Arizonans are spoiled for warm weather, with winter months hovering around a balmy 58 degrees. But occasionally, you look at the rest of the country, whether on the news or in films, and pine for a little bit of snow. Those white-capped cottages in Christmas movies seem picturesque, and the snowy mountains you find on holiday postcards look idyllic.

If you feel like escaping the warm weather for somewhere chilly this winter, you’ve probably considered a ski vacation. There are several fantastic spots just north of Arizona – in Colorado, Washington and Canada – where a person can dig their ski boots into the powder and enjoy a relaxing drink beside a roaring fire.

But packing for a trip to ski country takes forethought. Especially for Arizonans, many of whom don’t already own winter clothing, it might even require buying a few choice items. In this article, let’s explore how to pack for a winter vacation to a ski resort, complete with various layers and must-pack add-ons to make your trip as smooth as possible.

Base Layer

The base layer is arguably the most important layer. It’s the one that sits directly next to your skin. And it’s your first line of defense against the cold. Ideally, you want to pack comfortable, insulating, odour-resistant garments.

The best material for the job is undoubtedly merino wool, which insulates like a charm, is soft to the touch and wicks away sweat (you’d be surprised how sweaty skiing can get!). Look for travel-ready garments like the Unbound Merino line of women’s and men’s clothing; in addition to being functional, their neutral-colored clothing looks good, too, so you can wear it for a nice dinner at the ski chalet.

Middle Layer

The middle layer is optional but recommended. It consists of heavier garments like sweaters and sweatshirts that provide extra padding for the base layer. The same general principles above apply to the middle layer: Choose comfy, breathable and insulating clothing.

Again, merino wool works well here. But the main thing to bear in mind is that you want something easily removable in case you overheat. (The middle layer is often the first to go!)Look for zip-up garments or, in a punch, button-up cardigans.

Outer Layer

Your outer layer should be a warm, tactical, functional piece of clothing. If you’re forgoing the middle layer, invest in an insulated down winter coat. If you decide to keep the middle layer, you can pack something a little lighter. In either case, choose a water-repellant ski jacket since the last thing you want is to leave the slopes dripping wet.

You may also consider something with ample pockets to store all the accoutrements in the following section.

Add-ons and Must-Pack Accompaniments

Ski slopes are bright, dry environments. And believe it or not, you can absolutely get a sunburn from a day on the slopes. That said, pack sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen to stave off burns and cracks. Don’t worry about buying things like ski boots, poles or helmets, as these items are always readily available to rent at the ski hill.

If you’re hitting the hills this year, pack wisely with this multi-layered approach. Have fun out there, and remember to start small. There’s nothing wrong with taking the bunny hill if you’re a novice skier!