Ski Basics

I’m skiing right now in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This is my only ski trip of the year, unfortunately. I wish I could have gotten up to Vermont a few times this winter, but you know… life got in the way. My weekends have been pretty eaten up by exciting life stuff so I think skipping skiing will be worth it in the end.

You might remember that I only learned how to ski a few years ago. It’s become one of my absolute favorite things to do. I don’t necessarily go out there looking to ski the hardest trails, but there is just something so wonderful about skiing down a gorgeous mountain. I love the landscape. I love cozying up in a lodge after a long day. I REALLY love peeling off my boots at the end of the day. I love constantly improving and building confidence. It’s a great sport.

Patagonia Primo

A rainbow of Patagonia primos

Ski Outfit

But if you’re new to it, it can feel pretty intimating. The gear alone is overwhelming and, having been there before, having the wrong gear can make or break a trip. When you’re on the mountain, you want to be comfortable. Whether it’s protecting your eyes from wind, your nose from the sun, or your hands from the cold… you’re going to want to be prepared.

Even though it’s March and winter is nearly over (!!!), this is actually a really good time to stock up on ski gear as many places are having end of season sales. If you’re in NYC, swing by Paragon Sports in Union Square for the BEST customer service and to take advantage of the sale they’re having now. I popped in there this week to find another pair of ski pants and couldn’t resist the sale, ending up with a new pair of pants and a new jacket. You can call around to your local sporting goods/ski place to see if they’re having any sales too.

Anyway, I had a few questions about what stuff I recommend. Let me just preface this by saying: I’m not an expert and I have not been skiing that long. But I have found things that work for me– both through trial and error. Almost all of my gear was bought through Rue La La. Every few weeks in the winter they have a ski/snowboarding sale. Definitely sign up for their emails so you don’t miss their next one. And Backcountry is also a great place to buy online– you can chat with their experts in a live chat to ask any questions about gear too. (They’re having a sale right now too.)

This is an old collage I did for a post a few years ago, but I’m bringing it back because it’s still what I wear. I’m updating links though with items that are currently available and I’ll add some notes.

Gloves or Mittens // I have a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens that I rotate between depending on the temperature. Mittens are significantly warmer and can actually make my hands too hot, so I typically wear those when it’s super cold. I actually had to buy my mittens when I was skiing in Mont Tremblant because it was -12 degrees at the base of the mountain.

Neck Gaiter // Okay, I have mixed feelings on a gaiter– it’s like a removable turtleneck that you can roll up or down. Ultimately, I think they’re necessary. I usually put one on (unless it’s a truly warm day) and roll it down so it’s not so high up on my neck. When it’s really cold, there’s nothing better than pulling that gaiter up right over your nose and fully protecting your face from the wind/snow/cold. However, I have been known to get a little panicky at times when skiing– lol– and the first thing that I do is pull that gaiter off so I can feel a little less catastrophic. Look for one that’s easily washable…. mine gets disgusting throughout skiing because inevitably my nose runs constantly.

Goggles // Goggles are going to be a pretty personal choice. There are a ton of styles available and you’ll want to find one that fits comfortably over your helmet and aligns well with your head. Look for a good seal to prevent the lenses from fogging up.

Helmet // It blows my mind that people ski without helmets. No thank you! I’d rather protect my noggin while flying down a mountain surrounded by other people and trees. It also helps keep my head pretty warm too. So win/win!

Base Layers // I have both Sweaty Betty base layers and Hot Chillys. Even on cold days, I sweat from the exertion, so I just swap out my base layers in between days like I would underwear.

Fleece // Layering is key, especially if you’re experiencing an “in between” weather day. Even on warm days though, I at least bring a zip up fleece. I’ll bring a pullover or a zip up to wear under my jacket and over my base layer.

Jacket // I invested in this jacket a few years ago and LOVE IT. My friend had a discount code for Patagonia and I placed an order through her so I got it for a great price, but it’s worth it full price. It’s insanely warm. Like, skiing Negative-12-Degrees-Mont-Tremblant with no problems warm. Without being bulky.

Pants // I’ve had the same pants for a while and they get the job done. One mistake that I made was buying them without trying them on with my base layers. You’ll want to know what they feel like on, fully geared up. And do a few squat tests to make sure you have full mobility!!

Transpack // This bag is the best for storing boots, helmet, and the rest of your gear. When I get back from a trip, I immediately wash everything and then put it right back into the bag. That way, it’s always ready to go when a trip pops up… and I don’t have to go through a million places to find everything I need.

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I hope you’re having a wonderful time skiing! I can’t believe people would ski without helmets either, it just seems silly to me. I like wearing a snood too, as I find I can always roll it down if I get too warm.

Snippets of Emily’s Life xx


Love the idea of storing all your gear together. Mine is stashed all over the house !