer because it’s long and loose enough that you can pull it up easily to protect your face too! They have a kids version that I like too: Turtle Fur Kids Shellaclava
Mittens and liners – Because this is an outer layer, again, the most important thing is for them to be waterproof. I know gloves are more comfortable than mittens, but for skiing, you want to wear mittens, they will keep your fingers together, which will keep them warmer, and you will be able to put hand warmers up to your fingers.
- Burton Women’s Gore-Tex Mitten + Liners Set
- Gordini Women’s Gore-Tex Down Mitten (expensive because their insulation is goose down and feathers, but extremely warm)
- Burton Men’s Gore-Tex Mitten + Liners Set
A pair of Hand Warmers and Toe Warmers per person per day – These are my lifesavers. Winter trips are totally different since I discover hand and toe warmers. You want to get them ahead of time because they will cost you $3-5 each pair in the mountain. You can maybe order them to be delivered to where you are staying so you don’t have to take them in your luggage.
Helmet – You can rent a helmet at your ski and snowboard rental shop , but I personally like to have my own. Honestly, it’s probably even cheaper to buy one that it is to rent one if you are planning on skiing more than 3 days, and you’ll have it for your next ski trip. Here are a few good options from Smith which is a reliable brand. You can get fancier ones with Blue-tooth, etc…
- Smith Mission MIPS Ski Helmet – Men’s
- Smith Compass Ski Helmen – Women’s
- Smith Optics Holt Jr. Youth Ski Snowmobile Helmet
Goggles – We like Smith Optics, they have been around for a long time and you can choose from a wide range of options. Even their most affordable options are of great quality. I personally have the Smith Optics Unisex Drift Goggle. You want something helmet compatible and with Anti-fog lens. For the kids, you can get the Unisex Youth Zoom Jr with Sidekick Combo with the Helmet
What you need for your non-skiing days or going out at night:
Of course you will use some of the items in the list above, but in addition, you might want to take the following items:
Turtleneck or long sleeve T-shirts
Hat – Preferably one that also protects your ears
If you are staying at a place with a hot tub or pool, don’t forget to also pack a bathing suit and flip flops.
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