Skiing Gear Checklist

Austria, Salzburg, Young couple skiing on mountain
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The following is a list of the equipment and clothing you will need for your day on the ski slopes. If it's your first ski trip, rent skis and boots. There is no point in investing in expensive equipment until you are sure this is the sport for you. And the right clothing is just as important as your gear. If you don't have a good wind- and water-resistant jacket and ski pants, borrow or rent those for the day, too. Ski rental outlets offer full packages of clothing, including jacket, pants, goggles and gloves, for less than $40 per day. 

Ski Equipment:

  • Skis: An overview of top ski brands to help you narrow down the options. Tip: Staff at rental outlets can help you get the right size of ski, or you can consult a ski sizing chart to find a suitable size range for your height and weight. 
  • Ski Boots: Learn the basics of fitting ski boots. Boots for beginners should be supportive and comfortable. You don't need high-performance when you're learning to ski. 
  • Ski Poles: You don't poles to learn to ski, but most adults like to start with them. Kids generally shouldn't use poles until they're ready for proper turning (not snow plowing). 
  • Goggles: When it's snowing you can't ski without goggles, and many skiers like to wear them for sun protection, too. Learn about different types and brands of goggles, including over-the-glasses goggles, for those who wear eyeglasses. 
  • Helmet: You gotta wear a helmet to ski safe, so you better start shopping. Helmets are comfortable and keep you warm, in addition to helping protect you from serious injury. You can go high-tech by accessorizing your helmet with Bluetooth headphones

Note: Most major ski areas have cell towers nearby, so keep your cellphone on you to contact ski buddies or mountain staff if you need help. Fully charge it before leaving for the slope, but leave it turned off until you need it. 

Ski Clothing:

  • Base Layer (tops and bottoms): Learn how to layer your clothing for comfort and protection. The base layer, like long underwear and turtlenecks, should be made of performance fabric, not cotton. 
  • Ski Sweaters for Men and Women: Shop for ski sweaters and other "mid layers" that offer lightweight performance. They'll keep you warm under your jacket, and some may serve as an outer layer on warm days.
  • Ski Socks: Check out these high-performance socks from some leading brands. Bulky wool or cotton socks are the last thing you want between your feet and boots.  
  • Ski Pants: Insulated and waterproof men's ski pants or women's ski pants come in a huge variety of types and styles. Check out the various features on some of today's top picks. 
  • Ski Jacket: Your men's ski jacket or women's ski jacket is a critical piece of equipment. Shop around for the features and look that are right for you.
  • Men's or ​Women's Gloves or Mittens: It can't hurt to get two pair, in case one gets wet. 
  • Neck Gaiter: Don't forget that your neck can get cold on the slopes. This accessory can keep your neck warmer than that trusty turtleneck. 

Tip: If you dress in layers, you can always remove a layer if you get hot. It's harder to add layers after the fact, especially when you're cold.