Hopping to the ski slopes is so much fun! Prepping for the trip, though ... not so much. Knowing how to pack for a ski trip can help save your sanity by helping you stay organized and making sure that nothing is inadvertently left out ... like your tadpoles' gloves! Knowing how to pack for a ski trip involves deciding what type of items you’ll need ... for skiing or snowboarding and for when you are off the mountain. Let’s face it, ski clothes are bulky, and there is limited space in luggage. Your goal should be to have everything you need and leave out everything you don’t!
Here's How to Pack for a Ski Trip
There are a lot of ways to approach packing for a ski trip. You’ll need to find the method that works best for your family, whether that means packing everyone’s ski clothes individually, or packing everyone’s clothes together by category. With two tadpoles and two adults to keep organized, I’ve found a method that works best for my family, but based on your children’s sizes and ages, you might find a different method works better for you.
Check for Fit
Before packing, I lay out each item and complete outfit for each family member. For the first ski trip of the season, at least a week before the journey, everyone tries on the whole outfit, from ski socks and thermals to coats, ski pants, gloves, hats, face shields and goggles. Kids grow so much in a year or even a few months! Older kids can often hand down items to younger kids, so younger siblings are usually covered, but trying everything on at least a week early allows time to shop or borrow items to replace lost gear or items that no longer fit. We have a whole bin of single gloves that have lost their mates over time, which means it might be time to go glove shopping. It’s smart to plan enough time to find necessary replacements!
Choose a Packing Method
Everyone has their own method for packing and staying organized. I like to pack each family member’s ski clothes individually. Each person has his or her own bag. My ski stuff is stored in my boot bag. When each person’s clothes are in one place, there is no confusion over what pieces go with which person. All of their items are in one place. Nobody can “borrow” anyone else’s items or grab the wrong item, leaving another person without a critical item. This can be hopful if your tadpoles are a similar size and might eliminate fighting. Other frog families may find it easier to put all family ski items together.
Another method is to categorize items and store like with like. You can pack all of the underclothes, such as thermals, socks and layers — things you put on first when you get dressed in the morning (and sometimes well before you put on outerwear before heading outside). Move onto outerwear such as coats and ski pants. Then pack the small items you put on last, such as goggles, gloves and face shields (these can often go inside a hat or helmet).
Other Items to Pack on a Ski Trip
Besides the clothes you need for skiing and snowboarding, you’ll need some clothes for après ski time and bedtime. Do not overpack these clothes. Unless you are going somewhere really fancy, you can get by with warm, comfy, casual clothes. Many evenings, we hop straight into our warm pajamas and fuzzy socks from our ski clothes and call it a night. We might get takeout or cook our own dinner, especially if we are staying in lodging that has a kitchen, and just play games for the night. You have been working hard all day skiing and you just want to be warm and cozy on your lily pad.
You might wear nighttime clothing items for just a short time, so they can usually get more than one wearing. You might wear several layers, so you might choose function over fashion if you do go out, although you might want a different coat, hat, scarf or gloves for going to dinner than you need on the mountain. It’s up to you! Definitely pack a swimsuit for the pool, hot tub or maybe even a visit to some hot springs. In terms of footwear, high heels and dressy shoes have no place on an icy, salty or snowy sidewalk. A sturdy pair of hiking boots, snow boots or even some crossover sneaker boots can be the only footwear you need for a safe and warm journey to the mountains. You have limited suitcase space, so the less you bring, the better.
Pack the toiletries you need and things you will require for skiing, such as sunscreen, lip balm and over-the-counter pain medications in case of aches, pains, muscle soreness and possibly altitude sickness. If you like having a Camelback for water while skiing or a small backpack for snacks, drinks or other supplies, be sure to bring it along. You can slip liquid toiletries in with your checked skis or luggage to make airport security a little easier — it's one less item to pull out and repack.
Packing Ski and Snowboard Equipment
You may be debating whether to rent vs. buy ski gear or bring your own equipment. If you ski often and choose to bring your own skis or snowboard, you’ll need to purchase a ski bag and boot bag. You can often find a snowboard bag that holds both a snowboard and boots. Some snowboard bags hold all of your clothing and equipment. My ski boot bag is my favorite piece of luggage because in addition to my ski boots and helmet, it holds all of my ski clothing (making it easy to pack for a ski trip) and can be checked for free with my paid ski bag when I am flying with skis. It has backpack straps, making it versatile and easy to manage.
How to Keep Organized During the Trip
While you are on your trip, it helps everyone’s sanity to stay organized. If your ski hotel or lodging has hooks or cubbies, assign each family member their own cubby, hook or even drawer to keep their items together when not in use. The answer to, “Mommmm … where’s my gloves/hat/goggles …?” should be, “On your hook,” or, “In your cubby.” When you come inside for the night, clip gloves together and ideally to the jacket with which they belong. That saves a lot of time in searching for items the next time you need to go outside. You may need to give really wet items a chance to dry by putting them near a fire or heater. Then move them back to their spot. Take advantage of services suck as ski valet or ski concierge that can come with lodging so you don’t have to worry about lugging large equipment around. Many ski schools will hold skis, poles and snowboards overnight for you.
How to Unpack and Store Items
This is perhaps one of the most important parts of knowing how to pack for a ski trip. Once your ski trip ends, you’ll want to properly store your ski clothes until the next ski trip. In fact, getting organized at the end of a ski trip is one of our favorite sanity-saving tips for a family ski trip because it makes jumping to the next trip super simple. If you know how to organize your ski clothes after you return, you will make packing for the next ski trip so much easier on yourself. Your method of storage may vary based on your climate. We warm-weather frogs do not have much use for winter coats, snow pants, gloves and thermals when we are not in the mountains, so we clip our gloves together, pair up socks and store most of our ski gear in large plastic bins in our attic. But cold-weather froggies may have more frequent use of ski clothing, so they should come up with a way to store items just for skiing and a way to keep track of more frequently used items.
For my own personal ski items, I have my handy ski boot bag, which holds everything I need for skiing except skis and poles. After I return from a ski trip, I wash everything — ski socks, thermals, gloves, face shields, layers, jacket, ski pants — and place them all back in my ski boot bag with my helmet and boots. That way, I am pretty much ready to go for the next trip. I also store lip balm, sunscreen, unused hand warmers and any Epic pass lift tickets or rechargeable lift tickets in the bag so that they don’t get lost. If the local mountains get fresh powder or I get invited on a ski trip last minute, I am hoppin’ ready to go!
So now you are toadally ready for your trip to the mountains! Hopefully, with these tips on how to pack for a ski trip, you have everything you need! Don't froget to lighten your load by eliminating unnecessary items from your luggage. We’ve hopped into family ski vacation planning to share the love with everyone else, so read on if you need any more tips and tricks for a successful ski trip, such as how to find the best ski resort for your family, mom's “secrets” for new skiers and how to get a jump on family fun beyond the ski slopes. All of these secrets help make the journey stress-free for you and add up to a hoppin' good time for everyone.
Did you know that Undercover Tourist now offers ski hotels and equipment rentals? You can save even more by bundling your lift ticket and hotel!
Have any ski trip packing advice to share with the Frog Pond? What methods work well for your family? Don't froget to share in the comments below!