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11 skiing essentials for beginners [MUST READ no. 11]

Published on: 
March 6, 2020

So you’ve decided to take the plunge (not literally, we hope), and head to the fluffy white mountains of Banff or the alps for a skiing holiday, but have absolutely no idea what you need to take with you to survive enjoy your trip. Fear not, we’ve compiled the ultimate beginner ski gear guide...so you don’t look like THAT kid who forgot to pack their underwear for after swimming class. 

Be sure to read to the bottom of our post as the last essential on our list is one of the most important, but rarely mentioned.

“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”

Dave Barry

via GIPHY

More awesome skiing info -

11 skiing essentials for beginners

1. Skiing Lip Balm & Sunscreen

Chapped lips while skiing is real. Like, we don’t care how big, hairy or brave you might be, chapped lips will get you and they SUCK, big time. That bitter mountain air mixed with harsh wind and direct sun requires a chapstick that’s a little more robust than your average drugstore lip balm. Lip balm suitable for skiing requires not only a high SPF to protect from sunburn but also dedicated wind protection to protect from windburn. 

Just like chapped lips are real, serious sunburn while skiing is also super real. Many people think because it’s cold they can’t get sunburnt, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth. As such, taking sun cream on your skiing trip is as essential as your lip balm.

Best lip balm & face sunscreen for skiing

Best lip balm & sunscreen
Après Ski Balm
Best lip balm & face sunscreen for skiing
Protects and repairs your lips and face including your cheeks and ears.
Check current price on Amazon

Our favorite product to protect and repair against sun and wind is the Après Ski Balm.

What makes Après Ski Balm SO great is that it’s basically a face sunscreen and lip balm in one pack. It can be applied to your face and ears as well as your lips. So, not only will it save you from returning home with those unmistakable raccoon eyes, it will save you precious space in your suitcase too. Win-win.

2. Baselayers

Base layers are a must-have for any beginner skier. They might sound kinda boring or unnecessary but what base layers do is highly important for your comfort and enjoyment on your first ski trip. 

Most base layers don’t really provide thermal insulation as many people think, what they actually do is stay dry no matter how wet you get from sweat or from your clothing on top of the base layers getting wet. This means you naturally stay warmer as the layer touching your skin remains dry. This is obviously highly important when you’re exerting intense energy followed by rest in freezing temperatures. 

Good baselayers for skiing are usually made from merino wool. Merino wool is the perfect base layer material as it is soft, light, breathable and antibacterial. 

Best baselayers for skiing

We always recommend you purchase a long sleeve base layer and long john style leggings as a minimum. 

3. Ski mittens

Ski mittens are obviously essential if you want to come home with your fingers. You might be tempted to buy ski gloves but in the most polite way possible, DON’T. No glove can come close to the thermal insulation provided by mittens. We also recommend a pair of touch screen compatible glove liners to wear underneath the mittens in case you want to take off the mittens to use your phone or have a drink without exposing your hands to the bare cold.

Best ski mittens

Best ski mittens
Tough Outdoors Ski Mittens
Best ski mittens
Keep your fingers toasty in ski mittens that cater to ALL hand sizes - xs-xl.
Check current price on Amazon

Our favorite ski mittens are by Tough Outdoors - you won't have to worry about cold, numb fingers if you’re wearing these. They're cheap and come in sizes from xs-xl, so they are perfect for both men and women. 

If being warm is a big deal to you (like it is to us), then the warmest ski mittens you’ll find are a pair of rechargeable heated ski mittens, which are also made from sheep leather just to add that extra warmth.

4. Ski goggles

Ski goggles serve two primary uses:

  1. to protect your eyes from the wind and cold when traveling down the slopes at speed.
  2. to protect your eyes from the sun. 

It’s important to know that sunglasses are not adequate for protecting your eyes when skiing, and you shouldn’t compromise on this just because you probably already own a pair of sunglasses.

Best ski goggles

Best universal ski goggles
OutdoorMaster Ski Goggles
Best universal helmet capability ski goggles
Budget priced, suitable to be worn over eyeglasses/spectacles and have universal helmet compatibility.
Check current price on Amazon

OutdoorMaster offers some of the best ski goggles at a budget price. The OutdoorMaster OTG ski goggles, for instance, have universal ski helmet compatibility, 100% UV protection and anti-fog lenses for under $20. The absolute major feature of these, however, is that they are OTG (over-the-glasses) - allowing you to wear your glasses underneath the ski goggles if you need to wear prescription lens glasses. 

These ski goggles are also perfect if you have a small face as they are suitable for both adults and teens. 

5. Ski jacket

A good ski jacket needs to fulfill many duties besides keeping you warm and protecting you from the wind and snow. It must also allow enough room for you to be able to move freely whilst wearing extra layers underneath. Many generic snow/winter jackets are far too restrictive for intense physical activities such as skiing or when numerous under layers are worn underneath. As such, it’s important to pick a suitable and dedicated ski jacket for your trip.

