Skiing Equipment List

skiing equipment list

Skiing Equipment

Skiing is a straightforward one man sport that anyone can get into no matter the amount of athletic experience you have. It is the hallmark of winter sports; with just a pair of skis and some warm clothes you can be ready to start shredding the snow in no time. Modern skiing has evolved from its humble Norwegian beginnings in the 19th century into the worldwide phenomenon which it’s become today. With its first Olympic debut in 1936, it has only continued to grow with competitive events focused on downhill and slalom skiing. Currently, competitive skiing is available at almost every mountain and many schools have their own teams which compete at alpine skiing events.


skiing accessories

There are many accessories that come with the sport of skiing. Skiers often use gloves or mittens to eliminate the risk for frostbite as these areas are the most vulnerable to the cold. There are now gloves which allow you to use your phone with them on, but what’s important is that they’re insulated to at least -20 Fahrenheit. This is to ensure the gloves are effective in any weather. Another way to stay warm on the mountain is by using a scarf to substitute a ski mask. This helps shield your neck from the wind gusts and keeps your body warm within the jacket. Lastly, doubling up on socks or wearing wool socks can help keep your boots tight and your feet warm. To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, it’s important to pair all of these together or parts of your body will still be exposed to the elements.


skiing backpack

Similar to hiking, a lightweight backpack can be a valuable asset while on the mountain. Although many ski coats and snow pants are covered in pockets, it is useful to have a backpack to safely carry your valuables and some survival gear. Some helpful items to carry in your backpack could be fresh water, some food, and your sunscreen. A high quality ski bag will cost anywhere from $75 to $200. A small medical kit can also be smart to bring in case of any small injuries on the mountain.

Base Layers

skiing base layers

Base layers are the first pieces of clothing that you throw on when you get ready for the ski day. These layers completely depend on your preference and also the weather. Certain people simply prefer to wear shorts and a t-shirt, and have all the other layers go on above them. However, long underwear is probably the more comfortable option when you are skiing in cold weather. Wearing an extra tight pair of pants and a warm, thick long sleeve shirt is an amazing base layer to have when you are going to be on the mountain all day. Depending on the material, a base layer can cost anywhere from $10 to $40.

Gloves and Mittens

skiing snow gloves

Skiing gloves are made to cover up your hands when you are skiing. They are extremely important for a successful ski day, as your fingers are extremely sensitive to the cold. A quality pair of gloves or mittens can cost up to $100. The biggest thing for a buyer to decide is whether they want gloves or mittens. Both are great for skiers and have their advantages and disadvantages. Gloves are great as they provide the most dexterity for handling your gear or holding poles. Mittens are often warmer as having all the fingers in one pocket will allow them to share internal heat. If your goal is performance, then it is likely better to go with gloves. However, if your priority is simply to stay warm, then mittens are likely the way to go.


skiing headphones

One thing that a lot of skiers enjoy doing is listening to music while they ski. Having headphones with you can be great for a variety of reasons. They can help pass the time if you are on a lift line or help get your adrenaline going to attack the slopes. In most cases, any type of headphones would suffice just fine. However, it is often in your best interest to make sure that you only have one earbud in when you are skiing, so you can hear your surroundings. There are also certain helmets that include headphones on the earpads, although these are often very pricey, costing $250. Beats and Skullcandy partner with certain helmet companies to create this product, and they are extremely popular among avid skiers.

Lift Ticket

skiing lift ticket

Once on the mountain, you’ll still need to buy a lift ticket. The lift ticket is a printed pass that is bought from the front office of the mountain and is often attached to the zipper of your jacket. Having a ski lift ticket gives you access to the ski lift which is a cable system with small cars that carry the riders to the top of the mountain. A lift ticket can cost anywhere from $20 to upwards of $300 for adults, but children and seniors can often get in at a reduced rate. As is with any sport, tickets during prime times will be more expensive. These prime times include weekends and holidays.

Middle Layers

Middle layers in skiing are sometimes just as important as the outer layers. Depending on the weather, you may want to wear a couple extra layers to stay warm on the slopes. Things you can wear are sweatshirts, fleeces, flannels, or light jackets. Middle layers typically cost around $60. The biggest thing about mid layers is that you want to make sure you know what the weather is going to be like. If you wear a middle layer that is too light, that could ruin your day as you are going to be too cold.  But if you wear one that is too heavy, that could also be a day ruiner when you are sweating and not enjoying yourself on the slopes.

