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Get packing, go skiing

Posted by Heather Burke  February 17, 2012 07:45 AM

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My ski friends ask me how to pack for a ski vacation out west, or even just a two hour drive to the mountains. Apparently the task of ski packing causes serious stress for some skiers. What you pack, and what you leave home, has a big impact on your ski trip. Forget your goggles and you are shelling out serious dough for a replacement pair - no last minute deal for dummies.

Here are some of my ski packing tips and tricks:

sunday-river-jordan-grand.jpgSki resorts are not fancy, so you can get by with one pair of pants and a few après ski shirts, or ski sweaters. Wear boots with good treads for walking around the (hopefully) snowy resort. If you are marginally fashion conscious, make sure everything you pack matches. I recommend a lot of black, its slimming, hide stains and looks slightly dressier than blue jeans. Always pack that swimsuit, there is a reason every ski hotel gift shops sells swimsuit for $80, because everyone forgets this small, easy to pack but easy to omit, hot tub essential.

If you are flying to your ski destination: I recommend carrying your ski boots on the plane (stuffing ski socks or gloves inside). I wear my ski jacket and have my goggles, gloves, the absolutely essentials handy, so that if (or when) the airline loses my luggage - I only have to rent skis. Make sure your ski and boot bag are well labeled with your name and cell number, plus the address and phone of your destination inside and outside your luggage. I have had my gear delivered at 4am to our ski condo because I provided this detail, and therefore did not miss any ski time despite delayed bags.

Check your big heavy ski boot (having moved your ski boots into your carry-on) with your ski stuff, and après ski clothes, but carry on your essential toiletries in the requisite ziplock for TSA inspection. On your trip home you can put your ski boots back in the checked boot bag, as their arrival home is not as imperative as it is for your ski trip.

Look into renting skis and compare the cost difference versus airline bag fees. If you are bringing your skis and poles, use rubber bands or Velcro straps to keep skis together tightly, then stuff extra ski clothes around them as padding – bag theses items in plastic so that the binding grease doesn’t ooze out onto your outfits.

If you are driving to the ski resort: Call ahead to see if your accommodation has a kitchen. Bringing a pre-made dinner, breakfasts, snacks and drinks, saves time and money during your stay. Hauling frozen lasagna only to find you have no oven however is a bummer.

Bring a small packet of clothing detergent, your necessary power cords for phones, etc.

See, that was not so hard. Think of the fun you will have once you are packed and hitting the snow.

Ski Bag Contents:
ski or snowboard boots, ski socks
hat or helmet
neck warmer or balaclava
base layer –thermal long undies, and a fleece layer
wind and waterproof ski pants and jacket
season pass or lift ticket coupons
hand/toe warmers, lip balm, sunscreen, energy bar

Photo by Greg Burke

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Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.

Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at and


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