Ski And Snowboard Gear Essentials To Keep You On Piste

Last updated: Apr 18th, 2024

Skiing and snowboarding have been around for quite some time now, almost as long as that Karrimor base layer under your stairs. With all that backstory, knowing the ski and snowboard gear essentials to keep you on piste can be daunting.

So, to fully enjoy your trip, there’s a few bits of ski wear you should take. Plus, as skiers and boarders ourselves we at Rayburn Tours know what it takes to give your trip the ultimate boost.

Therefore, to make your search for the perfect gear alpine smooth we’ve put together a run-through of the essential bits of kit you’ll need on your ski tour, as well as some nice to haves too!

Now pull on those mittens, grab the ergonomic pole hands and get ready to shred that slalom with the ski and snowboard gear essentials to keep you on piste.

Colourful graphic of base and mid-layers

Base Layers

To build a solid ground where your body can retain, recycle and express heat – base layers should be the first bit of cold weather clothing you look for.

Great base layers are made from synthetic or wool materials and help keep you dry and warm. Stay away from cotton though, as it’s not very breathable or waterproof.


Depending on temperature, mid-layers are ideal for added protection. Worn between the base layer and ski jacket, they help trap warm air and come in the forms of a fleece, sweater, or similar bit of apparel.

Also, it’s always best to layer up to match the climate you’re in as this will prevent you getting too hot or cold.

Ski & Snowboard Jackets

Sometimes referred to as ‘shell layers’, a good ski jacket is something you should NOT skimp on. Slope side weather can change quickly, so having well-insulated, waterproof, and windproof outer layers are essential.


Quality outerwear should be lightweight and preferably with a hood to add that extra layer of warmth when needed. These jackets should come without much padding but have great wind and waterproofing, giving you choice to change layers depending on the temperatures.


Legwear Ski & Snowboard Essentials

We find it extremely difficult to ski with cold and wet legs. So, we’ve put our faith in two legwear items, sometimes known as salopettes, guaranteed to keep those gravity defying limbs of yours warm, comfortable and ready to be the bedrock of your downhill drive.

First on are your thermal leggings, great ski pants that come in different weights and are ideal for keeping your legs warm. But don’t worry about the heavier ones, as they’re only needed on the most severely cold winter days.

Next on are the waterproof over-trousers. Typically made from the waterproof, breathable fabric Gore-tex, these should have long side zips for airing and to get them over your ski boots. Also, make sure they have Instep patches to prevent damage from sharp ski edges and that they aren’t too heavy (400-600g is a good weight).

Colourful graphic of shell layer and ski legwear

Dual coloured socks

Ski Socks

A few pairs of good socks should be enough on any trip, with a quality pair of knee-length seamless ‘loop stitch’ socks vital in that bundle of feet gloves.

However, avoid wearing multiple pairs as it increases chances of blistering and will have you noodling for the rest of your trip. We recommend looking for pairs designed for maximum movement, top-level comfort and are reminiscent to having mini radiators on your feet.

colourful graphic of ski gloves

Ski Gloves

A top tip from our specialist Ski team is to favour mittens over gloves. Why? Because these hand warmers group your fingers together, which helps your digits give off and centre heat.

Also, most mittens come with wrist straps to prevent you losing them. Gloves on the other hand separate your fingers, making them more akin to human icicles than the perfect tools for gripping ski poles.

Colourful graphic of ski goggles

On Piste Eye Protection

Another essential? Why, it’s eye protection!

Depending on your budget, this could be specialised ski goggles or durable wraparound sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection. We recommend a reputable brand when sourcing your eye’s safeguards as these fit ideally around your helmet, which stops them sliding off when going full pelt down your next snow slide.

Colourful graphic of snood

Ski & Snowboard Neckwear Essentials 

You’ve got base, mid and shell layers up to the neck, but there’s still a slim area of skin open to those unforgiving elements. Which is why a neck warmer is a real plus. Also, this ski wear can easily be taken off if the temperature decides to soar.

Therefore, grab yourself a snood or scarf before you ascent that incline to give yourself another excellent preventative against the cold.

Colourful graphic of trainer

Non-Skiing Shoes

When part of a Rayburn Tours organised trip, your group will be provided all the skiing and boarding purpose snow boots you ever could need. However, when getting around the resort when not on piste, a pair of warm, waterproof non-skiing shoes with a sturdy sole and good tread are ideal.

colourful graphic of lip balm and sun cream

Sun Cream & Lip Balm

Due to the altitudes and sun – and especially in the late season – you can easily burn if you forgot to cover exposed skin. So, a high SPF sunscreen for your face is recommended. Plus, with colder temperatures and slope side wind chill, your lips will dry, crack and possibly blister. Therefore, a good moisturising lip balm with UV protection wouldn’t go amiss either.

Your Nice To Haves: Non-Essential Ski & Snowboard Gear


This is your non-essential kit, the add-on accessories that whilst not vital to a quality skiing experience, could add substance to your tour.


Ski on for more.

colourful graphic of neck pillow

Travel Pillow

By train, plane or automobile, your trusty travel pillow can help you rest-up before an intense day of blue to black runs – because the last thing you want when on slope is hitting that sleepy crud.

colourful graphic of camera

GoPro/Action Camera

Record all the action on something like a GoPro, which can be mounted to helmets, chest rigs or held by hand on something like a selfie stick.

After all, with a waterproof digital camera you can re-enjoy those life-changing ski memories for years to come.

colourful graphic of heroclip


You can attach a handy little clip to all types of ski gear including, but not exhaustive to, helmets, goggles and jackets. Easy to use and durable, the clip allows you to hang pretty much anything.

colourful graphic of waterproof pouch

Waterproof Pouch

If you don’t have a digital camera attached to your helmet to photograph or video those memorable moments, you’re likely to use your phone. Sadly, not all phones will stand up to intense water exposure, so a waterproof pouch is ideal.

And not only will they provide telephonic protection, but they can hang conveniently in front of your chest for easy access.

Where Are All The Poles, Helmets, Ski’s And Snowboard Equipment?


An on-the-edge question indeed!

But one not to worry about, as from Austria to America, Canada to Andorra, we’ve built a family of trusted, respected and inspiring ski partners in and around ski resorts to provide essential base equipment like skis, boots, poles, helmets and snowboards when on tour.

We pride ourselves on stunning ski tours and our expertly crafted experiences are bolstered by these local relationships who pretty much ski and board all day.

two skiers are helped out by the ski and snowboard gear shop worker

Even More Ski & Snowboard Gear Essentials To Keep You On Piste


We know buying all the necessary ski gear can be more daunting than climbing Everest, so we’ve included a range of cost friendly retailers who stock the essentials as well as the nice to haves (their links are below).

Plus, a great way to stay local is with ski wear businesses Ellis Brigham and  Love & Piste

Also, if you don’t want to buy these items outright, you can rent ski clothing from online stores like EcoSki.

Alternatively, you can visit ski domes in Tamworth, Manchester or take part in the annual National Snow Show for additional tips.

There you go my snow sports friend, we’ve aimed to give you a thorough, concise and succinct list of essential gear to get the best out of your tour. If you can think of anymore ski and snowboard gear essentials to keep you on piste, we’d love to hear from you.

You can contact us by email, phone or hit the slopes on our snow-packed ski tour page for more information.


Happy Ski Runs!

Download our handy Ski Kit List!

To make preparing for your next trip to the slopes even easier, we’ve put together a Ski Kit list! It’s easy to leave something behind when you’re dreaming of carving down a snowy mountain…


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