Friday, October 15, 2010

Winter Vacation Essentials!

Having been inspired by this week's ski post and Brittany's of Va Voom Vintage cold weather essentials post, I wanted to share my must-haves for winter/skiing vacations and basics for winter in general. You can see Brittany's fabulous post here:

When winter comes around, my ski fever kicks in big time! The winter weather here in the Mid-Atlantic is normally non-eventful (i.e. no snow). Moreover, the mountains are (in my opinion) too small. So, what is a vintage-loving, ski freak gal like myself to do? She goes west to Colorado! Every year the husband and I stay at our condo in Breckenridge for two glorious weeks. And, it is our goal to live in Colorado permanently one day!

Nevertheless, I have some tips and must haves for winter/ski travel that I hope you find useful!

When packing for a winter ski trip, you need to take into account the number of days you plan to be away.  You can bring multiples of small items like undergarments, socks, camisoles, tees, base layers, turtlenecks, leggings etc. But when it comes to bigger, bulkier items like sweaters, ski pants, jeans, or skirts, you need to limit them. Most airlines charge passengers per bag so try to keep your wares to ONE suitcase.

Most ski resorts and/or condos have laundry facilities. Take this into account when packing. You can bring less because you can wash.  However, items that cannot be washed like wool sweaters or ski pants should be limited. For example, I will bring one Norwegian wool sweater for ski days and one pair of ski pants for ski days. I also pack four sweaters to mix and match with a different separates.  Even though I wear things multiple times,  I just 'change things' around.

For instance, one day I will wear a black turtleneck and vintage 50s wool plaid pencil skirt with a pair of leggings. A couple of days later, I will wear the same turtleneck with a pair of 50s rolled jeans. Then I will wear the 50s skirt with a red wool cardigan another day. Then I will wear the red cardigan with the jeans a few days later. Be creative with your limitations!

Packing some accessories like a few scarves, barrettes, earrings, bangles, and necklaces can give more mileage to the variety of outfits. I always bring some fun rings, bangles, and earrings for nights on the town. For example, the first day I wear the black turtleneck, I will put on a pair of glass and rhinestone cherry earrings. The second time I wear the turtleneck, I will add a bangle and wear different earrings.

Ski pants and thick sweaters tend to take up a lot of space. I have found that placing these items in plastic grocery bags helps greatly! I put an item neatly folded in a bag, I tie it shut, and then I smoosh the air out. This causes the item to become more flat and compact. Now I have more space! I also use same grocery bags for laundry. I simply untie the bag, store away what's inside, use it for dirty clothes. Then I take the bag(s) down to the laundry facility. Easy!

Now, if your condo does not have its own washer and dryer, the building will more than likely have a guest/tenant laundry room. You will have to pay about $1.50 for washing and $1.75 for drying. You will also have to pay for detergent and fabric softener. I bring my own. I pack a few fabric softener sheets in a ziplock bag and I use the Purex Laundry Sheets. These sheets contain detergent. Simply throw a sheet onto the wash! There is no need for powder or liquid soap! I normally pack 5 sheets in a ziplock. I then place both ziplocks in an outer zip compartment on my suitcase.

When it comes to packing your toiletries, you will need to have these items:

-lip sunblock
-reddness gel or cream (this is vital for skiers! Exposure from wind and cold do a number on delicate skin!)
-travel shampoo and conditioner
-toothbrush/toothpaste/floss/mini mouthwash
-bobby pins
-mini hairspray
-mini styling products
-makeup remover or cold cream
-travel cleanser and toner
-travel facial moisturizer
-travel body lotion (the cold, mountain air is very dry!)
-mini hairdryer (most condos' hairdryers are sub-standard)
-curling iron or pin-curl clips
-feminine items (if needed)

When packing your cosmetic bag, keep it simple! Have one day look and a one night look. Bare in mind that you cannot really wear cocktail attire or fancy evening couture in a cold, snowy environment! Therefore, your makeup should reflect your needs.

In most ski towns, the dress code is typically very casual, even in upscale bars and restaurants. When I was in Breckenridge in  January 2005, I wore heels to dinner one night and I fell many times! The sidewalks and streets in ski towns are normally covered in packed snow. There can even be patches of ice. As much as I prefer vintage rayon dresses and velvet heels, I stick to pencil skirts, leggings (instead of stockings), and insulated combat boots with lots of traction when visiting Colorado in winter.

In my makeup bag I have:
-NYC Color SPF 12 powder foundation
-2 blushes
-MAC eyebrow pen
-clear eyebrow gel
-NARS eyeshadow primer
-MAC Opulash Mascara
-2 shades of red lipstick (one warm and one blue-based)
-2 matching lip pencils
-my MAC pro palette containg 4 nude/neutral eyeshadows
-MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
-MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study
-MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black (great for doing cat eyes for a night look)
-a travel size loose powder (I fill an empty, small-sized, plastic sifter jar from MAC)
-a few of MAC makeup brushes tucked away in my MAC brush roll. (I have so many so I just pack the ones that I tend to use the most).

If the resort/condo has hot tubs on site, be sure to pack a bathing suit and a pair of flip-flops. There is nothing more amazing that slipping into a hot tub after a long day of skiing! It relaxes tired muscles and it's neat to sit in an outdoor tub while it's snowing!

Be sure to pack your ski gloves, ski hat, scarf, and goggles. Since it is usually cold when the husband and I arrive in Colorado, I do not pack my ski jacket in my suitcase. I keep it with with me so I can put it on after leaving the airport. My jacket is insulated and waterproof and I wear it on and off the slopes. I also keep a pair of insulated gloves and a scarf in my carry-on bag.

If you bring your own skis and boots, make sure your skis and poles are stored in an airline-approved ski bag. You can find a variety of styles at most ski shops. Also, I have noticed that if I try to pack my ski boots, they usually need their own suitcase due to their size. Since the airlines have gone "nickel-and-dime-crazy"  when it comes to baggage, I put my boots in a large carry-on bag.

So, I hope this winter is going to be cold and extra snowy! I cannot wait to cut fresh tracks and take in that clean, mountain air!

Here's to winter!


  1. Great spot. Have skied there many times. Enjoy!

  2. I have been skiing there since 96 and I love having my own little space there when I can go. Now, if I can just get out of DC for good, I would really be over the moon!

  3. Awesome and helpful list! I'm going to copy the whole thing and place it in my "ski trip" file for our next trip to Smuggs in Vermont :)


  4. Thanks! I hope you enjoy your trip to the "Notch!" I have yet to ski up there! I am in love with Colorado but maybe I can 'cheat' on her and visit Vermont one of these days!