How to pack for your Christmas vacation in Breck

Family with gear at Breck

There are some people who complain incessantly about the stress of holiday travel. They bemoan the lines, the crowds, and the “inconveniences” of things like blizzards and ice storms that close airports, cancel flights, and render the roads virtual ice rinks.

I am one of those people.

And yet, I am also a skier, which means that despite the allure of a stress-free staycation, I would rather die getting there (hopefully won’t happen) than stay home watching season one (again) of Orange is the New Black. Holidays are for the mountains, which means I need to suck it up and join the chaos.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that a key to beating the stress is preparedness, so that I don’t arrive at the resort without something important, like my ski pass or ski boots.

When I was single, it was pretty easy to get up to the high country with ease. Now that my family includes my husband and two little boys, the chance of us forgetting something is, well, a given. Enter the checklist. We’ve printed out this list and posted it in our garage next to all our gear, and it literally has saved us a handful of times.Christmas in Breckenridge

Since I live in Boulder, Colo., we’re generally driving to the mountains, so we throw everything we need, and many things we don’t, into the back of the SUV. Still, the checklist reigns supreme. Everything on the list goes in the car. Period.

Flying is a different story.

If you’re flying, consider renting your skis or snowboard onsite. It’s convenient, and, given the cost of checking bags on airlines, could even save you money. Plus you’ll have access to the latest equipment. I like to bring my ski boots and rent skis on-site when I fly.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re also a skier or a snowboarder, and your plans are set. You’ve reserved your lodging, ski school, and daycare, and you’re drooling to ride Breck’s terrain. You don’t need me to remind you how much fun you’re going to have.

What you do need, though, is my handy checklist. Print this out, follow it like gospel, and the only stressful part of your mountain Christmas vacation will be arriving.

Gear Checklist

  • Skis
  • Ski boots
  • Ski poles
  • Snowboards
  • Snowboard boots
  • Helmet
  • Goggles

Clothes:

  • Warm hat
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Neck gaiter/balaclava
  • Insulated jacket
  • Insulated pants
  • Lightweight shell
  • Ski socks
  • Base layer top and bottoms
  • Fleece top
  • Fleece or down vest
  • Bathing suit for hot tub

And don’t forget:

  • Ski pass. Don’t have a pass? Reserve lift tickets in advance for the lowest price
  • Snow boots for tromping around town/village
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Boot bag
  • Backpack and avalanche gear if you plan to hike out of bounds
  • Snacks
  • Hand warmers
  • Cell phone charger
  • GoPro camera
  • Water bottle

– Rachel Walker