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First-Time Skier Checklist

Skiing is a lot of fun, but the amount of gear required can feel overwhelming, so do yourself a favor and plan ahead and use this first-time skier checklist. Use a bag to keep track of all of your stuff, and you should pack it and double check it the night before, especially if you’re trying to make it to the mountain for an early lesson.

The type and amount of clothing you’ll want to wear is temperature dependent, so dressing in layers is helpful. If you tend to get cold easily, pack an extra layer just in case. Most ski resorts have lockers where you can store your stuff for a few dollars if you need to.

Finally, do your best to avoid wearing anything cotton. If it gets wet, it will make you cold. If you can’t avoid wearing a little cotton, then at least make sure it’s not the layer next to your skin. Call ahead to reserve your lessons and your rental equipment.

First-Time Skier Checklist


  • Skis
  • Boots
  • Poles (adult skiers only)
  • Helmet (Though not required, helmets do make skiing safer, and they’re much warmer than they look. Unless you’re facing temperatures lower than 15 degrees, you will be just fine in your helmet without any additional head layering. If it’s colder than that, you can purchase a thin hat designed to go under a helmet. Regular hats are too thick to fit.)
  • TIP: If you’re not flying somewhere and your ski rental isn’t included in your lesson, consider renting from your local outdoors shop. The rental shops on the mountain tend to be more expensive, and it can be an added hassle to pick your skis up on the ski hill.

What to wear

  • Long underwear top (this could be a silk or polypropylene layer).
  • Long underwear bottoms or spandex tights (running tights work well)
  • Medium weight layer for your top half that can be removed if you get hot (merino wool is a good option here)
  • Outer layer top- EITHER
    A. fleece jacket or down sweater with a waterproof shell over top
    B. An insulated parka (down or synthetic insulation and water resistant)
  • Bibs or snow pants- (waterproof or water-resistant)
  • Goggles (sunglasses are okay too if you’re sure the weather will be nice)
  • Neck gator
  • Gloves or mittens (water-resistant or waterproof)
  • Wool or synthetic-blend knee-high socks. (One layer is fine, but make sure you wear your socks when you try on your ski boots. You should be able to wiggle your toes easily inside the ski boot with your socks on. )
  • Hat (if you’re not wearing a helmet)


  • A gear bag (an old gym bag works well for this)
  • An extra pair of shoes or boots to wear to/from the ski hill
  • Cash for tipping ski instructors/ski valets and a credit card for everything else
  • A small wallet or change purse to carry a credit card, cash, and your ID, especially if you’re planning to hit the bar for an après ski celebration
  • Ibuprofen for sore muscles
  • Lots of water (especially if you’re skiing at high elevation)

Is there anything missing? If yes, please add it to the comments below!

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