Ski Utah's Ski & Snowboard Trip Tips & Packing List

By Local Lexi Oct 27, 2020
Not sure what to pack for your next ski or snowboard trip? No worries, we have you covered. Here's what you need to pack for a successful ski or snowboard trip.
Ski Utah's Ski & Snowboard Trip Tips & Packing List

If you're anything like me and you suffer from the dueling challenges of procrastination and overpacking, you'll be frantically packing in the wee hours for your highly-anticipated ski or snowboard trip. 

The panic devolves into throwing things without scruple into your bag and struggling to zip your luggage with bulging seams. You inevitably forget something and it's a real drag to discover your shortcomings when you should be soaking up the glory of vacation or just soaking in a hot tub—but you can't because you forgot your swimsuit. Or how about that time I only packed 3 pairs of socks for a 3-week road trip to explore British Columbia, Canada?

We want your ski or snowboard trip to be a dream, so here's our comprehensive packing list with some tips and tricks. Plus, don't miss my recent article on 10 ways to avoid ski and snowboard trip hassles - Click Here!

OH—and don't forget the new Salt Lake City International Airport just opened their new terminal in September 2020! The upgrades include a far more efficient baggage system, a baggage carousel designed for ski and snowboard bags, and tons of fantastic amenities for air travelers. Learn more here. Your next trip to Utah will surely be a dream, starting with the airport!


  • If you're traveling with your own skis or board, invest in a durable, high-quality ski or snowboard bag.
    I highly recommend DB brand bags, designed by pro skier Jon Olsson. Order one up from Salt Lake City-based gear retailer An avid world traveler, Olsson canvased over 150 athletes, world travelers, and airport baggage handlers to determine what features were necessary to comprise the world’s best luggage bags. DB has been making primo ski and board bags in the biz since 2012. 

    In early 2020, I hauled two pairs of skis and two pairs of boots onto planes, trains, and automobiles for a total of 23,684 miles (that’s 38,115 kilometers) with my DB luggage! Having circumnavigated the globe with my DB bag, it works, it's durable, it's practical. Side note: is very close to the SLC Airport, and makes a great stop if you want to pick up some new gear before heading up to the hills.

  • Pack your ski or snowboard boots in your carry-on luggage 
    While many ski bags or boot bags are constructed to accommodate boots, I do not recommend stowing your boots in your checked luggage. I, for one, do not want to play baggage roulette, as a pair of missing ski boots would easily ruin my trip. As the most important weapon in your gear arsenal, keep your snacks close and your boots even closer. 

  • Hydrate as best you can and avoid alcohol on the plane
    It’s exceptionally difficult to refuse free alcohol, I know, but I cannot BELIEVE how much avoiding alcohol helped me to prevent crushing jet lag when I crossed every single time zone. It was hard. It was also worth it. 

  • The essentials belong in your carry-on luggage
    If possible, carry a set of thermals, all your outerwear, a few sets of socks, and your helmet and goggles in your carry-on. This way, if an unfortunate series of events leads to a baggage snafu, it'll be an inconvenience, but it won't wreck your day.

  • Snacks
    Everything is better with snacks. Pack them, eat them, savor them, enjoy them. If you're staying in Park City, Grocery Girls will even do all the shopping for you and deliver it to your hotel or vacation rental!

  • Earplugs. Trust us.
    Utah boasts some of the deepest and most consistent snowfall in the USA. As such, chances are good that you’ll visit during a storm cycle. Earplugs may come in very handy when ski patrol performs avalanche mitigation in the wee hours of the morning. (To see what that looks like in action, watch how Solitude Ski Patrol prepares Fantasy Ridge and Honeycomb Canyon for powder lovers—click here). On powder mornings, prepare to be surrounded by the sweet sweet sounds of hand charges and heavy artillery. If you do wake up, chances are you won’t be falling back asleep, because you’re about to have a sensational powder day!