Mountain (Slopes)

skiing slopes

The ski mountain is the field of play for competitive skiing, covered in snow and powder, it makes for the perfect track to slide down the mountain. To be able to hold a competitive skiing event at a mountain, they must create a downhill course which has clear boundaries made of poles or plastic fencing and has at least six inches of powder on the course.

The regulation downhill course for men’s play is between 1.5 and 3 miles, and regularly includes a descent of over 2000 feet. The regulation course for women is regularly between 1.4 and 2.6 miles. However, ski mountain courses are usually measured in the amount of time which it takes to complete the course. The goal of competitive skiing is to make it down the hill in the least amount of time possible while staying within the barriers of the course.

Neck Warmers

skiing neck warmers

A neck warmer is a great piece of equipment that keeps your face warm when you're skiing. Skiers can also use thin neck warmers on summer days if they would rather not use sunscreen. You want to make sure that you have the proper material in the neckwarmer. If it is poor material, then the snow and water that goes on it will cause it to freeze and it will become very uncomfortable. If you have a neck warmer made of something like fleece polyester, it will be far more comfortable and will be able to withstand the harshest conditions. Neck warmers cost anywhere from $5 to $30.


skiing skis

The skis are the most integral part of the skiing equipment, as they allow the athlete to move through the snow. Created through layering multiple layers of steel, fiberglass, and plastic, they must be sturdy enough to support your body while being long enough to keep you from sinking into the snow. A pair of skis that isn’t tailored to one’s weight and height will leave the athlete stuck in the snow, unable to go down the mountain. Skis vary in size; usually, they are between four and six feet with adjustable plastic straps to secure the boots. Skis are pointed at the tips, but the body is an elongated rectangle with adjustable straps located in the middle of the skis. The price of a ski will vary depending on the type, but the average price is usually around $600 for a high quality adult pair and about half that for a child’s pair.

Ski Boots

skiing boots

Skiing boots are different from any other kind of boots because they are not meant for walking, but rather to make the skis an extension of your legs. They are often made by fusing two parts, the lower shell, and the cuff. The lower shell is where your foot sits and the cuff is the part of the boot that sits on your ankle and goes up to your shin. The bottom of the boot is made of plastic and has grooves in it to lock into your skis. Ski boots regularly run on a different scale than normal shoes so it’s important to check a sizing chart before purchasing. When putting on ski boots you must first loosen the straps completely and then after your foot is inserted you can pull the plastic straps tight and lock them in. A cheaper pair of ski boots will cost around $150-200.

Ski Goggles

skiing airbag

Since ski goggles first became popular, companies have created a wide variety of lens and goggle styles to accommodate all skiers. Ski goggles can be customized after they’re purchased with interchangeable lenses, prescription lenses, and even spherical lenses. Most ski goggles have cylindrical lenses which curve vertically like spherical lenses but come at a lower price point because the process to create spherical lenses is far more labor intensive. Spherical lenses offer better peripheral views with the increased surface space and as an effect of that, they are more resistant to fogging up than cylindrical lenses.

It's also important to take into consideration the lens coating; there are performance enhancing options such as UV light protection and polarized lenses to block out glare from the reflection of the sun off the snow. Goggle sizing is fairly simple as they usually come in small, medium, or large with adjustable elastic straps. You want to choose the size carefully because if the goggles are too tight they can affect your visibility through increased fog inside the lenses. The price of goggles also vary drastically. A very nice pair will cost up to $250, but you can certainly find cheap pairs for around $50. 

Ski Helmets

skiing helmet

For safety from crashing, skiers will often wear a polycarbonate helmet and a pair of shatter resistant goggles to protect the eyes. It’s important that both the goggles and helmet fit in order to ensure a safe run. When picking out a helmet you first need to know the circumference of your head. If you aren’t sure of the right size, the rule for helmets is that if it doesn’t move around when you shake your head then it’s a fit. When buying a ski helmet you can choose a winter helmet which comes with padded insulation to substitute your winter hat, or you can choose a multi-season helmet with interchangeable layers. A ski helmet usually runs between $60 and $140, but will last for plenty of seasons.

