Knowing what to wear skiing is a big deal.  If you are planning a first time ski trip and need a little advice about the right kind of ski clothes, this is the right spot! 

We will let you know exactly what to pack for a ski trip. 

We want to make sure that you have a good experience on your trip.  Being too cold or too warm can make or break the enjoyment factor.  Finding the right materials and brands is what we are going to do in this post.  We will make sure you know exactly what to wear skiing when you are done reading!

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What to Wear Skiing

What to wear skiing

There are a few things that you need to include in your “what to wear skiing” packing list.  We will list them here and then we can dig in to what the best options are.

  • Under Garments
  • Socks
  • Ski Bib/Ski Pants
  • Gaiter
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Ear Muffs

If you would like a Free Ski Packing Checklist.  Let me know and I will email it to you! Getting the right gear for backcountry skiing is very important if this is your plan.  

ski Trip Packing list banner

Okay, Perfect! Now we got a great list to begin with!

Best Ski Socks

The thinner your ski sock, the better. This might sound absurd but trust me with this.  Warm fuzzy socks that are super thick and cozy  are not ideal while you are skiing.  Nor is layering multiple pairs of socks. You will more than likely regret it once you’re out on the slopes.

Sweaty Feet

Your feet sweat!  So wearing those super thick socks will only increase the amount of moisture inside your boot actually making you colder!   A thinner pair of sweat-resistant socks such as merino wool, thermolite or eco-fibre socks will keep feet dry and insulated. 

Another bonus for wearing a merino blend sock is that it can reduce any friction and rubbing that may result in blisters and bruises.

Hot Tip

If you are skiing multiple days keep your socks clean and dry.  It is temping to want to wear the same socks everyday but this is a mistake!  Body oils and sweat will clog the material.  Your sock will no be able to wick out the moisture.   Make sure to bring a new set of socks for every day you ski!  

Kids Socks

If you are skiing with kids be sure that the socks are put on correctly.  You don’t want crooked seams that will make your child uncomfortable all day long.

The images below are clickable so you can get exactly what you need! 

What to Wear Under Ski Pants

Layering is incredibly important when getting dressed for a ski day. Having a great base layer is essential. Especially, if it is going to be extremely cold.

Most ski pants are more of a shell model or use a basic fleece lining. They typically do not provide as much warmth as you will want while you are on the slopes. A base layer will provide extra insulation and keep your skin warm.

What to Wear Under Your Ski Pants

So what do you wear under your ski pants?  There are a few fabric options to choose from. Let’s explore them now.

Thermals or Long Johns

Thermals or long johns are an under garment typically made from cotton or synthetic material.  They are light weight and will not hold you back while you ski.  You can wear one pair, or two if the weather is extremely cold.

Synthetic material is better because it will wick away moisture as you ski.

Best Ski Bibs

Ski pants are a critical barrier between you and the elements.  This water resistant shell is one of the most important aspects of what you should wear when skiing.  There are a few options to consider. 

Ski Bib

Ski bibs resemble overalls.  They are pants with adjustable straps at the top.  They provide protection not only for your legs but for some of your upper body as well. 

Children or beginners typically wear a full ski bib for that added measure of protection when they fall.  

Ski Pants

Ski pants are basically just waterproof pants.  When you go to buy ski pants there is a range that indicates how water resistant it is.  The higher the number, the better.  This number indicates the water resistance of the material.

Ski Pant Brands

There are high end ski bibs and pants  if you are looking to invest in a great pair of pants that will last a long time.  However, I think Colombia and Lands End are great name brands that produce quality products and are a fraction of the cost. 

You can click below to do a little shopping! 

Best Ski Jackets

Knowing what to wear skiing is just getting easier and easier.  I hope you are feeling more confident!

Ski Jackets 

Ski jackets are the same thing as a winter coats.  So if you already have a waterproof winter coat that you feel will keep you warm on the slopes, then you are all set.  If not, I would recommend getting something insulated and good quality.  

Ski Jacket Brands

There are high end ski jackets you could choose from. North Face is one of the best ski jacket brands you can buy.  I have had a few North Face products and can vouch for the quality.  I also have bought winter coats at Sam’s Club, and while they are inexpensive they do not last and I personally would not wear them on the slopes because they are not sufficiently warm.   

Best Ski Gaiters

Of all the ski apparel accessories, the neck gaiter is the most important to me!  I need my head and face to stay warm!

