Be Prepared: Things Skiers Need on the Mountain

By Ailsa Ross May 09, 2020
(Credit: Mountain Cubs/Shutterstock)

You’ve clicked into your skis. Your base layers are on. But what else do skiers need for the perfect day on the slopes? Your ski gear is just the beginning. From reusable hand warmers to snacks, here are the things skiers need to carry with them when they’re on the slopes.


One of the immutable rules of the skiing universe is that the larger the group you go out with, the more likely you are to find yourself waiting at the wrong lift for your friends. That’s why skiers need to carry a phone. Having a phone – and the number of someone who’s reliable at checking their messages – can mean the difference between waiting around, frustrated in the cold, and re-joining your friends on the gondola.


To prevent those pangs of hunger that can quickly turn to hanger, it’s good to have snacks. Some skiers carry protein bars, nuts and dried fruit, or chocolate bars. Other skiers – those who read about a certain 2019 Journal of Applied Psychology study stating potatoes are the new energy gel – fill their pockets with boiled new potatoes. Really.

Skiers need to bring hand warmers to promote comfort during an all-day skiing session (Credit: lightwavemedia/Shutterstock)

Hand warmers

On a cold day, those liquid pouches that heat up in an instant when you click them can feel so good. But, like most disposable things, they’re not sustainable. If you find that your fingers tend to become painfully cold while you’re outside, consider trying glove liners.

Frequent skiers need reusable hand warmers. Some run on lithium ion batteries (so you’re basically wearing tiny Teslas!). They might be microwaveable and filled with eco-friendly buckwheat husks. Both options work.

Rollable water bottle

Skiing can be thirsty work, but having a hard water bottle on your body while you’re doing a pursuit that often ends in falling down is a bad idea. Enter rollable water bottles by brands like Platypus and Vapur. Roll them up and keep them in your pocket until you need them

Avalanche equipment

If you’re sticking to groomed runs, you won’t need avalanche equipment. But if conditions are good and you have the training to know exactly what you’re doing off piste, be sure to bring a transceiver, shovel and probe.

Among the things skiers need to carry with them on the slopes: a backup neck warmer (Credit: AnneMS/Shutterstock)

Second neck warmer

Breathing inside your neck warmer on a cold day can create a wall in the material around your mouth that feels both frozen, and somehow also wet. All in all, it’s not such a nice feeling. Swapping your neck warmer out at lunchtime for a fresh one is pretty much the ultimate tiny luxury.


Those sinuses can get, let’s say, excited, after a few hours of friluftsliv (that’s Norwegian for “fresh air life”). Tissues should be a jacket pocket mainstay.


Because the best ski days have to be those bluebird ski days when there’s lots of sun. On those outings, skiers need to apply lots of high-factor sunscreen. And to reapply at lunch! This advice applies doubly if it’s springtime. You’re more likely to have at least some of your cheeks and nose exposed on such warm days. Don’t forget lip balm with SPF either.

Skiers need a way to remember the day, whether it’s a photo or a memory recorded in a Rite in the Rain journal (Credit: Ivan Smuk/Shutterstock)

Something to help you remember the day

The light and the precise way it’s hitting the mountains can be so beautiful that you don’t ever want to forget it. Of course, to remember the moment you might just want to take a simple snap on your phone.

But if you want to get a little more creative while you’re riding the gondola, bring a Rite in the Rain journal and a pencil with you. Now you can distill your experience through a spontaneous drawing or a line of poetry.

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