Spring Break Ski Trip

A Perfect Guide for What To Wear Skiing (11 Essential Beginner Ski Gear Items)

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 gear for skiing, this is the right spot! 

We will list some of the best ski clothing for beginners and some great beginner ski gear options. 

We will let you know exactly what to wear for skiing first-time experience. This post will primarily focus on the ski essentials for beginners, some basic beginner ski gear, and skiing equipment for beginners. It is basically the ultimate guide for ski trip essentials for beginner skiers. 

Obviously, a lot of these items listed below, you will use over and over again. You will become a pro on the best equipment for skiing. 

If you have been skiing many times don't worry, this post is a great reminder of all the gear for skiing you will need as well. A lot of these options are perfect options for what to wear snowboarding as well.  

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!  

Let's start with the basic beginner ski clothing you will need! 

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What to Wear Skiing for BeginnersWhat 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 into what the best options are.

Because this is a buying guide for ski essentials for beginners I am not going to link to the top-end products on the market or gear for backcountry skiing.  Amazon has almost everything you will need for beginner ski gear. 

Best Ski Gear For Beginners

If you would like a Free Ski Packing Checklist.  Let me know and I will email it to you!  

ski Trip Packing list banner

Okay, perfect! This ski essentials for beginners packing list will be so helpful when you actually pack.  Right now we need to buy all the things to pack! 

My Experience with Gear For Skiing

I may not be a beginner skier (I have skied for over 30 years now) but I always update my beginner ski gear for my kids.  I typically will buy new items every 2-3 years. (kids grow!)  

As for adults, once you buy most of the items you will be able to use them for many years to come.  

1. Skiing Essentials for Beginners Must Include Socks

ski essentials for beginners 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-fiber 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 for multiple days keep your socks clean and dry.  It is tempting to want to wear the same socks every day but this is a mistake! 

Body oils and sweat will clog the material.  Your sock will not 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.

Don't make a ” what to wear skiing first time mistake” with socks.  This is my beginner ski clothing tip! 

2. What to Wear Under Ski Pants? Under Garments

long johns Basic ski essentials for beginners

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?  Is there specific clothing required for skiing that you should wear? YES! There are a few fabric options to choose from. Let's explore them now.

Thermals or Long Johns

Thermals or long johns are an undergarment typically made from cotton or synthetic material.  They are lightweight 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. This is a beginner ski clothing item you will want! 

3. Ski Bibs an Important Beginner Gear For Skiing

ski gear for beginners - ski bib

Ski pants are a critical barrier between you and the elements and one of the most basic ski essentials for beginners and all skiers.  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.  Let's be honest you don't want snow touching your back when you 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. 

4. Jackets are an Essential Beginner Ski Clothing Item You Have to Have

ski clothing for beginners - jackets

Knowing what to wear skiing is just getting easier and easier.  I hope you are feeling more confident and ready to buy all the things you need for your trip! 

Your first-time skiing essentials will include a jacket.

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.   

5. First Time Essential Gear For Skiing Include Gaiters and Ear Muffs

gear for skiing - Gaiters

As you are asking yourself what to wear when skiing for the first time, 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, earmuffs are extremely important.  Keeping the head warm is one of the most important things you can do while skiing.

You do not want anything too bulky because you still have to wear a ski helmet when you ski. 


6. Ski Gloves are Important Beginner Ski Clothing

Ski Gloves for gear for beginner skiiers

When looking for a good pair of ski gloves there are a few things to consider.

Waterproof Ski Gloves

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. 

Ski gloves are one of the most important gear for skiing beginners.

7. Ski Hats are a Beginner Ski Gear Essential

skiing essentials for beginners - 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.

8. Goggles are Important Ski Equipment for Beginners

ski equipment for beginners - goggles

If you are thinking of ski equipment for beginners you actually need to buy, goggles should make your list.

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 fits 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 copper, 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.

I know that is a lot of information on how to dress for skiing! 

9. What to Wear Skiing for the First Time? Heated Vest?

what to wear skiing for the first time - 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 them very convenient to wear under your ski gear. They are lightweight as well.

Disadvantages of Heated Vest

If this is your first time skiing, you will be working up a sweat.  Learning to ski is exercise.  You may find that you do not need a vest unless the temperatures are below zero! 

10. Ski Gear for Beginners You Will Want is a Helmet

ski equipment for beginners - 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 a few additional options to consider for your helmet:

Should I Rent A Helmet or Buy One?