  • Chapstick with sunscreen, sunscreen, and a water bottle
    Utah’s state slogan is ‘Life Elevated.’ To find the best snow, you must head for the mountains. Mountains mean altitude. Altitude means FAR more exposure to harmful UV rays, bitter cold, and crisp dry air. Pack plenty of skincare products with sun protection and a water bottle to keep hydrated. For more information, check out our article on snow safety tips from University of Utah Healthclick here.

  • Sturdy, waterproof snow boots
    I've seen it before, and I'll probably see it again. Visitors from warm and sunny states showing up to Utah in cloth high tops. It's not fun when you've gotta traverse a parking lot in 18 inches of snow equipped with beach sneakers. To properly enjoy your Utah experience, pack some decent, waterproof boots (the taller the better) and you'll be ready for anything.

  • Sock it to your baggage
    Pack more than enough socks. Warm, dry socks are the key to a successful day of snow sliding. I prefer merino wool and my favorite brand is Lé Bent. Avoid cotton socks at all costs. If you are going to invest in two high-quality items as a skier or snowboarder, it should be your boots and high-quality socks. 

  • Puffed Up
    Many folks visit Utah from warmer climates. Invest in a quality synthetic or down jacket from Stio. These insulated jackets (in fun colors and fetching patterns) stuff up compactly and won't take up much space in your carry-on. Once you arrive in the chilly winter climate of Utah, it'll be easily accessible and you'll be winter-ready.
  • Artistic Inclinations
    If you're interested in capturing and connecting more deeply with your experience, bring some craft supplies! Pack a journal, some art pens, a small sketchbook, colored pencils, or watercolors. I prefer watercolors. I busted out the small painting below while waiting for the mountain to open up after a particularly deep storm in Austria. Having a token of this day is such a special memory now! 


□  Ski or Snowboard Boots
□  Goggles
□  Helmet
□  Skis or Snowboard
□  Ski Poles 
□  Avalanche Gear (if needed) — Shovel, Beacon, Probe, Pack
□  Ski or Shred Backpack 
□  Lift Tickets or Season Pass
□  Ski Bag and Boot Bag

*If you are renting, check our Rental Guide here. Be sure to check with rental shops beforehand to determine if reservations are required. 

□  Waterproof or Insulated Pants
□  Waterproof and/or Insulated Jacket
□  Waterproof Mittens or Gloves
□  Several Buffs, Face Masks, or Neck Gaiters 
□  Wool Ski Socks (several pairs)
□  Fleece, Down, or Mid-layer Jacket
□  Thermal Tops or Base Layers (avoid cotton) 
□  Thermal Bottoms or Fleece Pants (avoid cotton)
□  Beanie or Warm Hat

□  Winter Jacket or Thermal Layer
□  Sweater(s) or Sweatshirt
□  Casual, Long-sleeved Shirts
□  Swimsuit for Hot Tubbing 
□  Jeans / Long Pants / Sweat Pants
□  Scarf
□  Underwear
□  Pajamas
□  Flip Flops or Slippers
□  Winter Boots
□  Socks
□  Warm Vest 

□  Sunscreen & Lip Balm with Sun Protection
□  Water Bottle or Hydration Pack
□  Sunglasses
□  Toiletries
□  First Aid Kit 
□  Moisturizer and Eye Drops (The climate here is very arid!)
□  Muscle Relief Cream
□  ID & Travel Documents
□  Auto Insurance Card (if renting a car)
□  Travel Insurance & Travel Details
□  Health Insurance Card
□  Mobile Phone & Charger
□  Camera or GoPro + Extra Batteries or Chargers
□  Headphones
□  Day Pack
□  Medications or Vitamins 
□  Luggage Tags
□  Snacks
□  Hand Sanitizer
□  Face Mask
□  Ear Plugs
□  Portable Speaker

Lastly — don't forget to raise a glass to Ullr before you go! Thank me later when you're waist deep in Utah's amazing powder. 

Thank you to the Salt Lake City International Airport for the header photo.


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