There are no two ways about it: going skiing requires a lot of "stuff." On top of your skis, boots and poles, you need to squeeze ski clothes, casual clothes, toiletries and dozens of other items into one or two suitcases that will fit in the overhead container on your flight or the trunk of your car - and that's not including the rest of your family's gear. Cheer up. You don't need a moving van - just a few common sense tips for packing before your trip.
A great way to minimize what you have to haul around is to rent your skis and poles at the resort - but not your boots. If it's a short trip like a long weekend, you should be able to easily fit everything into one or two carry-on bags. Most airlines allow you to bring aboard one carry-on bag and another personal bag like a laptop case, diaper bag or purse.
According to United Airlines, a carry-on bag must fit under your seat or in the overhead bin and should not exceed 45 linear inches. Use the following dimensions as a guide for your carry-on bags: 9 x 14 x 22 inches (length x width x height). Buy a good quality boot bag from your local ski shop and use that as your primary carry-on bag.
Transpack makes the XT Pro Boot Bag that has two side pockets for your boots, a large central compartment for things like your helmet and clothes and durable "backpack" style straps. It also has a zippered internal pocket to store your car keys and a fleece-lined goggle pocket. You can fill the inside of your boots with several pairs of socks, undergarments and other small items. Fill the top of your boots with your liquid items and medications in sealable, plastic bags, but remember, TSA agents will need you to remove them during check-in.
Since coats and outer garments don't count as carry-on bags, consider wearing your ski parka onto the plane. You can stuff your gloves, goggles, neck gaitor and a hat into the pockets. Underneath, wear your "evening" wear. At most resorts, you can get into even the ritziest restaurants wearing jeans and a turtle neck.
To be ready for any type of weather, pack multiple layers such as long underwear tops and bottoms, turtlenecks, fleece middle-layer garments (both vests and those with sleeves) and sweaters. You can roll all of these up and stuff them into your carry-on bag. If you're bringing a laptop in a case, you'll probably have room in some of its storage compartments for things like toiletries, medications and a book to read on the flight.
Unless you're staying at low-budget hotel, you'll usually find small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash hair dryers, robes and other items in your room, so there's no reason to bring your own. If you do want to bring your favorite toiletries, stop by the pharmacy aisle of your supermarket. Most sell shampoo, hand cream, toothpaste and other products in travel-size containers. Outdoor stores like REI sell handy items like folding toothbrushes and mini-storage containers that are designed for backpacking. They're perfect for short ski trips.
Planning a longer trip? You'll probably have to check at least one of your bags - usually your ski bag. Buy a good quality, two-pair ski bag like the High Sierra Ski and Snowboard Bag or their "wheeled" double snowboard bag, but bring just one pair of skis. You can fill the rest of the bag with things like outer garments, iPods and extra clothes in addition to your ski equipment. If you're checking your bags, be sure to carry your ski boots onto the plane. store your medications, toiletries and at least one day's worth of ski clothes inside your boot bag,in case your checked baggage gets delayed.
Call the hotel and check before you leave for your trip,if they have laundry service. Although it's usually not cheap, it beats paying the $50 airlines will charge you for checking an extra bag.
Packing for your next ski trip isn't hard if you plan ahead. There are dozens of simple ways to cut corners and costs. Of course, if money is no object you can do what one affluent Saudi family did on a trip to Beaver Creek: buy all of your ski clothes and gear at the resort, use it for a week, and then leave it behind for the housecleaning staff.