Ski Gear Guide
Whether you are a seasoned skier or snowboarder or a first time rider, you’ll need more or less the same gear for a day out hitting the slopes (and spending a day in the elements).
Before you book that ski vacation and decide where you want to spend this winter cruising down snow covered mountains (check out the 12 Best Ski Resorts in North America), you’ll need to figure out exactly what gear you need to conquer that mountain (and stay warm while you are doing it).
The first ski essential is definitely a good, waterproof and wind resistant winter jacket to keep you warm and dry no matter what the weather is like outside. In fact, a necessary component of being able to have a good time on the mountain is making sure you are warm enough. Investing in a good jacket that’ll keep you protected from the elements and last for several seasons is a must-have for anyone planning on hitting the slopes.
>>Read more about the best ski jackets
There are about as many different models and brands of skis as there are stars in the sky, so finding the best pair for you can definitely prove to be challenging if you’re not sure what type of skier you are or what you are looking for in a pair of skis. Since most beginners will probably opt to rent equipment, only those more serious skiers will have to worry about what type of skis to buy.
If you are investing in a pair of skis for the first time and you’re not sure what you are looking for, I highly recommend heading into a ski shop and talking to an expert who can help you figure out which ski is right for you (and maybe even let you demo a few pairs)
>>Read more about my favorite brand of skis, the new K2s.
Unless you want to spend 3 days after your day of skiing in a dark room healing sunburned eyes, you’ll want to invest in a good pair of ski goggles. Not only will a good pair of goggles shield you eyes from the harsh light reflecting off the snow, but they’ll also help keep your face warm and improve visibility.
>>Read more about the best ski goggles
Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Because the air is thinner at higher elevations, it also means it’s a whole lot easier to get sunburned (or tipsy). Sun reflecting off the surface of the snow also amplifies your possibility of getting sunburned, so you’ll want to make sure to slather on the sunscreen and keep your lips moisturized (with sunscreen) even on cloudy days to protect your skin.
Gloves and/or Mittens
Yet another necessary item for spending a day on he mountain is a good pair of gloves or mittens to keep your fingers warm out in the snow. Since gloves last season after season (I’ve had the same pair of gloves for the past 4 seasons ), investing in a good pair that’ll keep your hands warm on the coldest days is well worth it.
>>Best ski and snowboard gloves
Unless you want to be “that” guy making his way down the bunny slope in jeans, you’ll want to get a good pair of snowpants before you hit the mountain. Snowpants will keep you warm and dry, even after a big wipeout in the powder, and are a definite ski gear essential.
I’ll be the first to admit that I hate skiing with a helmet. That being said, I still force myself to wear protective head gear. Skiing and snowboarding can be dangerous, and when it comes to dangerous athletic adventures, I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
>>Read more about the best ski and snowboard helmets
Properly layering is the key to staying warm even on the most bitterly cold days on the mountain, so investing in a great pair of long underwear that’ll keep you warm, breath and be comfortable is a definite must.
I have a problem with chronically cold feet. Even in the warmth of my own home, my feet are often chilly. This makes it all that more essential that I have an excellent pair of ski socks that’ll keep my tootsies nice and toasty. Since you want a sock that is warm, breathable, lightweight and comfortable, smart wool is the best way to go. I like knee highs that I pull over my long underwear.
There are hundreds of different variations and styles of neckwarmers. What type of neckwarmer you get will depend on how cold you think it’ll be where you are skiing and personal preference. Just make sure you have something to tuck your nose into when you’re headed up the chair lift.
Photo by Buck82 on flickr