Winter Packing 101
Never fails. The night before your trip, you stand in front of your closet wondering, “What do I bring??” You’ve checked the weather report and it calls for snow and 30-degree temps, so with that information let’s get cracking.
1. Layers, layers, layers: Winter weather in the Wasatch changes with just about each forecast. Plus, while it might be cold and windy on the lifts, you’ll work up a sweat on the slopes. Not to mention that the faster chairlifts mean less time cold, more time hot. You’ll need technical clothing now more than ever to regulate your body temps. By layering you can add or subtract clothes as needed. By the way, leave the cotton for your flannel nightshirt. Cotton is a bad idea for winter recreating.
2. Technical Socks For Every Day: If you’re not planning to do the wash, bring a pair of socks for as many days as your trip. Technical fabrics get clogged with dirt and sweat so they won’t do their job of keeping toes warm and dry unless they’re clean. The thickness of your sock will be personal preference. Some swear by thin socks but I have terribly poor circulation in my digits. They will never be as good as my midweight Bridgedale and Fox River socks. If your boots are supertight, however, a thicker sock may cut off circulation and lead to frostbite. Bridgedale, BTW, has THE CUTEST ski socks for girls.
3. Sunscreen, Lip Balm, Goggles and Sunglasses: High altitude, sunny days and snow glare can fry your skin in an instant- not to mention what the whipping wind does. Pack products for evening replenishing as well as those to protect during the day. Sensitive skin types will love the natural lotions from Epionce like Extreme Weather Barrier and their 40+ sunscreen. I always carry a 25+ lipbalm on a string around my neck. No removing gloves to dig through pockets for the little bugger. JTree facestick is great for kids and to add an extra wind barrier to your face. Last note-you’re constantly wiping your face (of snow, snot and with that neck gaiter) so make sure you reapply often.
4. Water bottle or water backpack: If you don’t like skiing with things in your pockets or on your back leave a bottle or pouch in your car. You’ll be glad you did when you load up for your ride home. There are plenty of drinking fountains and water taps at area restaurants so make sure you keep tabs on your hydration level. Your first sign of dehydration will be dizziness and/or a headache. Don’t get to that place. It sucks. I have found the most awesome water bottle for post work out. The easy-grip Spresh from Source Outdoor may look a little phallic but get over it. No problem holding it with gloves on and the innovative squeezable bottle won’t crack if you drop your boots on it. And you can keep one hand on the wheel while drinking.
5. Good waterproof walking shoes: The best part of the day can be stripping off your ski boots and stepping into something soft and cozy. It’s a toss up between my Acorn Earthroamers and the Hi-Tec V-Lite Snowflake.
They’re like a spa treatment for your feet! I waterproofed both with Revivex Nubuck, Suede, and Fabric Waterproofer and now I take them everywhere. If you throw your boots into a Transpack bootpack, you can wear your comfortable shoes all the way to the slopes then stash your bag under a bench until day’s end and wear your walking shoes home.
You’ll have the added benefit of not wearing down the plastic of your boot soles walking across asphalt. (A note to fashionistas: The only high heel you should ever sport on a ski vacation should be something like the Jambu Cruise. Anything else just gets sloppy and dangerous.) FYI- Nothing screams “tourist” like the wrong shoes on your feet.
6. Après ski clothes: Hat hair and wet clothes may be badges of honor after a day of skiing but if you want to be stylish and comfortable for the evening it’s best to change things out. Layering applies here too. It’s cold walking around Main Street but it could be downright sweltering inside that restaurant or bowling at Jupiter Bowl.
If you’re going to an outdoor concert or event then by all means where a pair of fleece-lined Wrangler pants but inside, they’ll just look like mom jeans. Better to wear a pair of Kuhl cords or heavyduty True Religion jeans under a long wool coat like the unique Helly Hansen Embla wool hybrid jacket of merino and Primaloft.
You can find amazing apres sweaters from Neve and my favorite trendy hats for men, women and kids have to be those from Nobis (no relation to Jeremy). The dress code for ski vacays is “Mountain Casual”. Leave the fancy stuff at home (unless you’re doing New Year’s Eve at the Stein Eriksen Lodge).
7. Food: You can plan to drop a load at resort cafeterias or you can pack snacks like Tram Bars, trail mix, and Power Bars and eat on your way home. Eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day actually keeps you from bonking and prevents that afternoon bloat that comes with a big mountain lunch.
8. Swimsuit: Duh. Hot tubbing, people! But if you’re white like me, pack a tankini from Athleta. Not only are they cute but they’ll cover more skin. Sorry, guys.
9. Pain Reliever: No matter how hard you trained for you vacay, you’ll feel your ski day in every muscle and joint. Pack your favorite pain killer.
10. Neck Gaiter: Those rings of fleece may not be the chicest but you’ll regret not having one the minute you ride a windy lift or ski while it’s snowing. And they pack and wear better than a scarf.