What I Keep in My Ski Bag for a Day on the Slopes

Ski Expert Robbie M. breaks down the contents of his boot bag, day pack, and ski bag, sharing all of his essential gear for a full day of skiing.

Photo by Robbie M.

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Whether I’m skiing steeps in Big Sky, Montana, making a day trip to Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota, or Friday night skiing with friends at Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wisconsin, I double- and triple-check that I have the right gear. Besides my avy gear (which hopefully will never be needed when skiing in the Midwest), my gear and bag packing remains the same for every day on the slopes. Check out what I bring when I get out and shred!

Boot Bag

A more zoomed-in image of the author's snow pants, helmet, shovel, skis, goggles, gloves, buff, boot bag, and ski bag laying on asphalt.

Photo by Robbie M.

Lange XT3 130 Boots

I bought these boots last season and have had a great few days on them. I was looking for a stiffer and better-fitting boot with GripWalk soles and a walk mode, and after trying these on at a local ski shop, I knew I needed them on my feet. Check out my review of them!

Pret Cynic X Helmet

Another new purchase last season, the Cynic X was a welcome upgrade from my five-year-old helmet. MIPS technology, a low profile fit, and great goggle compatibility were some of the reasons I picked this helmet. I wrote another review of it here!

Oakley Airbrake XL Goggles

With a large field of view and a super easy lens change, thanks to the Switchlock technology, these goggles have been good to me for a few years. I’ve used them from bluebird spring skiing days to massive pow dump days out West and have never wished I had another pair of goggles on my face. You can tell I like these because I wrote another review for them here!

Gore-Tex Pants

Snow pants are a must when skiing, and if you can afford it, any sort of waterproofing on them is life-changing. I got some Gore-tex snow pants like these a few seasons ago and it makes all the difference on the warmer days!

Leather Mittens or Synthetic Gloves

I always carry two sets of mittens or gloves depending on weather conditions. In Minnesota where winter skiing routinely involves single-digit temperatures, leather mittens (sometimes with hand warmers) are a must-have if you want to keep your fingers warm. When I ski out West, I find that my hands are much warmer (due to higher temps and increased altitude; less air means that it takes you longer to get cold), and I use a pair of synthetic ski gloves I picked up at Costco.

Other Essential Accessories

  • Gaiter/Buff: A neck gaiter or buff is a must-have for several reasons. I use mine as a do-rag of sorts when the weather isn’t too cold, but I have also found them incredibly helpful when it’s snowing outside. Turns out snow (which is really small ice chunks) doesn’t feel great when you’re blasting groomers...pull up the gaiter and your face is well protected from the snow and cold.
  • Cold Weather Cap: Living in Minnesota, I’ve skied some very cold days (some with a high of -12F)! I’ve found that a breathable cap with ear covers goes a long way under your helmet to help keep you warm. Keeping your head warm will help you feel surprisingly warm in the rest of your body.

Dakine Day Pack

An even more zoomed-in image of the author's Dakine day pack with a water bladder, gummy bears, his diameter meter, and gloves all laying on asphalt.

Photo by Robbie M.

I love my Dakine 12L Heli Pack for when I plan on skiing long days in the Midwest and especially when I’m packing for a full day out West. This pack fits all of my snacks, water, avy gear, and diabetes equipment comfortably while not being too bulky on chairlift rides.

Type 1 Diabetes Supplies

As a Type 1 Diabetic of 17 years, I’ve gotten very used to making sure I have all the things I need to manage my disease on the hill. For trips to local hills in Minnesota, I typically have a bag of gummy bears or multiple fruit snacks in my jacket pocket in the event of low blood sugar. For long day trips or trips out West, I carry my gummies along with a bottle of glucose tablets. Along with things to help me in the event of low blood sugars, I carry a blood glucose meter in the event my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor fail.

Snacks: Granola Bars/Protein Bars

Everyone gets hungry skiing, and there’s nothing worse than not having adequate food to keep you going. I typically buy whatever granola or protein bars are on sale, but my favorite is CLIF Zbars.

Lunch

When the skiing’s good, there’s no time to make a pit stop for lunch. I always pack a PB&J sandwich, clementines or another small fruit, and cookies in my pack to stay fueled. Packing a lunch has given me thousands of more feet of vert on pow days.

Water Bladder

As I’ve found out the hard way, it is very important to hydrate while skiing. For trips in Minnesota, I typically bring a Hydroflask and leave it in my car. However, when I’m out West, I throw a water bladder in my daypack with one or two liters of water to make sure I’m covered for the day. As my good buddy Alex always says, “Hydrate or Die-drate!”

Optional Avalanche Gear

I only bring avy gear (beacon, probe, and shovel) when I go out West. If it’s snowing really hard, even when skiing inbounds, I’ll still bring my beacon and turn it on in the rare event a slide were to occur.

Dakine Ski Bag

Ski and Binding Setups

Line Sakana and Look SPX 12: These skis are my go-to in the Midwest due to their carvability and tight turn radius. Despite being 105mm underfoot, the Line Sakanas handle Minnesota ice very well, out-carving some of my friends’ dedicated carving skis. They also do very well in the big mountains out West; the swallowtail (besides looking rad) helps aid in floatation through pow. Check out my review of these here!

Moment Wildcat 108 and Salomon STH 12: This setup is my go-to for big mountain high-speed skiing out West. The Moment Wildcat 108s are phenomenal skis for blasting through chop and crud and hold a solid edge on end-of-day groomers. My only gripe is there’s no speed limit on these bad boys...sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down when I’m bombing down the hill on edge. I really like my gear and sharing about it with others; yet another review here!

Basic Poles

I’m not a big believer in fancy poles; mine are the cheapest set I could find when I purchased them. Unless you’re touring or ski racing, for the most part, poles are poles!

If you’re looking for ideas on how to pack up for your next ski trip or if you’re in need of gear to pack, reach out to me or another Ski Expert here on Curated and we'd love to help get you squared away!

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Written By
Engineering Supervisor by day; ski-addict by night/weekend. Skiing has taken me to Canada, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and Utah, and all are places I'd rather be skiing than my current location in Minnesota (which, to be honest, isn't that bad...see Marcus Caston's Minnesota Return of the Turn episo...

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