You may be asking is this a beginner ski equipment item I need? Can I just rent it?  

The answer is yes you can rent it, however, if you plan on skiing a few times it is worth it to just buy your own.  Usually, it cost $15/day to rent one. 

11. Random Ski Essentials for Beginners

Random essentials for skiing Beginers

If you are asking yourself the question “What to buy for a ski trip” 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.  

Plus, you might not be able to find a ton of places that have sunblock for sale in the winter. 

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 warmers 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

Gifts for skiers - essentials

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!

ski instructor

Hopefully, this post helps you know exactly what to wear skiing and gave some ski essentials for beginners you hadn't thought of. I am excited for you to plan a ski trip

This is designed to give you a general idea that will help create a first-time skiing packing list. 

Some brands are better than others but there is something for every budget! As I said early, most gear for beginner skiers can be found on Amazon. You can even these items as gifts for skiers. I have personally bought a lot of the items on this list and loved them.  

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

Great Resources

If you don't know I live in Utah.  I am very familiar with all the Utah ski resorts.  If you have any questions feel free to ask! 

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  1. I’ve never been snow skiiing, so I wouldn’t even know where to start! In fact, it seems like we don’t even get very much snow where I live the past few winters. Maybe this one will be different. The hats are ear muffs are so cute, and I wouldn’t mind some good gloves to keep the snow out, even if I’m just playing outside. Great list!

  2. What to wear skiing is THE most important thing to learn! It’s so with the investment of purchasing high-quality gloves, socks, boots, hats, coats, etc. to fully enjoy skiing. Nothing worse than to be cold and wet! Another great post!

  3. Great advice – it’s taken us a number of years to get the clothing down pat, but now we all know exactly what works and what doesn’t. The neck gaiter is key for me – love that you included it. I never ski without mine.

  4. What a thorough and complete list for skiing! I don’t ski but some of these articles of clothing are great for winter fun off the slopes.

  5. Your ski series has been fantastic! Even though I am not a skier.. I have definitely been thinking about it! Thank you for sharing your experience!

  6. I’ve never actually gone skiing but now live only 20 miles or so from the nearest ski resort. So it may be in my future…as I know nothing about skiing, this list will be helpful to me should I take the plunge and try the slopes!

  7. Excellent resource for skiers! You are the master planner for sure! I’m not a skier but still find tons of value in your recommendations for gear of different varieties!

  8. Those vests or any heated gear is a game changer! I wear that stuff when I’m working on film sets shooting outdoors. And I can attest to overall ski/snowboard pants! No more snow up your back when you fall haha.

  9. We have been slowly adding winter gear to our wardrobes after moving up north from Florida! I love that heated vests exist now!!!

  10. That’s what I love about skiing in New Mexico- it’s dry and powdery, so you absolutely can ski in jeans. As beginners, you can soak your jeans in the spray Safe Guard stuff, which is what I did whilst I was learning.

  11. Great list of equipment & ski clothing! Layer, layer, layer. I think this could be a new Christmas song, lol.

  12. This is so informative. I hope someday to ski again…it’s been so many years and knowing what to wear is really helpful.

  13. We don’t ski, but I can relate to having the right gear when I run. There is a fine line between too hot and too cold.

  14. Since we don’t ski, I totally need this help. We live in So Cal and don’t get to the snow much anymore but have wanted to take our kids. But I wouldn’t know the first thing to pack! This is exactly what we need. Thanks for the tips!

  15. What to wear skiing has come a long way in the types of materials and clothing since I went skiing. The heated vest sounds right for me now.

  16. I always try to pick the comfiest flexible underlayer and the warmest outer-layer! No fun if you feel restricted and COLD!

  17. I’m not a ski person… but Hubby is. And let me tell you… he went ALL OUT with his gear (insert eye roll), including heated vest and heated boots!

  18. Great list of what to wear skiing. I’m pretty sure the one and only time I’ve ever skied, I broke the rules and wore denim jeans. Thankfully it was pretty warm that day and I didn’t freeze.

  19. These are good tips for skiers new or expert, unfortunately I’m a snowboarder and most of those items fall into that category too. Minus a couple things lol but that’s all good. Great job and loved the pictures too! Makes me want to go snowboarding this weekend 😂 Thank you for sharing! Have fun out there and stay warm 😊

  20. Good information. I went skiing once in my twenties. It was fun but scary too. I’m content not to ever go again, especially at my age.

  21. Great tips. My kids just started skiing last season. The right clothes and gear make a world of difference.

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