The ski season is upon us and we are all getting ready for winter in our own ways, whether that’s watching our favorite inspirational snow sports films, getting in shape, prepping skis and snowboards for the first day on snow, getting outer gear prepped for the cold and wet days, refreshing backcountry knowledge, and of course, getting the perfect first day on hill playlist ready to go. This can be overwhelming for the seasoned veteran and beginner skier/snowboarder alike. So, if you’re asking yourself, "What ski gear do I need for the winter season," keep reading—we’ve got you covered.
First Things First—Ski And Snowboard Prep
We would always suggest taking your skis and/or snowboard to the shop for a full tune-up but as long as you check the edges, give your skis a good wax, and check your bindings and din settings (skis only), you should be good to go. Note: New skis and boards come with a factory tune—so if you added a new pair of skis or snowboard to your collection then once you’ve got your bindings all you need is a wax and you’ll be ready to shred.
Boots, though often a second thought, are just as important to maintain as your skis, snowboard, and bindings, if not more. To get your ski or snowboard boots ready start with an inspection of the liners and footbeds. Take them out, check the inside of the boot, and ensure you air everything out. It’s also important to check the outside of the boot, the buckles or laces, the outer shell, etc., and make sure everything is in good condition.
If you’re more of an advanced-expert rider, make sure the boots are as stiff and in shape as you need them to be. If there are any issues with the footbeds you can go to a good boot fitter and get them replaced.
First things first, wash your outerwear with a technical wash. Many find this an unnecessary step but trust us, it's important. Not only will you smell better and make more friends on the chairlift, but a wash will also make sure your waterproofing and the technology of your gear has is doing their job. You also should check your gear for holes, damages, and wear and tear. You can repair or update most minor damage yourself, but it’s much better to learn about them before you head onto the mountain. Things like updating your waterproofing or just some good ol’ duct tape do wonders. Once you’ve inspected all your gear, get a good checklist together to pack your backpack for the first day back on snow.
Helmet & Goggles
Wear a helmet! Helmets are cool, and head injuries are not, so wear one. Always check your helmet before the first day on the mountain, and look for things like cracks and dents before you head out. If you do find something wrong, don’t hesitate to replace it. If you’re careful most of your ski gear can last years, but not your helmet, so take extra care. And If you took a good tumble in your helmet last season, go ahead and replace it.
Once you’ve got the necessities for the mountain covered, you can start thinking about things that will make your mountain days that much more comfortable, perhaps a new pair of merino wool socks or thermals. Or if you find yourself especially cold you might want to consider stocking up on hand and boot warmers or even heated socks for the season.
We hope this helps you get pumped and prepared for the upcoming ski season. We recognize that a lot of this gear is expensive and inaccessible to many so if you want to get out on the mountain but don’t feel you can access everything you need, consider taking a look at the scholarships that may be available to you if you identify as a woman, a BIPOC, from the LCBTQIA+ community or a person with a disability (non-exhaustive). There are also some options (and growing) to purchase used/pre-owned ski gear, like our Coalition Snow program Second Tracks, which often makes gear more accessible.