Best ski jacket

Our favorite ski jackets are made by Columbia. The quality, durability, comfort, and value for money cannot be beaten in our eyes, despite being on the pricier side. The jacket will no doubt last you years, even with heavy use if you decide to go skiing on a regular basis. 

The best ski jacket for men is the Alpine Action by Columbia or if you're looking for a ski jacket under $100 then the men's Wantdo ski jacket is excellent.

Best ski jackets for men
Columbia Alpine Action Mountain Jacket
Best ski jacket for men
Loose fit, waterproof and breathable. Top choice ski jacket. Available in multiple colors.
Check current price on Amazon
Wantdo Ski Jacket
Best budget ski jacket for men
Under $100 and available in multiple colors.
Check current price on Amazon

The best ski jacket for women is the Alpine Action Omni-Heat by Columbia or if you're looking for a ski jacket under $100 then the women's Wantdo ski jacket is a fantastic choice.

Best ski jackets for women
Columbia Alpine Action Omni-Heat Ski Jacket
Best ski jacket for women
Loose fit, omni-heat technology, waterproof and breathable. Top choice ski jacket and available in multiple colors.
Check current price on Amazon
Wantdo Ski Jacket
Best budget ski jacket for women
Under $100 and available in multiple colors including black.
Check current price on Amazon

6. Ski pants

Ski pants mainly provide wind and water protection as opposed to warmth, though many these days do come with fleece lining to add an element of warmth to them. However, their main priority is to create a ‘shell’ over the top of your base layers. As such, it’s important that they are relatively stretchy and elastic to allow for easy movement while wearing under layers. Over recent years, ski pants have become a little more fashionable than they used to be, and you no longer need to wear those frumpy looking trousers that weigh you down.

Best ski pants for men

Best ski pants for men
Gash Hao Softshell Ski Pants
Best softshell ski pants for men
A pair of ski pants that don't make you look like a dork. Available in multiple colors.
Check current price on Amazon

Best ski pants for women

Best ski pants for women
Little Donkey Andy Softshell Ski Pants
Best softshell ski pants for women
An actual pair of stylish ski pants for women. Available in multiple colors.
Check current price on Amazon

7. Fleeces

A fleece is needed to provide an extra hit of thermal insulation over the top of your base layer and underneath your ski jacket. Our favorite brands for fleeces for skiing are by Columbia and North Face. They’re durable (think years), warm and comfy.

Best ski fleeces

The best men's fleeces for skiing are the Columbia Mountain Fleece or the North Face Canyonlands fleece.

The best women's fleece for skiing is the Columbia Benton Springs Fleece.

8. Ski socks

Ski socks, like mittens, are an essential part of enjoying your skiing trip. Your fingers and toes, being that they are extremities, means they get cold quicker and easier than other parts of your body. Ski socks need to keep your feet and toes warm but not make them sweat. For a week’s skiing trip we would recommend at least two pairs. The WEIERYA ski socks come in packs of two pairs and in multiple colors.

Or if you fancy something a bit funkier, Smartwool has a great range of stylish ski socks.

Stylish ski socks
Smartwool Old Man Winter Ski Socks
Stylish ski socks
Smartwool offer a wide variety of patterned ski socks to suit all tastes. If you're going for a week we'd recommend atleast two pairs. 
Check current price on Amazon

9. Neck Gaiter

Essential to keep the chill off your neck and chest. Whilst zipping up your ski jacket will give some protection from the wind and cold, a neck gaiter will ensure no wind can travel down your jacket when your skiing.

We recommend Turtle Necks Original neck gaiter or Carhartt’s neck gaiter as they’re both suitable for men, women, and kids.

10. Waterproof phone case

Kind of a self-explanatory entry, but one many forget about nonetheless. Being on the snow means your clothes get WET and having your phone in your pocket is likely not going to end well. So, if you want to take your phone out with you it’s best to purchase either a waterproof phone bag (universal fit and is usually cheap) or a designated waterproof phone case for your phone model, like this waterproof phone case for the iPhone 7/8

11. Altitude sickness treatment & prevention

This is one we’re surprised we haven’t seen mentioned on any other list of essentials for skiing. Especially for beginners who may not have experienced high altitudes before and as such may not even be aware that altitude sickness is a thing. Altitude sickness can be debilitating and ruin your whole skiing experience if you don’t have anything to help prevent or curb the symptoms. 

Best altitude aid
Acli-mate Mountain sports drink
Best altitude aid
A necessity for any beginner skiier. Prevents and treats altitude sickness. It's vegan and gluten and nut free. Available in a range of flavors. 
Check current price on Amazon

We recommend taking a medicine such as Acli-Mate altitude and energy aid to prevent altitude sickness if you’re resort has a base area above 5000 feet. You need to start drinking it three days before arriving at your destination to avoid feeling any form of acute mountain sickness from day one of your trip, and then 3 times daily whilst on your trip to keep it at bay.

Acli-Mate is our favorite brand and has never failed to treat or prevent altitude sickness for us. It’s also vegan, gluten and nut-free.

And that's the end of our list of 11 skiing essentials for beginners. Not too bad, right?

Is there anything you think we've missed that you can't go skiing without?

Let us know in the comments below!

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