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First time downhill skiing - What to bring/buy?


I will be skiing for the first time (taking lessons + gear rental). What do I need to bring to my lesson? Should I buy a helmet and goggles?

Thank you!

8 Replies

Hi @replay - Thanks for reaching out. It's great to hear that you have your first day of skiing planned!

Different rental companies offer different types of gear, so you might want to call them and ask what is available to rent. You will definitely want to have a helmet and goggles for your day out skiing, but if they are available to rent that would be a good place to start. 

You will want to make sure you have the right clothes to stay comfortable and warm. Depending on your location and the expected weather, that could mean a lot of different things. Having a layered system is important, which will enable you to take off an outer layer if you get hot, then add it back on if things cool down.

For details and suggestions for each piece of ski clothing, you can take a look at our Expert Advice article titled What to Wear Skiing and Snowboarding. To keep your hands warm, you will want a pair of water-resistant gloves or mittens. There are various options available, though if you know your hands tend to run cold, it is a good idea to grab some hand warmers

Beyond having clothes to keep you comfortable and dry, you'll want essentials like snacks and water. Most ski lessons start near a resort's lodge/parking area, so you should have easy access to your bag or car depending on how much you want to bring along with you for the day. 

Hopefully this is a good start. Let us know if you have any additional questions and we'll be happy to help! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you!


if your thinking your going for the one time and that's it, rent as much as possible, no point in investing in anything if your not gonna stick with it.  Regardless,  as stated above, definitely dress in layers and make sure you have as much water proof stuff as possible and possibly a change of clothing. 

For a first timer, your going to fall a lot and most likely get wet.  Being dry is the difference from a day of enjoyment and misery.



I believe that if it is your first time, you should definitely buy a helmet and goggles, and for clothes you should have waterproof snowpants, warm socks, thermal underwear, fleece to go under the snowpants, and a shell jacket to go over the snowpants.

Kyle M |
Have a Great Day, and make your best adventure yet.

Thank you everyone! 

You'll do fine if you keep the color symbol system in mind. Look for green trails (not just the green trees) and stay away from blue or black anything. If you are taking lessons then learn to fall. It's far easier at the bottom of the mountain than at the top of the lift.

please don't get on a lift without first taking lessons! this is how legs get broken, not kidding.

on day 1, where they say 'this is a ski', you'll want to be warm, as you're mainly standing around or moving slow, learning to stay upright, before proceeding to simple gliding and then snow-plows.

Hopefully it's sunny, so sun block, maybe goggles with a sun screen.  some bibs or something to keep you dry, as mentioned before, you might do a slow fall, once or thrice. But as you start working, you may start to warm up, so some layers you can shed.

don't be afraid to call the ski school and speak with a rep

good luck

REI Member Since 1979


You can typically rent everything except goggles.  Sunglasses will  work in a pinch for goggles especially at the speed you are likely to be traveling.  Take a lesson first thing if you are completely new to the sport.  I agree with other replies to make sure you are wearing waterproof everything, whatever you would typically wear for sledding or playing in the snow should be fine.  I also agree that you will fall a lot, keep that athletic stance (knees slightly bent, shoulder length between skis, back straight, leaning slightly forward so your ankles connect with the front of your boot liner), look down the hill, and you will be shredding in no time.

Skiing is a lifetime sport, if you like it, buy some gear in the offseason and it will save you money in the long run!

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