The Cool Girl’s Guide To Ski-Trip Packing

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For the past…let me think…decade (whoa), I’ve spent almost every winter weekend skiing. And since our boys have been involved in various snow-related competitions over the years (ski racing initially, then freestyle ski and snowboarding comps), many of our ski weekends have involved travel. And most of our spring and/or winter breaks have been spent skiing too.

We LOVE this stuff.

Over the years, I've developed a ski-trip packing strategy that works whether we're just headed to a competition overnight or to a fancy ski resort for a week.
Big Sky, MT

Over the years, I’ve developed a ski-trip packing strategy that works whether we’re just headed to a competition overnight or to a fancy ski resort for a week. I use this strategy whether we’re driving to a nearby hill or getting on a plane, skis (or not) in tow. This overall strategy ensures that I’m comfortable hitting the slopes all day, yet will look cute off the slopes too, especially in an aprés-ski situation.

Because of the vast amount of gear that ski trips require, packing a functional + tightly edited capsule wardrobe is so important.

What To Pack For Ski Trips: From Hitting The Slopes To Aprés-Ski Essentials

I like to think of packing lists as mini capsule wardrobes, and ski trips are no different. In fact, because of the vast amount of freaking gear that ski trips require, packing a functional and tightly edited capsule wardrobe is more important than ever.

So, instead of the typical, piece-driven packing list (two pairs of pants, three shirts, etc.), I prefer to build ski-trip packing lists around function. In short, if you do nothing but make sure you have something packed for each of these situations, you’ll be covered:

  • An outfit for skiing
  • An outfit for on-slope aprés-ski activities
  • An outfit for exploring off the slopes (day and night)
  • Something to wear to the outdoor hot tub
  • Something to lounge in
  • Something to sleep in
Instead of the piece-driven packing checklist (2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, etc.), I prefer to build ski-trip packing lists around function.

That’s it! At the heart of it, this ski trip packing capsule couldn’t be simpler (or more functional). The trick, however, is choosing the right pieces. You want pieces that technically perform, but are cute enough (and go together well enough) to get the most milage out of each piece, both on and off the slopes.


If interested, I created specially curated ski-trip packing lists for Aspen, Park City, Whistler and Stowe. Each place has its own unique vibe, so each packing list has a different set of pieces and recommended outfits. Hop down to read more about our guides, or see them all in our shop.


The Ultimate Ski-Trip Packing List: Cold-Weather Clothing + Beauty Products I Swear By

In the sections below, I go into the details of my overall ski-trip packing list. This includes: thoughts on packing vs. renting skis, the right base layers (and/or midlayers), cute aprés-ski outfits, the pieces you’ll spend the most time wearing, aaand the beauty products I swear by for ski trips.

If you’d rather watch than read, I do cover all of these same topics, featuring the exact pieces I’m currently using, in this YouTube video:

Links to all pieces featured in the video can be found in the YouTube description field.

If, however, you’d rather read than watch…here’s my best advice (no matter where you’ll be skiing/snowboarding) on how to make the most of all the cute cold-weather outfits you’re bringing on your ski trip.


1. Pack 1 Outfit For Skiing

My fave ski base layers are from Halfdays (merino wool or otherwise), Sweaty Betty & Under Armour's ColdGear line.
Stowe, VT

Halfdays jacket (S) | Halfdays bibs (S) | helmet (M) | goggles | heated boots | heated mittens

At a minimum, for a comfortable day on the slopes, I always pack:

  • Ski Jacket – I prefer insulated jackets, but a waterproof shell is nice for max layering possibilities. Halfdays is my favorite brand for insulated jackets, Burton for waterproof shells.
  • Ski Pants – Bibs are better so you don’t get snow down your back if you fall, and I always look for a minimum of 10K waterproof rating. My favorite insulated snow pants are from Halfdays, but Burton makes great GORE-TEX bibs that have really solid waterproofing (but very little warmth).
  • Base Layers – These should fit tight to the skin and be made from a material that will wick away sweat. (Smell-resistant is a plus too.) My favorite base layers are from Halfdays (merino wool or otherwise), Sweaty Betty and Under Armour’s ColdGear line.
  • Midlayers – This is needed only on really cold days OR if I’m just wearing a waterproof shell (instead of an insulated ski jacket). I’ve found that the best midlayer is actually a cashmere sweater — there’s something about the loftiness of the wool. A lightweight down jacket is also a solid midlayer choice under a waterproof shell.
  • Ski Socks – You want these to be paper thin — that’s how you get the best fit in your ski boots. My favorites are Darn Tough or Falke ski socks.
  • Cashmere Bike Shorts – I only pack these if I’m wearing my GORE-TEX ski bibs. Those bibs are waterproof but not insulated at all, so I need another layer on my tush to protect from cold ski lifts.
  • Helmet – You can rent these, but I would never. The rentals are NOT cute.
  • Goggles – Always pack your own. These are too precious to rent. Be sure to try your goggles on WITH your exact helmet! You never want any sort of gap between your helmet and goggles. If there’s a gap, something doesn’t fit properly.
  • Ski MittensMine are heated, and I’ll never go back. Otherwise, Hestra is the best brand for ski mittens in general. (P.S. Gloves are MUCH colder than mittens.)
  • Ski Boots – Even if we decide to rent skis, I’ll always pack my own boots. It makes a day on the slopes MUCH more enjoyable when you have your own boots (rental boots are rarely comfortable).
  • Neck Warmer/Balaclava – I can’t ski without this — it makes a HUGE difference. That said, the cutest ones are often found at ski resorts, so this is a fun piece to wait and buy there.

