The Ultimate Ski Packing List For Beginners: Clothing & Accessories

Updated: Mar 20

If you're heading out to the slopes for the first time, it can be a little daunting when trying to figure out what clothes and accessories will keep you warm and comfortable on your trip. This post is here to help! We'll discuss everything from base layers, mid layers, and top layers of clothing, as well as other accessories that are perfect for skiing.

The key to dressing for a ski trip is layering. Layers. Layers. Layers. We'll go through the features you should keep in mind when selecting layers and also provide you with examples along the way. Note: This article contains affiliate links.

Top Layer

Ski Jacket

First off, you'll need a ski jacket to keep yourself warm and dry. The ski jackets that are available today not only look good but also offer lots of warmth and protection from the elements! Make sure your ski jacket has at least one inside pocket for storing small items like passports, ski passes, keys, wallet, phones, etc.

Your ski jacket should be water- and windproof since you will be braving the outdoors (i.e. snow and ice). This makes soft shell jackets ideal material for your top layer. Your jacket waterproof level should be at least 10,000mm, which is generally considered moderate waterproofing. We traveled to Colorado at the start of ski season in November, so snowfall at that time was very light. You should take into consideration the amount of snowfall expected while at your ski destination to determine what level of waterproofing you will need for your jacket. Jacket insulation is also super important. Fleece insulation can provide great warmth, especially if you're traveling to much colder destinations, but these types of jackets with fleece insulation may also have lower levels of waterproofing.

I purchased the Gemyse Women's Mountain Waterproof Ski Snow Jacket, and Arias purchased the Gemyse Men's Waterproof Jacket. This jacket was perfect for my first-time skiing and for the weather conditions in Breckenridge! It is insulated with comfortable fleece material and made with an outer shell fabric. It also has an internal snap skirt to prevent snow from penetrating the inside of the ski jacket. The jacket also comes in a variety of colors, so if you're planning to ski multiple days, you'll never have to wear the same jacket twice! It also comes with a detachable hood.

Ski Pants

Ski pants, similar to the ski jacket, should be water- and windproof with good insulation to keep you warm. The Arctix Women's Insulated Snow Pants offered a great fit and were insulated with warm polyester lining. These pants also have additional lining and patches along the ankles to protect against shredding and daily wear-and-tear from your ski boots or boarding shoes. I purchased two pair:

Arctix Womens Snow Sports Insulated Cargo Pants Base Layer

Arctix Women's Insulated Snow Pants

Base Layer

Your base- layer is a layer you will be wearing under your ski jacket, and is arguably the most important layer that you will purchase. It is typically worn next to your skin, so it must keep you warm without overheating or making you feel too hot. If this layer becomes wet from sweat or water, it should insulate just as well when wet than when dry. In addition to the base layer's ability to insulate, it should have the ability to wick moisture. A good base layer should adequately do both. There are a variety of materials that you can choose from when selecting your base layer, but I chose a synthetic polyester material.

I purchased the Pisiqi Thermal Underwear Base Layer from Amazon. This set is essentially a Long John set that is super soft and very comfortable. It is also incredibly lightweight, so I had no problems with flexibility or with maneuvering while on the slopes. Because of its polyester material, it also has great wicking. I felt very warm while wearing this layer underneath my ski jacket. In fact, for most of my ski trip, this layer was the only layer that I wore underneath my ski jacket and ski pants.

(*Side Note: This base layer set is so comfortable and versatile, I even wear it underneath my scrubs when I work in the hospital!)

Mid Layer (Optional):

Mid layers are worn on top of your base layers and underneath the ski jacket. Sometimes, this layer can be optional, depending on how cold your ski destination is. When we traveled to Breckenridge in November, the high temperatures ranged between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. For colder temperatures with heavier snowfall, a mid layer is more essential.

Similar to base layers, mid layers should have a balance of good wicking, insulation, and breathability. These layers tend to be fleeces or light jackets/vests. For my mid layer, I wore an LL Bean Fleece jacket. A similar jacket can be found on Amazon HERE.

Other Accessories:


When it comes to snow goggles, you don't necessarily have to be picky about what brand or which type to buy...especially if it's your first time skiing. The important thing is to just own a pair! Snow and ice reflects UV light, so if you're exposed to snow and ice for long periods of time without proper eye protection, it can cause damage to your corneas, more commonly known as snow blindness. So get a pair of snow goggles!

It IS important that your goggles are fog resistant! No one wants to keep clearing goggle fog every few minutes. Typically, darker tinted frames are more ideal for brighter, clearer skiing/boarding days, and lighter tinted goggles are ideal for days with more cloud cover.

I purchased the Outdoor Master Ski Goggles at a good price. They offered anti-fog features and good UV protection.

Ski Socks:

It's important to buy socks that are specifically designated as ski socks. Normal cotton socks do not have good wicking ability, so if they get wet, your feet will certainly feel soaked and cold. Do not underestimate the importance of good socks, so feel free to splurge on these. WEIERYA Ski Socks were perfect and kept my feet very warm during my ski trip to Breckenridge.

Knee Pads:

I know what you're thinking. Kia, I'm going skiing....I'm not playing volleyball. Trust me. If it's your first time skiing or snowboarding, you will fall and face plant....often. It's all part of the process of learning how to ski. Your knees don't have to get destroyed in the process! This is where knee pads come into the play. I purchased this pair before my trip and came back home with unscarred knees! Yay me!

Snow Boots: (stylish, not for skiing): Dream Pairs

Boot Dryer: Kooder Boot Dryer

Hat: Ozero Knit Beanie

Neck Warmer: Turtle Fur

Ear Warmers: Komake Ear Warmers and Headband


These items are essential for your next ski vacation! Comment below if you have other ski essentials that should be added to this list!