What Are the Overlooked Necessities You Need on the Slope?

Aside from the basics, there are a few other things to bring along on for a day of skiing or snowboarding that will make your life a bit easier. Check them out below!

A skier stands on a peak and gazes off into the distance. They hold their poles in their hand, their skis over their shoulder, and wear a ski backpack.

Photo by Hendrik Morkel

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Packing for your next ski trip is easy. Just make sure you’ve got the necessities: your skis/snowboard, boots, snow pants, jacket, mittens or gloves, and a helmet. Check, check, and check. So long as you remember all that, you’re good to go, right?

Well, yes…and no.

While you can definitely get by with just those fundamental pieces of gear, most experienced skiers and snowboarders tend to carry quite a few other items that improve their day on the slopes. Why just have good cruisin’ when you can have gravity-defying tabletops, too?

Over the past 10 years of snowboarding, I’ve compiled my own list of trip necessities, which I will share with you today. Not every single one of these items is absolutely crucial, but I have found carrying most of these leads to a smoother and more enjoyable day.

1. Extra Socks

This one is mainly for my snowboarders, as snowboard boots tend to be less waterproof than ski boots. An extra pair of dry socks will come in clutch after a long day of riding and feel wonderful to put on after taking off your soaking boots. These are especially crucial on rainy or slushy days as these are the days you get soaked the most. Extra socks can also be helpful on super cold days if one pair isn’t enough to keep your toes warm. I’ve even seen people double up on socks if they have an ill-fitting boot that they want to make tighter. Versatile, lightweight, and an absolute must on your next trip!

2. Extra Gloves/Mittens

A pair of mittens sitting in the snow.

Photo by Curated Expert Kael Van Buskirk

You should have seen this one coming after the extra socks because wet hands are the only thing worse than wet feet! Having an extra pair of gloves or mittens to switch into midday can be a game-changer if your original set is absolutely soaked. Additionally, you could get creative and bring an extra set of gloves/mittens that aren’t the same temperature rating as your original pair. This way, you never have to worry about your hands being too cold or hot because you can always switch out to your other pair! If nothing else, it’s nice to have an extra pair just in case someone forgets theirs. I've seen it happen more than once, and you’ll be that person’s hero if you have an extra pair to loan them!

3. Sunscreen

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Mineral sunscreen.

This rub-on sunscreen was the best $1 I’ve ever spent at Walmart! Photo by Gaelen Mast

This is one of those necessities I learned I should carry the hard way, so hopefully, I can save you the trouble and the sunburn. Having sunscreen is crucial on sunny days, especially if you aren’t planning on wearing a face mask or balaclava. Snow actually magnifies the UV rays from the sun, which makes it incredibly easy to get sunburnt while skiing if you’re not careful. This scenario most commonly happens on warm spring days in March and April when most of your skin hasn’t experienced much sunlight for the last several months. Grab that sunscreen, and lather up!

4. Chapstick

There are three main things that cause chapped lips: cold air, wind exposure, and lack of humidity. In the winter, all three factors come together, and you’d better believe your lips are in danger! Chapped lips can range from a slight annoyance to downright painful and bloody if they get bad enough. (You might champion everything else, but chapped lips will win–every time.) Chapstick is such an easy and small item to pack that it only makes sense to bring some with you to the mountain. Bonus points if you get a type with SPF in it, as that can help minimize the risk of getting sunburnt on your lips.

5. Quick Wax

Swix f4 wax sitting on a table.

This all-purpose paste wax has kept me sliding on snow for years! Photo by Gaelen Mast

We all find ourselves in sticky situations from time to time, and sometimes that sticky situation can be the snow. Snow conditions are constantly changing, and on particularly warm or wet days, the snow just isn’t going to be as fast. On some occasions, this is just a minor inconvenience, yet other times, it’s a major issue, and you can’t ski/ride anything except the steepest trails without getting stuck! Having some quick wax on hand to put on your skis or snowboard at the start of the day can be a life saver! Keep an eye on the weather. If it looks like a slow day, take the 5-10 minutes it requires to throw some on, and then you’re good to go!

For more on at-home waxing, check out these ski instructions and these snowboard instructions.

6. Tissues or Snot Rag

While you may not like to think about this now, snotty noses on the mountain will happen. Anyone who's ever been exposed to the cold for more than a few minutes can confirm that it’s a sure way to get a runny nose, so it’s bound to happen at some point while out skiing. Keeping some tissues or a dedicated rag to blow your nose with can save you from having to wipe your nose on your expensive new jacket!

7. Goggle Wipes

If you’re someone who regularly wears goggles, you probably already know the story. They’ll occasionally get dirty, wet, and fogged-up—or do something else that makes it nearly impossible to see them. Luckily, you can buy goggle wipes to clean them off in a pinch so you can get back to shredding. If you don’t want to shell out the money for goggle wipes, any microfiber cloth (microfiber specifically so you don’t scratch the lenses) will do the trick. Just don’t accidentally trick yourself and mix it up with your snot rag!

8. Pocket Screwdriver

A screw driver.

This baby screwdriver has saved me multiple times while out on the mountain! Photo by Gaelen Mast

Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your gear in good shape, but sometimes things happen. If you’re out on the hill and a screw starts coming loose, having a small screwdriver on you can quite possibly save the day. Most ski resorts will have tools you can borrow to tighten up your skis/snowboard, but those tools won’t help if something comes loose while you’re at the top of the mountain. My biggest piece of advice here is to get a mini-screwdriver, something small enough that you won’t be able to feel it while skiing with it tucked in your pocket.

9. Spare Goggle Lenses

This is another one for my goggle warriors out there: Bring bonus lenses for your goggles if possible! There are different lenses for different lighting/conditions, and if you bring the wrong option, it might be worse than not having goggles at all. If possible, at the very least, you should have some darker-tinted goggles for those bright days when the sun is nearly blinding as it reflects off the snow. Additionally, be kind to yourself with some low-light goggles in case it’s not bright out but is actively raining or snowing because being blinded out on the slopes is never fun.

10. Snacks

Neither is not having the proper fuel. This may seem like an obvious necessity; after all, we all need to eat to power our activities. However, the type of snacks you bring is important! Ideally, you’re carrying foods high in protein that will give you a solid energy boost without having to overeat. The snacks should also be easy finger foods that don’t even require you to take your gloves off. This way, your snack can be consumed on the chairlift ride, won’t bog you down because it’s not a ton of food, and will keep you out on the hill longer! Some of my personal favorites are granola bars (preferably Cliff Bars) and meat sticks!

Get Prepared!

Hopefully, by now, you feel like you’ve got a good grasp on what you should bring on your next mountain trip! If there’s anything on this list that you don’t have, chances are you can get it at Curated. Even better, if you have questions about which listed items to get, you don’t even have to find them yourself because, at Curated, you can connect with a Winter Sports Expert who can give you personalized recommendations in minutes. All for free!

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Written By
Heya! my name is Gaelen and I've been snowboarding for longer than I haven't! I was practically raised by the mountain resort industry, my mother and father were both full-time "snowboard bums" when I was young and so I've been around ski resorts since I was a kid! As soon as I was legally able to w...

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