Should you rent or pack skis & boots?

I think if you’re going from one climate to another (like East Coast to Rocky Mountain, for example, or vice versa), it’s nice to rent skis that better suit the condition you’ll be skiing. But I do recommend bringing your own boots, helmet and goggles. Which are annoying to pack, especially when flying. We always bring these ski boot bags as our second luggage, and will often have enough room to add our ski mittens, ski pants and sometimes even our ski jackets into the boot bags.


2. Pack A Few Pieces For Aprés-Ski, Slopeside

While true aprés-ski activities don't require an outfit change, there are a few ski-kit swaps I recommend for the best experience (like cute hats, winter boots & gloves).
Snowbird, UT

There are two kinds of aprés-ski activities: One involves a shower, blow-drying your hair, Getting Dressed And Going Out….and the other is — quite simply — having a drink after you are done skiing. The second is the true, legit aprés-ski and the one we do the most often. And while true aprés-ski definitely doesn’t require an outfit change, there are a few ski-kit swaps I recommend for the best experience (and, of course, to indulge a liiiitle vanity. Why not look cute?).

  • A Cute Hat – While I like to think I’ve found a decent-looking helmet…it’s still a freaking helmet. Get. It. Off. My. Head. And if you have long hair…I’ve found that the double braids work MUCH better than a ponytail. I’ve been rocking the ponytail as of late just out of laziness, but when the helmet comes off, my hair is a tangled mess, and my hair tie is long gone. Double braids look cute with both the helmet and the cute hat.
  • Sunglasses – If you’re skiing the East Coast, sunglasses may be optional, depending on the day. If, however, you’re skiing out West? You’ll definitely need them — it’s bananas bright out there. And we always stash sunglasses in our ski bag. Carrying them around in your ski jacket is just one unlucky fall away from breaking them. Lesson learned. 😉
  • Cute Winter Boots – There’s no better feeling than getting your ski boots off at the end of the day. But if you’re skiing the East, the winter boots you pack should be waterproof (and mud-proof)…while out West, you can sometimes get away with a cute, less practical pair. (The snow in Colorado and Utah is light, fluffy and almost dry snow.) My most-worn winter boots are either these leather Sorels or these Moon Boots (but classic Moon Boots are great too).
  • Non-Ski Mittens – I do like to put my giant, leather, heated mittens away for aprés-ski, grabbing instead a little pair of gloves or a cute, knitted pair. And having one pair of cute mittens is great for walking around the town too.
  • Fluffy Socks – I only remember to do this, like, 30% of the time, but there’s nothing (nothing!!!!) like peeeeling off those ski socks and putting on a fluffy pair. It’s pure heaven.

3. Pack 1 Outfit For Exploring Off The Slopes (Day & Night)

Ski towns retain a sporty vibe no matter how glam, so I've found that an outfit w/ jeans & a cute, on-theme sweater works literally everywhere.

jacket (S) – also here | sweater (S) | jeans (27) | boots

When we travel, I always pack one outfit that’s cute enough to be worn walking around the town and/or out at night (the “fancier” aprés-ski situation). Ski towns retain a sporty vibe no matter how glam, so I’ve found that jeans & a cute, on-theme sweater work literally everywhere. Here’s my checklist:

