gearAs a Southerner recently transplanted to Denver, I was a little sticker shocked by all of the gear that we needed.  We had to buy heavier coats, gloves and hats.  Boots for the snow and wool socks were also on the checklist.  Even though it got cold in Northwest Florida, we didn’t really have the gear necessary to get through a winter in Denver.  When we were invited to visit Copper Mountain, we were thrilled but before we headed into the mountains for our first ski trip, we had to add some other items to the list.  What did we actually use?  What were we missing?  We learned a lot during this trip about the gear that we thought was necessary for us as first time skiers.

What Comes with My Ski Rental?

A rental package typically includes skis or a snowboard, boots, and poles.  You can also rent a helmet, which is advised.  Don’t worry; you won’t be the only one out there with a helmet.  Rentals typically start around $35 a day and go up from there depending on what type of package you are renting.

What Should I Buy Before My Trip?

We found that the key to being comfortable on the mountain was to layer our clothing.  During the morning of the ski lesson, I was glad that I was wearing base layers, a warm shirt, snow pants and my jacket.  It was very cold just standing and listening to the instructor.  Once we started moving around and practicing on skis, we warmed up.  By the time we had been skiing around for a few hours and had been in the warm sun, it was hot! 

Base Layers – Purchase some sort of base layers.  We each had a pair of thermal underwear (both pants and a shirt) to wear.  If I decide to take up skiing, I think I will invest in some wicking base layers.  By the end of the day, I was so warm that I was sweating through the thermals.

Ski Jacket – Invest in a ski jacket that you can wear again.  My ski jacket is nothing fancy but it is a Columbia jacket made for snow sports.  It is a little bit light in weight so it wasn’t uncomfortable on the slopes.  I bought my jacket for half the original price on Overstock. 

Warm Gloves – Ski gloves that are comfortable and allow you to hold on to your ski poles are a must.  We bought our gloves at Costco for less than $15 each. 

Waterproof Boots – You don’t necessarily need to invest in a pair of snow boots, but a pair of waterproof boots will keep you comfortable throughout the day.  You will be walking through ice and snow from dinner to your room.  Waterproof boots will be good to have if you are going tubing as well.  I wore a pair of water proof hiking boots.  They worked well enough but I think I will be buying a pair of snow boots soon.  Both of my children wore snow boots and didn’t complain once about cold feet.

Snow Pants – Snow pants are just as important as the jacket.  They don’t have to be expensive but you will want to purchase a pair so that you stay dry.  We purchased much of the children’s gear at Target and Walmart.

Neck Gaiter – This is a piece of fabric that looks like someone cut off the top of a turtle neck.  We only had two left over from my husband’s snowboarding days and we let the kids wear them.  By the time we were done with our hour of tubing, I really wished that each family member had one.  I wore one during our ski lesson, but by the end of the day I was ready to put it in my pocket because it had gotten so warm outside.

Hat – Purchase a ski hat that is comfortable for you.  Be sure to keep your hat on when you try on your helmet or you might not get a helmet big enough.

Balaclava – This mask type garment covers the whole head and neck leaving at least the eyes exposed.  We do not own any but I think they would have kept us warm during our windy day.   

Ski Goggles – You can wear sunglasses on the mountain but goggles are a good option for beginners.  Goggles range in price but you can pick up a pair for $10-15 dollars.

Warm Socks – If you don’t own any warm socks, invest in at least one pair (though you will want more!) of good wool socks.  We love the merino wool socks and we wore them every day of our trip. 

Where do I buy all of this gear?

If you don’t live in a snowy area or near the mountains, this gear might be difficult to come by.  Check your local stores to see what is available.  If you don’t have any luck, head to the Internet.  If you are making your trip early in the season, you can run to the store when you arrive in your destination but know that supplies might be scarce.  Unfortunately, I have already seen many of the ski pants and jackets already marked down to clearance prices and it is only January 7. 

If you forgot something, you can always pick it up at the mountain resort.  Copper Mountain has a number of shops around the three villages that sell all sorts of ski and snowboard gear.

*Thank you to Copper Mountain for hosting our stay.  All opinions are mine.