Ski Jackets

Skiing Jacket

A ski jacket is perhaps the most important piece of equipment for a skier. It covers your entire upper body and blocks wind to keep you warm. They are often heavy, thick, and somewhat waterproof to keep you from getting too cold on the slopes. You want the perfect ski jacket to keep you warm and protect you from all sorts of weather. There are also insulated options that will keep you extremely warm throughout the sometimes harsh conditions that are present on the ski mountain. When you look into buying a coat, you want to be able to choose between lightweight or heavy, and you also want to make sure that the material is durable no matter what the conditions are. A nice ski jacket will cost around $250. 

Ski Poles

skiing poles

Ski poles are not used by all competitive skiers, but they can provide a competitive edge when it comes to balance and turning. The size of your ski poles will depend on your height, similar to the size of your skis, and will be somewhere between 45 and 55 inches long. The poles have a fabric handle that wraps around your wrist to keep the poles connected in case you let go of them while skiing.

Apart from the aluminum pole, there is a plastic handle on the top which is usually fitted with a grip. There is also an aluminum circle at the bottom of the pole, two inches from the tip, which is meant to protect the pole from getting caught in snow or ice. To use ski poles safely, poles should either be in the snow or pointed behind you at a 90-degree angle in order to increase aerodynamics. A good pair will typically cost at least $50

Ski Socks

skiing socks

Ski socks are actually far more important than people may initially assume. They are made from high-quality materials like polyester, nyloin, lycra, etc. These materials are used to keep moisture away from your body, as the bottom of the foot actually generates a lot of sweat, even in very cold weather. Having cotton in that kind of scenario is a recipe for disaster. When you are buying a pair of ski socks, it is important to know their type of material, and you also want to know your personal preferences. Some ski socks are extremely thin while others are very thick. Your preference will likely depend on which fits best into your ski boot, as comfort in the feet is extremely vital when skiing. The price of a nice pair of ski socks will cost at least $25.

Snow Pants

skiing snow pants

A good pair of snow pants is equally as important as a ski jacket. Ski pants come in adjustable sizes and in single sizes, but the sizes go by waist size, similar to your regular pant size. There are lightweight options made out of primarily nylon for warmer seasons and thicker styles with one to three inches of insulation for the winter. All ski pants are waterproof to a degree in order to keep the rider from feeling wet after falling in the snow. Without waterproof pants, your overall body temperature can drop drastically and you can have a much higher risk of hypothermia. Adult snow pants are usually styled to look like regular pants, yet children snow pants often have suspenders to assist with getting them on. Snow pants also protect the rider from falls with the added padding of the insulation, but if you’re planning on competing, it’s best to have a pair of snow pants that are aerodynamic. Ski pants are a more expensive item, costing usually $100-200.


skiing sunscreen

Sunscreen isn’t always at the top of your shopping list in the middle of the winter season, however going skiing can leave you vulnerable to stronger UV rays than a day at the beach. Not only is the atmospheric protection weakened by the high altitude of the mountain, but the UV rays are constantly reflecting off of the white snow as well. This makes the skiers face extremely susceptible to sunburn which is why there are specific sunscreens made for skiing. This sunscreen often has enhanced wind and cold protection with a higher SPF than regular sunscreen. A bottle of sunscreen this strong will cost you anywhere from $10 to $25.

Warm Layers

To combat the temperatures, skiers will often wear two to four upper layers consisting of insulated jackets and moisture-wicking athletic materials. For the lower body, the skier will usually wear a pair of thick pants accompanied by a pair of snow pants which are often insulated with down feathers from waterfowl. Typically the warmer the layer, the more expensive it is. An extremely warm layer can end up costing you well over $100.


What equipment do you need for skiing?

The basic necessary equipment needed to ski is skis, ski boots, a helmet, goggles, a ski jacket, snow pants, gloves or mittens, and warm clothes underneath all the gear. While poles are used by many skiers, they are not necessary to ski. In fact, most people learn to ski without them. Other optional equipment used by skiers include backpacks, neck warmers, and headphones.

How much do skis cost?

On average, a pair of high quality skis will cost between $400 and $800 for adults and between $200 and $500 for children. The variance in price is due to the brand, features, and quality of the skis. While it is indeed a hefty investment, a good pair of skis will last you for several years with proper maintenance.

What equipment do you need for alpine skiing vs. water skiing?

Though you use skis for both, most of the equipment used for alpine skiing and water skiing are tapered to the environment in which an athlete skis. For example, the most important thing for an alpine skier is to remain warm and move freely despite the depth of snow surrounding them. Meanwhile, a water skier will wear much lighter layers, more sunscreen and less protective gear when they are skiing on the water.