What To Pack


The following is a comprehensive packing list for your First Descents Skiing adventure. Proper layering is the key to staying warm and comfortable while skiing. If you have any questions please contact the First Descents Programs Team.

*Remember your program is happening in the wintertime in Colorado. It is important that you bring warm layers that dry quickly. NO COTTON WHILE YOU ARE SKIING*

Must Haves:

  • Water bottle – 32 oz. preferred – no glass
  • Daypack/Backpack – a normal school backpack will work just fine

Helpful link: Layering Suggestions and Tips

Top layers:

  • Base Layer/Long Underwear – Made of synthetic or merino wool material
  • Mid-Weight/Insulating layer – Fleece (light or mid weight) or thin down jacket
  • Down (Puffy) Coat – If you have one bring it
  • Outer Layer – Waterproof Jacket – Ski jacket preferred but not necessary
  • If you know you get cold easily it is best to bring a few extra layers.

*Layering is key to staying warm – cotton is not acceptable*

Bottom layers:

  • Base Layer/Long Underwear – Made of synthetic or merino wool material
  • Mid-Weight/Insulating Layer – Fleece (light or mid weight, optional)
  • Outer Layer – Waterproof Pants Ski Pants work great


It is a common misconception that wearing multiple pairs of thick socks will keep your feet warmer. This is false. It is best to wear a good pair of thinner ski socks made of wool or synthetic material, as they allow better circulation in your feet. Bring a few pairs. We recommend bringing at least 2 pairs (or more) so that you can dry a pair out if needed.

  • 2 Pairs Ski Socks – wool or synthetic material

Why no cotton?

Cotton is a poor choice for outdoors activities due to its high thermal conductivity (rate of energy loss). When it gets wet, cotton allows the moisture to sit on your skin, in turn cooling you instead of keeping you warm. In other words, you don’t stay very warm or dry with cotton!


  • Warm winter hat/beanie
  • Light weight hat/beanie or headband – that will fit under your ski helmet
  • 1 neck gaiter or buff
  • 2 Pairs of mid-weight to expedition-weight glove liners – these fit inside your gloves or mittens.
  • 2 pairs of waterproof shell gloves/mittens
  • We recommend bringing 2 pairs of gloves so that you can dry one pair out if needed.


Clothing not for skiing:

  • Comfortable clothes for around the lodge (cotton is an acceptable choice)
  • Winter Boots/Comfortable Shoes/Slippers
  • Swimming Suit – just in case!

Gear for skiing:

Your instructors will provide all of the necessary skiing equipment, which will include:

  • Skis
  • Poles
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Ski boots

Also to consider:

  • Personal hygiene items, sunscreen, instant hand sanitizer
  • Camera
  • Book/Journal
  • Spending money (there may be opportunities to purchase souvenirs if you wish)


  • Prescription and over-the-counter-medications will be self-administered. If you anticipate using any over-the-counter meds such as Motrin, Tylenol, or Benadryl, please bring them with you!

Other Info:

All linens – sheets, pillow, blankets, and towels are provided – you do not need to pack these!

All food will be provided – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks, snacks, snacks and more snacks!


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