Ski Neck Gaiter

Neck gaiters are a piece of clothing designed to offer coverage and warmth for your neck and face. They can help protect from the cold and wind, as well as offer UV protection.  There are a few choices. Some go entirely over your head with only your eyes viewable while others only cover your neck, mouth, and nose.

Ear Muffs

If you opt for a partial gaiter, ear muffs are extremely important.  Keeping the head warm is one of the most important things you can do while skiing.

Best Ski Gloves

When looking for a good pair of ski gloves there are a few things to consider.  All ski gloves are waterproof, but consider getting a glove that is well made like Black Diamond  Gloves that will keep your hands warm.  You also want a glove that has a nice sealing wrist strap so that snow can not get in. 

Best Ski Hats

Keeping your head warm is probably the most important thing you can do when you ski.  If you wear a helmet, a thin hat to go under your helmet could add an extra layer of protection.

However, you still will want a hat for when you take off your helmet and are getting from point A to point B.  When I was younger wearing the most craziest hats on the slopes was encouraged.  I still like the idea of standing out!

Here are a few options to choose from.

Best Ski Goggles

Goggles are great to have when it is snowing.  When you purchase your goggles make sure to try them on.  If you have your helmet make sure it fit properly with the helmet.

A low VLT number such as 10 percent means less eye fatigue on sunny days.  A high VLT number such as 75 percent means better color and depth perception on low-light days.

Different Ski Goggle Lenses 

  • Yellow and gold lenses filter out blue light.  This is good so that you can see bumps better.  These work well in moderate conditions.
  • Light rose and rose copper lenses are perfect on low-light days.
  • Dark tints such as cooper, dark brown, green or grey are good for bright sunny days. Grey lenses are also good for letting you see true colors.
  • A mirror coating lens reflects sunlight so it doesn’t penetrate the lens. This lowers the VLT of the lens making it great for sunny days.
  • Clear lenses are good for night skiing.
  • A term you need to know is photochromic lenses.  This lens can make it lighter or darker automatically.

Heated Vest

If you are a person that despises being cold but still wants to ski, a heated vest may be a great option.

Heated vests are battery operated and provide that extra warmth you might need when temperatures are in single digits or below.

Benefits of a Vest

What is really nice about these vests are that they are made of a thin material which makes it very convenient to wear under your ski gear. They are lightweight as well.

Best Ski Helmet

A good helmet should feel snug but not tight. If the helmet has wiggle room it is too big.  It should sit no more than 1 inch above your eyebrows. 

There should not be a gap between the top of your goggles and the helmet. Make sure the helmet fits snugly to the top of the goggles. The chin strap should be snug but you should still be able to chew food with it on. 

Ski Helmet Accessory Options

There are few additional options to consider for your helmet:

Random Accessories

There are a few things you might consider before you hit the slopes. 


You might not think to wear sunblock while skiing but if the sun is shining you can get burned.  The sun reflects right off of the snow and can burn any exposed skin.  Grab a bottle just in case.  If it is overcast you will probably be fine.  

Cell Phone Protector 

Sometimes my phone shuts off in very cold temperatures.  I have been skiing and my phone has been useless.  Purchasing a thermal phone case is a good idea.  You don’t want to be separated from your group and not have a way to contact them.  

Hand and Toe Warmers

I know hand and toe warmer are essential for me.  I like to stay warm on the ski slopes.  There are battery powered hand warmers but I have not tried them.  I usually just get the disposable ones.

What Not to Wear Skiing

Things to do in Utah in Winter - ski

There are a few things that you should not wear skiing!

  • Never wear denim material like jeans.  The minute this material gets wet it will not dry.
  • Do not wear cotton gloves.  You need waterproof ski gloves 100%
  • Do not wear dull colors.  It is better to wear bright colors on the slopes so that people will notice you and not run into you.

Now You Know What to Wear Skiing!

plan a ski trip

Hopefully, this post helps you know exactly what to wear skiing.  This is designed to give you a general idea that will help you pack for a skiing trip.

Some brands are better than other brands but there is something for every budget!

Facebook Community

If you need advice about your upcoming trip join our Facebook Travel Community. This group is full of amazing people that will answer any questions you might have.  Join us and we can help! Also, I try to post special deals that companies send me.

I also made videos in this group that will help you

  • Get in shape before you go skiing
  • How to put your skis on
  • Demonstration of “what to wear skiing”
  • List of the Top Ski Resorts in the USA

Great Resources

If you are going skiing for the first time I have a list of the best beginner ski resorts.  Also, a comprehensive overview of Utah ski resorts.