What Gear Do I Need to Ski?

What Gear Do I Need to Ski?
Proper gear will make your first skiing experience safe and enjoyable. While you don't have to spend a fortune getting outfitted, you will want to take the time to find quality gear that will keep you safe and warm and will last through several seasons.

Most beginning skiers buy clothing and safety equipment and rent skis and boots. When shopping for clothing and safety gear, find a store that has knowledgeable associates who can help you find the right fit for your body and budget. A reputable ski rental shop will also offer experienced staff who will help you find the right skis and boots for your needs.


Conditions on the slopes can change quickly, so you'll need to be prepared for both different weather. The best way to do this is by dressing in layers.

Start with a good pair of long underwear. You can find fabrics that are designed to wick moisture from your body to keep you from getting clammy. Look for the same properties in a good, warm pair of socks, too.

Your middle layer should include a warm sweater or turtleneck and some thin fleece pants.

Over the top of everything, a waterproof shell and ski pants. Look for a shell with zippered vents that will help cool you off if you get too warm.

Finally, a nice warm hat and a good pair of gloves. Don't skimp on the quality of gloves -- there can be a big difference in the warmth. Some skiers prefer mittens to keep their fingers toasty.

Skis, Bindings and Boots

Your skis are the most expensive gear you'll need to enjoy this sport. The ski rental shop will give you a form to fill out that will include information such as height, weight and skill level. Be honest on this form; your height and weight will determine the type of equipment that will be the best fit.

A properly fit pair of boots is crucial. If your boots are too big, you will have a hard time steering your skis, and if they're too tight you'll be miserable. Bring your ski socks with you to try boots on at the rental shop. The boots should fit snugly but not too tight. Your toes should touch the end of the boot, until you bend your knees and lean forward -- then you should have a bit of space for comfort.

Shaped skis are best for beginners who will be skiing downhill. Talk to the ski shop associate about your skill level to find the best pair of skis for you.

Bindings are typically pre-installed at the rental shop. Make sure you have the associate show you how to work the bindings so that you can snap in and out of the skis easily.

The associate at the rental shop will measure you for ski poles. Your poles should fit comfortably in your hands when your arms are held in a position as if you are holding the steering wheel in a car.

Safety Equipment

A helmet is an absolute must for safety on the slopes. Though most ski accidents are minor, the Snowsports Industries of America reports that 5 to 10 percent of all ski injuries involve the head, and these injuries are amongst the most deadly. One study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that helmets could prevent up to 44 percent of head injuries amongst skiers and snowboarders.


A quality pair of goggles will not fog up during snowy conditions. Goggles protect your eyes, help you maintain visibility and keep your face warm. If you wear glasses, you should get a pair of prescription goggles.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.