I’ve been skiing for 16 years – here are the 8 essentials I’d recommend for any beginner


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As a new and beginning skier, you’re going to fall. A lot.

That’s why you need a quality helmet. You could spend as little as you want on everything else in this packing list, but you’re going to fall more than you can imagine as a beginner, so a properly fitted helmet is imperative.

They’re not the cheapest ones on the market, but Smith’s snow helmets are super lightweight and have a low profile, making them great for beginners who aren’t yet accustomed to wearing helmets.

This one also has MIPS protection, a system designed to help protect your head from smashing directly into the side of the helmet. You probably aren’t ready for steep runs, back bowls, and moguls just yet, but you should wear a helmet even on green runs.

It’s difficult (and painful) to ski without goggles, especially if it’s a snowy or windy day, but this essential is often underestimated.

Goggles obviously protect your eyes so you can see when you’re going down the mountain, but they should also help block out harmful UV rays without fogging up. A lot of rental goggles are don’t fit well and you run the risk of them fogging up, which can affect your vision.

These Scott Faze II Goggles feature rounded lenses for increased visibility and anti-fog treatment for clear vision. The goggles have double-layered foam for a secure and comfortable fit and a strip of silicone along the back strap to help prevent it from slipping off your helmet.

I’m going to caveat this one by saying that I’ve never worn dedicated base layers when skiing, and my current base layer outfit is nothing more than leggings and a thin long-sleeve shirt. If it’s really cold, I’ll throw on a Norwegian wool sweater.

That being said, I’d still suggest them for beginner skiers because temperatures are often unpredictable and even falling can make you sweat up a storm, so thin layers will come in handy. These midweight shirts and pants from Smartwool are made with merino wool and easy to layer underneath jackets and ski pants.

Unless you want to ski wet and half-frozen, a great pair of water-resistant snow pants are absolutely necessary. These Arctix snow pants are best sellers on Amazon, and are our top pick as the best snow pants because they’re affordable, keep you dry, and are rated to keep you cozy even when temperatures drop down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check out all of our picks for the best men’s, women’s, and kid’s snow pants here.

This jacket has two parts – an outer shell with pockets and a hood, and a puffy goose-filled liner that can be removed.

The fabric of the outer shell is waterproof and 100% windproof, which is great for pizza-ing down the side of a mountain. Every possible opening from the pockets to the hood is fully adjustable and can be tightened for added protection against the elements.

Burton’s Gore-Tex Under Gloves will keep your hands dry and warm no matter what season you’re skiing. These gloves have removable fleece liners for breathability during the spring, or you can keep them on for extra warmth during winter.

The gloves also have synthetic leather that makes it possible to access your phone’s screen so you can take pictures without having to take off your gloves.

For years, Smartwool has been my favorite brand for ski socks.

These PhD Pro Freeski socks are high enough to cover your shins, making them perfect for ski boots. They also have light cushioning for comfort and mesh panels for breathability. These socks aren’t the thickest, so if you’re renting boots that feel a little too big, you may want to double up on these.

You don’t want a big, heavy scarf that’ll get in your face as you’re skiing, or worse, become loose. A neck warmer will get the job done without adding bulk or unraveling halfway down the mountain.

Turtle Fur makes the original fleece neck warmer, and I’ve personally accumulated multiple throughout the years. These are super soft and keep your neck warm on the coldest days.

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