Close this search box.

A Beginner’s Equipment Guide to Bare-Bones Skiing

Skiing equipment can be expensive, and buying them outright might not be the best choice for a first-time skier. While you can certainly rent the necessary equipment, there are also a few gears you should buy outright.

1. Skis and Poles: Optional

Every ski resort will have skis and poles available for rent. These equipment are essential for skiing, but you won’t be using them anywhere else. Of course, having your own set of skis and poles will matter once you decide to continue the sport. Consistency is key to getting better, and a different set of skis every time you take to the slopes can disrupt your performance.

2. Boots: Optional

You won’t get much use for ski boots away from the slope, so it’s better to rent them on your first forays. However, if you plan on skiing more than a couple of times, it might be best to have the right boots. Fitted boots are more comfortable and will provide a higher level of control. Professional fitters will assess your foot shape, as well as riding skill and style, to determine the most suitable boots for you.

3. Ski Helmets: Optional

Helmets are essential for safety (and required by law in some states), and you can push through a few sessions by just renting. Fitting shouldn’t be a problem, but you might want to get your own if you find your first few helmets uncomfortable. Rent for a while, but buy your own if you take a liking to the sport.

4. Goggles: Purchase

You can buy ski goggles for less than $20, so you might as well buy your own. There are more expensive ones available, but they can wait until you get a feel for skiing.

5. Thermals: Purchase

Base layers or thermals are just too intimate to rent out. A good set can cost you around $20-$50, but you can also use them when hiking (or on freezing days). Opt for the most basic designs because nobody will be seeing them underneath your ski jacket and pants.

6. Ski Jacket and Pants: Optional


Most ski resorts have a limited number of sizes for their men’s and women’s jackets and pants (classier resorts don’t even rent them out). However, bear with the few ill-fitting garments until you’re sure you’ll be visiting the slopes more often. When you decide to buy your ski gear, ditch the fast fashion brands and opt for a set of Arc’Teryx ski pants and jackets. They may be on the expensive side, but you won’t need another set after buying one.

7. Gloves and Socks: Purchase

Buy your ski gloves and socks. They don’t cost much, and you can still use them when hiking.

8. Neck Warmers: Purchase

Neck warmers are fairly versatile, and you won’t be using them just for skiing. You can take them on hiking trips or use them as a face mask when biking.

9. Backpack: Purchase

Most ski resorts won’t be renting out backpacks. However, you should always take one with you so you can pack a few water bottles or maybe even lunch and a few snacks. Prices up top can be a bit expensive, so anything you carry with you is practically free.

10. Sunscreen: Purchase

UV concentration gets higher with elevation, and sunscreen prices get higher once you reach the resorts. Buy them early and save more than just a few bucks.

Ski equipment can be pricey, so don’t hesitate to rent a few on your first trips. Once you get a feel for the sport, you can start buying equipment to make your runs a little better.

Scroll to Top