For your first day on the slopes, you’re looking to strike a balance between the guy who shows up like he’s ready for an Apollo Mission and the one who shows up with his hands in the pockets of his jeans. You’re going to need some gear for your first time, but a lot the clothing can be put together from clothes that you already have.
The Golden Rule of Winter Sports – Layers
Skiers dress in layers for good reason. The point is for each layer (base, mid, and outer) to perform a separate function. Your base layer wicks away moisture, the mid traps body heat, and the outer layer keeps off the rain wind and snow.
Your base layer fits snuggly. Wool or synthetics are a good choice for socks, long sleeve tops, and leggings. Fleece, wool, or down work for a mid-layer that keeps your arms, legs, and torso warm. Your outer layer needs to be waterproof and fit loose enough that you can move freely.
To start off, here’s a laundry list of everything you’ll need. Some of the must-haves include:
- Socks: If you’re not looking to rent or buy, you’re going to want a pair of well-fitting, tall socks. Wool is a great choice. Shorter socks are going to be a massive pain as they bunch up in your boots.
- Pants: First-timers may spend time on their butts in the snow, so your choice of pants will make the difference between comfy-and-cozy or soggy-bottomed-and-cold. You need a pair of pants that are flexible enough to move in and provide insulation and waterproofing in order to make the most of your day on the slopes.
- Jacket: Comfort is a recurring theme on your list of ski gear, and the jacket falls under that umbrella. Waterproof and roomy is the best choice. Your choice of jacket will determine whether or not you need a mid-layer or if it provides enough insulation on its own.
- Gloves: Ski gloves are a must. Your hands are going to be in the cold and snow. Sopping wet mittens will make you utterly miserable, so make sure to bring a pair of warm, waterproof ones or hit the shop for a good pair if it’s time for an upgrade.
- Helmet: Even if you’re a pro, you want to protect that grey matter. Always wear a helmet, especially if you’re just learning.
- Goggles: The combination of elevation, temperature, speed, and snow can make it a challenge to see what’s going on without a pair of goggles. If you’ve never skied before, you may want to borrow some or grab a pair from MTNside Ski & Ride when you get here.
- Sunscreen: Believe it or not, UV rays are more intense at high elevation and are amplified by the snow. When you’re headed back from vacation, sunscreen will make the difference between the look of a subtle ski tan and a lobster fresh off the slopes.
Once you figure out what you already have and what you need to pick up from the shop, you’re just a few steps away from the slopes. The only other thing to pack for your trip is a bit of resilience and the expectation of some fun.