If you’re new to the mountains, or cold weather in general, we’ve got you covered! Below is a guide to help you prepare and pack for your mountain getaway this winter.
Before you even pull out your suitcase, there are a few things you can do to start prepping for your high-altitude mountain adventure.
Fight dehydration, which is common when traveling to high altitudes, and start drinking plenty of water before you even leave your house! Then, on your travels, keep sipping, as hydration is key to a great mountain trip.
Get Some Sleep
Make sure you get plenty of rest so you can have *that* much more fun when you arrive! Try setting a specific “bedtime,” where you’re in bed resting without distractions like your cell phone or your favorite Netflix show.
At altitude you need extra calories, so pack some healthy snacks for the road or airport.
Leading up to your trip, limit your alcohol intake to help you stay hydrated– and once you arrive, if you feel any altitude effects, wait before ordering an adult beverage. (You can also always ask for non-alcoholic cocktails, or Athletic Brewing for a NA beer option around the base and on-mountain!)
If you’re not from a particularly cold and snowy area, the thought of packing the “right” clothes can be daunting. Check out our guide to dressing for the mountains so you can be prepared for whatever adventure you embark upon at Winter Park. Also, try making it fun! If you don’t have any warm-weather clothes, find them at the base!
The base layer is an important part to a warm outfit. Base layers wick away moisture, meaning they move moisture away from your skin to the top layer of the fabric, keeping your warmer for those chair lift rides! Base layers come in a variety of materials including:
- Synthetics: Can include polyester, nylon or polypropylene, synthetics are exceptionally dry and durable.
- Pros: Wick sweat more efficiently than wool
- Cons: Can become smelly quickly
- Merino Wool: This ultra-soft natural material has excellent wicking properties and is moderately durable. Check out Smartwool for great merino base layer options.
- Pros: softer, odor-fighting, high warmth-to-weight ration
- Cons: harder to clean, degrades faster, more expensive
Pro Tip: avoid cotton garments as the material has minimal insulation and doesn’t dry easily! The North Face Poly Crew is at the top for base layers in the industry.
This layer gives you that extra bit of warmth on those chilly days to keep you going. It’s the cozy layer that retains body heat. Stop by the Burton store or West Portal Outfitters for a variety of apparel options and get the best gear to venture out!
Pro Tip: When choosing a mid layer, select an option that you can remove if you get too warm.
Your outer layer is your defense against the elements. This layer should be a water and/or windproof shell jacket. Outerwear waterproofing is rated on a scale of 0-20,000. If you want to stay dry in wet conditions, aim to wear a shell rated 10,000 and higher.
Pro Tip: Check out The North Face FUTURELIGHT if you’re looking for a high-performance shell!
Hands, Feet, and Head
Your hands, feet, and head are typically the first things to get cold while experiencing the harsh environment.
For your hands, the best practice is to wear glove liners, with a pair of waterproof gloves or mittens over them. Glove liners provide insulations just like the base layer on your body.
Warm socks made from wool or an insulated synthetic will protect your piggy’s. Make sure the socks you choose are thin enough to comfortably fit inside your ski or snowboard boots if you plan on shredding! Smartwool makes excellent socks for winter weather so stop by West Portal Outfitters and pick up a pair or two to keep those toes toasty.
For your face, Phunkshun Wear makes incredible and sustainable face masks with anti-phreeze technology, making the mask less likely to freeze due to water saturation and keeping your cheeks warm all day long.
Finally, for the top of the noggin, wear a beanie or other warm hat for additional insulation. If skiing or snowboarding, it’s always smart to wear a helmet for extra protection and additional warmth. Helmets are provided with all rentals. (If you want to buy your own, we recommend the Maze or Liberty from Smith.)
Pro Tip: Keep an extra pair of gloves and an extra beanie or face cover handy on snowy days. You’ll be happy to change into warm, dry gear.
This one may seem obvious, but make sure to pack your skis, poles, helmet, snowboard, ski boots and snowboard boots. It’ll be hard to slide down the mountain without any of these! If you don’t have them though, don’t worry– you can always rent your skis, boards, and more right next to the Gondola at Zero Creek Gear House. (Helmets are included with rentals, and are highly recommended, so take advantage!) If you’re trying to travel light, just plan ahead and reserve gear now. You’ll benefit from free overnight gear storage right at the base in addition to gear swaps if you need ’em. (You can also try Ski Butlers if you want your gear brought straight to your slopeside lodging!)
Pro Tip: Looking for other packing tips for your ski trip? Check out 5 of our favorite ways to pack light for your ski trip.
While most of your body will be covered in ski gear and won’t need sunscreen, your face will be exposed to the elements. With the sun reflecting off the snow, you’ll probably score a pretty sick goggle tan. If you don’t want that cute and admirable goggle tan to turn into a painful red mask of shame, just trust us. Wear sunscreen.
Having a pair of waterproof shoes will save your life on the mountain. Packing a sturdy pair of shoes meant for extreme conditions will keep your toes nice and warm, and give you the ability to walk around all day without even noticing the cold! Also aim for shoes with good tread–rubber soles with gripping grooves will keep you on the right track. For a great selection of boots right in the Village, head to The North Face store.
Packing always seems a lot harder when you don’t know what to expect. With this guide, you’ll pack like a pro. The most important thing to remember when packing for a ski trip is to have fun! Don’t stress what you bring. If you forget something, you’re sure to find it at Winter Park. In fact, if you don’t want to bring anything with you, you can buy everything you need here! Our friendly and helpful mountain staff will be able to point you in the right direction and help you have a memorable and toasty ski vacation.
Need help getting the ball rolling on trip planning? Check out our current deals and packages here.
PS: Looking for our summer packing guide? Check it out here!