Packing Tips for Your Ski Trip

Written by Greg and Heather Burke • May 10, 2016

We travel a bunch - it's the nature of the beast as ski journalists. We are constantly appalled at how much luggage people haul to the airport, pay excess fees for, and return home having never worn half of.  We at SnowPak know how to pack, not break our back, ski all day and still look stylish at après ski! 

I am a self proclaimed packing ninja, ready to fly at a moment's notice. Admittedly, it's hard to pack "light" as a skier or snowboarder, but here is my packing plan for a ski weekend in New England, a week out west, or even two weeks in the Swiss Alps.

1. Everything should fit in a ski boot duffle bag with two outside pockets for boots and a center compartment, mine weighs 25 lbs, well under the excess fees the airline tend to soak skiers with. 

2. I always bring my own ski boots, I even carry them on the plane if I plan to ski on arrival day. The Kulkea Powder Trekker back pack is perfect for carrying your ski boots with you, includes space for accessories, fleece and a jacket, layers, etc. I wear my SKEA ski jacket too, it looks stylish from the slopes to the streets. Inside my ski boots, I stuff two pairs of skis socks, goggles, and my Seirus plug-in boot dryer sticks (can't leave home without them because warm, dry feet are happy feet). 

3. For travel outfits and après ski clothing, I wear a lot of black, it's very European and trendy ...lol. No, actually it just travels well, coordinates easily, hides stains, and doesn't scream "I'm a tourist." I love my Alp N Rock ski shirts- that go from skiing to après ski. My SKEA après ski skirt allows me to change out of ski pants and look cute (butt covered). I don't recommend jeans when traveling. My husband Greg swears by his one pair. I find denim bulky and not always up to dress code so I bring black pants (or leggings for ladies) - they are lightweight, you can wear them from fancy to casual. 

4. Plan your outfits, pack two shirts that coordinate well, a t-shirt in the event its warm and sunny, and pants (wear one with a versatile belt and bring a second). 

For the ladies (and metro men), a scarf or two can accessorize nicely - adding mileage to your outfits. I also bring a lycra or rayon skirt and tights - in case I get a fancy restaurant invite (a girl can dream and should always be prepared). 

5. A swimsuit is essential, pj's are at your discretion but you certainly don't need your bulky bathrobe. I pack just a few pair of undergarments which can be hand washed in a sink. I swear by Tide disposable laundry packets for this, and for washing stinky ski socks at night so they are fresh and ready for the next ski morning. 

6. Toiletries should be travel size - this should go without saying, but have you seen TSA's confiscated box? Besides, you won't need 10 ounces of shampoo - so why carry it and risk it blowing up at elevation?! 

You still have plenty of room in your ski bag for your ski clothing and base layers, ski pants, a shell or fleece for layering, hat/helmet, as follows: 

Ski or Snowboard Boots (in a separate compartment)

Ski Pants for colder days, Wind Pants for the warmer days

Ski Jacket for wintry conditions, Windbreaker/Shell for warmer weather

Two Pair of Ski Socks (stuff these in your ski boots)

Base Layer/Long Underwear

Helmet/Hat

Goggles and Sunglasses in their protective cases and tucked inside a hat

Gloves/Mittens /Disposable Hand Warmer Packets

Neck warmer/Balaclava/Facemask

Pocket size sunscreen and lip balm

For long trips with many connections, I like a ski boot bag with wheels, it's pricier but a real back saver - reserving strength for the slopes. Consider renting skis if you are flying.

When you get home from your ski adventure, unpack and launder your ski stuff immediately so it's clean, dry and ready for the next trip... don't let it linger or fester or you will be sorry later. Just like, "No friends on a powder day," I say no excuse for procrastination.