Five Packing Essentials for Snow Skiing
Leah Walker February 5, 2014

I wish that I could say that my last few hours in Paris were spent leisurely drinking a bottle of Bordeaux and eating full-fat cheese smeared across a warm baguette. Instead of people watching while half drunk at a café, I was stressing about packing for my next trip. Upon landing in Houston, I have less than twenty-four hours before I’m off to Colorado for a week of skiing in Aspen and Snowmass.

Ski Gear3

Yeah, I know. There are worse problems to have, but I absolutely hate being ill prepared. Thus, as I often do, I’ve made a packing list and decided to share part of it. Surely, I’m not the only one hitting the slopes this year, am I? Here you go, my top five packing essentials for snow skiing.

Coat

A coat seems rather obvious, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. First and foremost, a good waterproof {or resistant} ski coat is absolutely necessary, unless you’re doing some late spring skiing and don’t ever fall. Since neither of those is on my agenda at the moment, I’ll need a ski jacket.

Ski Gear1

I like one with plenty of zippers and pockets since they come in handy for carrying my iPhone, money, lip gloss, and whatever else I deem necessary. Another very important, though often overlooked, feature is the inner elastic waistband. What this does is help keep snow from getting into my base layers after taking a tumble. While I’m on the subject of snow getting in my nether regions, Velcro is your friend. Look for the sticky stuff in all the places snow can sneak in. Plus, it’s easier to open and close with gloves on. Speaking of which…

Find ski coats like this one here.

Gloves/Mittens

I personally prefer gloves to mittens, but to each her own. Again, the key here is get something waterproof and warm. Ideally I’d like something that fits into those categories, yet are not too bulky.

Ski Gear4

Elastic and Velcro around the wrists are quite important as snow always seems to find a way to my hands. I also like gloves with clips so that they can be attached to my coat while I’m taking a cocktail coffee break. Also, something with color sets my gloves apart from the sea of black ones that are inevitably dropped in the snow.

Find these gloves here.

Pants

I’m probably most picky about my ski pants. I’ve tried on more pairs than I care to mention, and frankly, they can be downright unflattering. You might be thinking, “Ahh, but Leah, isn’t the most important thing to keep warm and dry?” I agree, but I also go by the adage that one must look good to ski well, or in my case, not have a near-fatal fall. Thus, getting the right fit and style has become a slight obsession.

Ski Gear5

What I’ve found works best for my figure is a pair of ski pants that are cut like wide-leg trousers. They’re flattering in real life, so why not on the slopes? Beyond good looks, ski pants need to be practical–waterproof, of course, and add to that zippered pockets and ventilation in the off chance I work up a sweat snowshoeing or something silly like that.

Find these pants here.

Base Layers

Think of an athletic-type brand and they probably have some sort of performance material that will keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold, while whisking away sweat and staying dry at the same time. This miracle fabric is fashioned into shirts, leggings, socks, underwear, hats, and anything else that is conceivable.

Ski Gear6

My favorite brand for this kind of stuff is Under Armour. Their ColdGear line is awesome. It’s fitted without being clingy, which is good for layering while skiing. It’s lightweight, but has the fuzzy material on the inside that keeps me warm, but still removes any sort of sweat I may produce. Under Armour also has this anti-odor technology, which allows me to go from the ski lift straight to après-ski without a stench. That, obviously, is an added bonus. I should really buy stock in Under Armour {or be their spokesperson}.

Find this shirt here.

Moisturizer

I live in Houston where 90% humidity is not unusual. At home, my skin glistens at the mere thought of walking outside. Thus, when I find myself at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, my skin simply freaks out.  I feel like I’ve spent three days in a Jack Link’s jerky factory. Taught and dry—good for beef jerky, bad for me. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, is quite miserable for someone used to living in a moderate climate at sea level. Therefore, I’m constantly smearing creams, potions, and lotions onto my skin.

Ski Gear1

Before Christmas I was sent various products from a line called eraclea. We’ve had some unseasonably cold weather in Texas, couple that with my busy travel schedule, and my skin has taken a beating. I started using the Pure Hydration Serum/Zinc and have been very pleased. My face is not as red, and I feel like I can smile without my face cracking like Humpty Dumpty. I’m curious to see how well the product works in the mountains.

And two more words in regard to skin products: Carmex and sunscreen.

Find eraclea products here.

Ski Gear1 1

My suitcase will also be filled with wool and silk socks, snow boots, hats, scarves, goggles, and anything else I can cram in that will keep me warm. Though before I can even consider packing, I must unpack from Paris and do a whole mess of laundry. Ahhh…the glamorous life of travel.

Some of these items were offered to me for review. In no way was I swayed to write a positive review. As always, opinions are mine.

Leah Walker

Leah has a marketing management company specializing in strategy, content creation and implementation for luxury brands and destinations. She's also a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. Leah documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. She sometimes freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for four years, and was awarded additional time with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.

28 Comments

  1. A brand I love is ice breaker from NZ. I adore their under layers and tops, which come in various levels of warmth. Their glove liners are also awesome and always on my ski trip packing list!

  2. I am all about a good fitting coat and snow pants. I had a bulking coat for years and let me tell you, the extra cushioning was nice when I feel on my snowboard, but I fell more cause of it. Now I have a very nice form fitting coat and bonfire ski pants that fit SO much better! Now I need to find a hat that won’t shrink or make my hair look silly after being on the slopes all day. Ha!

  3. I don’t care what the brand is as long as I am warm and dry. Snow isn’t my friend. California girl through and through…sun and fun.

  4. I hate cold, dry air and snow. I don’t like to judge things I’ve never tried, but I feel confident that winter sports are not for me. However, I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to try skiing for the FIRST time. Living in Memphis, we don’t get snow. An ice event from time to time, but never snow. I’ve been thinking we should take our son on a winter trip of some sort, somewhere that he can experience snow. I already have lots of base layer clothing as a runner. I’ll keep the elastic advice for when we go shopping for this future trip.

    1. You really should try skiing. Seriously, you only live once. I’m a big fan–the entire culture surrounding it is pretty special and fun.

  5. I think we’re all well aware that I do not ski. I do not enjoy it. However, I do love other winter sports, for which these types of items are necessary. I have the biggest problems with pants. None fit me well at all and most are too long. Woe is me, right?

  6. Packing for another trip soon after a return can be tricky. I had two weeks to prepare for Florida after returning from Asia and that was not easy and it was even more complicated by coming down with the flu. I could use that dry skin stuff. I have been skiing and in too many hot tubs lately.

    1. Please go on a ski trip. Pick a place like Vail, Aspen, or Telluride that has great food, luxury accommodations, and things besides skiing. I think you’ll like it.

  7. Great tips! I’ll have to look into the serum as my face is always so dry this time of year. As for ski gear, I searched high and low last year to an outfit that would look adorable on the slopes, while keeping me warm. So glad I found one! Base layers are also key!

    1. I’ve stopped using the serum since returning to Texas, but my skin is flaking. Guess I shouldn’t have stopped. Lesson learned.

  8. Leah, your ski trip looked very fun and cold! Having coats and pants that fit correctly and stay secured in all those areas you don’t want snow sneaking in is key! Nothing worse than getting all decked out for your day on the slopes to then find yourself all wet, cold and feeling miserable. I have to admit that I also use to be a glove girl but have since switched to mittens. Living in Park City, UT my snowboarding boys would tell me year after year that my hands would stay warmer in mittens and I now am a believer!

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