Packing Right While Skiing

by Jack McNary | November 2, 2021


We’ve all been there, in the blowing snow, watching it collect in quarter-inch increments with each successive lift ride, catching our breath, but also finding that as our sweat cools, we become well, cold! Not freezing your gourd off is a valid concern for much of the winter, especially in the early season, what with the shorter days and all.

The above scenario can instead be something you smile to yourself about on the lift, reveling in being comfy (warm even) despite the weather forcing most inside. With that, we’ll go into the keys for packing right, including what you should bring, and almost as important, what should stay in the car.

Much ado about Backpacks

First off, let’s get the record straight on backpacks – they are great, and are an excellent day to maximize your way. If your friends give you a hard time about wearing them, you have full license to remind them of all the creature comforts that you have at your disposal, and that they may not get any of what you’re sharing if they keep that sass up. Sure, coats also have tons of pockets for storing keys, wallet, a birthday cake, dormice, and whatever else Hagrid was keeping in there, but they do tend to get bulky and there is the risk of smashing your contents when you take a digger.

Factoring in things like where your car may be parked (if you’re somewhere where that is even an option), what the lines are like that day, and yes, of course, the snow conditions, a backpack can be your best friend on really any day of skiing.

Well, what should go in this backpack? That may seem like an obvious one, but it’s not as simple as it looks.

The Problem of a Soggy Sandwich

PB+J by emilykey31 on emaze

Aww, mom, not again!

A good day packing light starts with knowing what lunch will be, and how you might be able to make it taste better than the woeful soggy pb n j’s we all grew up eating. But if you are the designated lunch mule, what’s a person to do to get around this?

An answer lies in the wonderful natural refrigerator that is winter itself! On your first run, find yourself a nice tree (in a memorable-yet-not-too-conspicuous place), and hang that sumbitch up on it! Now, we don’t advocate for using plastic bags in general, but in this case, for sack lunches, we’ll concede that they are well-suited for hanging on a tree branch – just don’t forget where you put it!

Cold enough where your food might freeze solid, or paranoid about someone snagging your lunch? In that case, try to bring things that don’t become depressing to eat when they get mushy – a favorite from back in the day is the bagel-cream cheese-salami combo, but hey, you can feed yourself, so I’ll let you trust your gut.

Man can’t live on sandwiches alone, so a clementine or two probably makes sense to bring along, and Clif goo bloks make for an awesome pseudo-candy to eat on the lift (and they taste better than those mush bars to which we’ve all grown accustomed).

The Hydration Question

Being thirsty – it’ll getcha! Nothing like some good dehydration to freeze the bones and make the interest dip. If you’re taking the step of carrying a backpack around, it’s a no-brainer to have a water bottle in there. It’s going to weigh a bit, sure, but it will save you from having to hop from water fountain to water fountain, and you’ll avoid parting with at least 5 bucks on the mountain that could obviously be better spent.

Many of us backpack-carriers like to carry a couple other beverages of choice, which have the added benefit of no longer weighing much of anything after being enjoyed – just don’t be a litterbug and recycle those darn cans!

Layers, man, layers

Skiing is all about the layers – of snow, of clothing, and something else that I’m sure will come to mind. But seriously, put at least one not-bulky layer in your bag just in case. Odds are someone didn’t guess the weather right and needs to be bailed out by your fleece or fancy-super-micro-down pullover, and whether or not that is you, you’ll always be glad it’s there when you need it.

Oh right, that last layer – it’s both something you can wear and carry, and yes it’s obvious but still worth pointing out:

“Sick, brah”


It’s not spring yet, but if the sun is shining, even on a crisp, cold day, it still makes sense to put on a good layer a couple times (or for us fair-skinned folks, maybe a nice lather is better), and your skin will thank you later.

It’s undeniable that the spray-on sunscreens make it easy to put on, but I suggest you take it from the experts: mineral sunscreens are the way to go (and everyone will be jealous of your nose, too!). 




17 Ski Wipeout Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Probably needs some Advil

  • A good knife – you never know when you’ll need a good knife
  • Advil, for when you smoke your melon
  • Snacks – who doesn’t love snacks?
  • Sunglasses are always nice

Leave it in the car

  • Bluetooth speakers – they invented headphones for a reason!
  • Your worries and doubts – you’re going skiing after all!!

Remember to check with us for tickets when planning your next trip, and don’t forget to bring a backpack!



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