  • A Cute Sweater – To stay on theme, I pack a cute and cozy sweater with some sort of day-to-night possibility. Something cashmere and drapey, or a cable-knit Fair Isle print, or a ski-themed graphic are a few examples.
  • A Silk Tank – Because some of these bars are packed and hot…or the restaurants have roaring fires (and are hot)…or mayyyyybe because I’m in that hot-flash phase of life…I always layer my cozy sweater over a silk tank top. Just in case. This cami from CamiNYC is my favorite.
  • Jeans – If it’s going to be REALLY cold, I highly recommend packing Gap’s faux-leather jeans. Otherwise, pack a denim pair that looks cute with your boots.
  • Stylish Winter Booties – In addition to the winter boots I bring to the hill, I do like to pack one pair of chic boots to wear around town. But it’s often cold and icy, so boots with good traction are a must. I’m a fan of lug-sole Chelsea boots, or even wedge Sorels (which look amazing under wide-leg jeans). My GANNI boots are my most-packed.
  • Chic Jacket – I do like to pack one jacket alternative to my ski jacket. At a minimum, I’ll pack a really lightweight puffer jacket (Halfdays’ Packable Puffer is my favorite). But depending on where we’re going, I might pack a cool, sherpa coat as my second jacket, or maybe a faux-leather puffer. SAM. also makes really good technical jackets that are also deeply chic — highly recommend.

5. Pack Something To Wear To The Pool & Hot Tub

Frankly, 99% of the time I wear my winter snow boots from the ski resort to the hot tub. But if you'd like to be prepared, pack some pool slides (or UGGs).
Mt. Bohemia, MI

I’m forever an optimist, and no matter where we’re going, I’m hopeful there will be an aprés-ski hot tub in my future. There’s really nothing quite like it. Check out all our fave swimwear recommendations in our Swim Guide.

  • Swimsuit
  • Pool shoes – Frankly, 99% of the time I wear my winter snow boots. But if you’d like to be totally prepared, pack some pool slides (or UGGs).
  • Loungewear – If the hotel has a robe, that works. But you’ve gotta get from your warm hotel room to the outdoor hot tub somehow.

6. Pack Something For Lounging Around The Hotel

For really cold destinations, there's nothing quite like cashmere loungewear.

top (S) | pants (S)

Ski trips make me tired, gang. In fact, if I look back at how we’ve spent most of our time on ski trips, it’s mostly skiing or lounging. While I always think we’re going to do a ton of exploring or going out…nah. It’s primarily just ski and snuggle. I also love sneaking out for an early morning breakfast sandwich or doughnut run, and cute loungewear is all I feel like throwing on.

  • Loungewear – For really cold destinations, there’s nothing quite like cashmere loungewear. That said, I almost never leave home without a Vuori sweatsuit (top, bottom). Super-soft, comfortable, packs down teeeny tiny, and can be used to workout in a pinch.
  • Slippers or Slipper-Socks – These are optional, but I’ve always been happy when I remember to pack them.

7. Pack Something To Wear To Bed

My fave sleepwear is from either Printfresh (our recent collaboration is my dream print) or Negative's Whipped collection.
Big Sky, MT

There’s nothing quite like falling into bed after skiing all day. And I do prefer to sleep in something that has been kept…pristine. Ski trips can make things wet and sometimes muddy, so having one pair of clean, dry pajamas has been really welcome.

8. Pack Beauty Products For Cold, Dry Air (& Altitude)

If you’re skiing out East, the skin situation isn’t quite as dire — we’re just talking bitter cold and sometimes dry air. But if you are skiing out West, especially Colorado, the arid climate is shocking, and THEN you factor in the altitude. In short? In Colorado, my skin requires the big guns of beauty. Here’s my favorite beauty products to pack on ski trips:


What To Pack For Aspen, Park City, Whistler Or Stowe: Downloadable Packing Lists

This packing list can feel like a lot. Ski-trip packing — especially if a plane ride is involved — requires so much gear, carefully packed, in addition to the usual outfits. If you just want to see a few complete examples of packing lists, I’ve created four downloadable ski-trip packing capsules available in our shop. There’s a complete packing list for Aspen, Park City, Whistler and Stowe.

So, based on the vibe you’re looking for — our Aspen packing list is a little more glam, Park City’s is playful, Whistler’s packing capsule skews a little nostalgic (but in a really cool way), and Stowe’s packing list is a ski classic with some OG retro vibes — we’ve got a guide for that. Not gonna lie, I’m really excited about these packing lists. It’s some of my best work. 🙂

I've created 4 ski-trip packing lists for Aspen, Park City, Whistler & Stowe.
Our ski-trip packing list for Park City, Utah, includes more-playful outfits.
Packing for a ski trip in Whistler, BC? This capsule wardrobe skews a little nostalgic — but in a cool way.
The packing list for skiing in Stowe has classic ski outfits with some retro vibes.

See you on the slopes!

xo,

S