What to Pack for Your Skiing Adventures in Europe

Europe is the birthplace of both Nordic skiing and Alpine skiing, so a winter skiing adventure in Europe promises to be the vacation of a lifetime. Whether you’re a newbie skier on your first skiing adventure or an experienced veteran preparing for your tenth, it is important to pack the right things. You must take everything needed to enjoy your skiing adventure and also to stay healthy and safe.

Write a list

To ensure you take everything you need, make a list. Write down the following 7 headings and use them to focus your thoughts when planning.

  • Vital items
  • Ski equipment
  • Other equipment
  • Specialist ski clothing
  • Other clothing
  • Toiletries
  • General vacation essential

Vital items

The most important items on your list reflect you and the winter sports adventures you plan. For example, more adventurous skiers may plan to explore remote areas and back-country trails on a cross-country skiing adventure. In that case, a mobile GPS unit with built-in maps is vital to safely find your way around.

In an emergency, a first aid kit may come in handy. When things get serious, you’ll be happy you packed a locator beacon. If you have a medical condition, it is vital that you pack any medication you require. An EpiPen could save your life if you have allergies and suffer an anaphylactic shock.

Ski equipment

Skiing equipment can be expensive. If this is your first skiing adventure, it is a good idea to hire the ski gear you need from your ski resort. Once you have skiing experience, you’ll be better able to choose the right skiing equipment for the kind of skiing you want to enjoy. You can also hire equipment from REI, so take a look at the different options they offer to get everything that you might need. The exception to hiring equipment is ski goggles. Because they touch your face, it is better to buy your own.

If you decide skiing is something you want to spend a significant amount of time doing, you will want to buy your own ski helmet, ski poles, ski boots, and skis. Ski helmets are designed to keep your head warm, be comfortable, be compatible with ski goggles, and protect you in the event of an accident. You will also need a ski bag to carry your equipment around.

For longer cross-country skiing adventures, you can use a pulk to help transport your camping equipment, spare clothes, food, and other necessities. A pulk is a small sled that a skier pulls behind them. If you want to bring the whole family along, you can even purchase a baby pulk.

Other equipment

Skiing isn’t the only activity you might get up to at your ski resort. If you go hiking or snowshoeing in the forests, you’ll need a wildlife camera to record your sightings. For filming on the go, consider investing in a GoPro that you can use on and off the slopes. Other winter sports may appeal to you, so consider packing ice skates, a snowboard, and snowshoes. On long-distance cross-country skiing adventures, you’ll need a portable stove, a tent, and other survival essentials.   

Specialist ski clothing

It is important to stay warm when skiing, and that is why there are special clothes designed for this purpose. However, the top-brand ski jackets and ski pants are expensive. Here are some tips on staying warm on the slopes.

If it’s your first skiing vacation, it’s not a good idea to spend a lot of money on specialist clothing. Instead, you can hire them from your ski resort. Alternatively, search around for a more affordable jacket that can double for use when sightseeing or hiking. This also saves room in your suitcase.

When skiing, a neck warmer (gaiter) will plug that gap between your helmet and ski jacket. Ski socks will keep your feet warm inside your ski boots. Ski gloves or ski mittens are essential to protect your hands from frostbite. Glove liners offer a little extra protection.

Beneath your ski jacket, you’ll need to wear plenty of layers. These should include a mid-layer and a base-layer, including thermal underwear. Consider clothes with chemical or electrical heating systems to help keep you warm without too many bulky layers.  

Other clothing

Although you’re going to Europe to ski, you’ll probably enjoy other interesting activities as well. For any cultural events you attend, you may need a formal suit or dress. When sightseeing, you’ll need boots and sunglasses to cut down the glare off the snow. Inside your warm chalet, you may feel more comfortable wearing a T-shirt.


While on a skiing vacation, your skin is sometimes exposed to freezing temperatures and sometimes to warm indoor temperatures. You’re also exposed to glaring sunlight and strong winds. All these can damage your skin, so you’ll need skin moisturizer, lip balm, and sunscreen.

If you’re traveling with your kids, baby wipes will come in handy. Hair ties are good for securing your hair when you squeeze into your skiing helmet. Band-aids from your first aid kit are ideal for treating blisters gained while skiing or hiking.

It’s likely you’ll be able to purchase all the toiletries you need from your ski resort store. However, if you suffer from allergies or intolerances, you should pack your favorite toiletry brands to avoid any nasty surprises.

General vacation essentials

When you fly over to Europe, you’ll need your passport. For hiring vehicles, you must produce your driver’s license and international driving permit. And don’t forget your travel documents and bank cards.

Hopefully, you’ll survive the ski slopes without any serious mishaps. However, it’s a good idea to protect yourself and your family by taking out travel insurance that covers you for skiing. When you go, ensure you pack your insurance documents in case you need them on your vacation.

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