Winter Layering: Learn How To Beat The Cold

Plan Your Visit: Travel FAQs

Staying warm doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or comfort. There’s no need to look like Ralphie’s little brother from the movie, A Christmas Story.  Winter layering can seem like a daunting task on a ski vacation, especially if you’re packing for yourself and a few kids. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate packing list that’s full of winter layering tips and sanity-saving packing advice.

Winter Vacation Packing List:

Long Underwear & Baselayers

Kids sledding in the snow in Breckenridge
Winter layering means a little snow won’t stop you from having a lot of fun.

What makes a good base layer? It should be comfortable, functional, and maybe even fashionable. The #1 rule in winter layering is to avoid cotton base layers. Instead, look for items made from polyesters and of course, wool. These pieces will be form fitting and can either be worn under your ski pants, jeans or by themselves out on the town.  Base layers come in not just bottoms, but tops as well. They should always be worn as the first layer right against the skin. They will be moisture wicking, meaning they will keep you dry while you’re active, therefore keeping you warmer. These days there’s no reason to compromise style for function, with options to that will not only keep you warm on the slopes but look cute enough to wear to après as well! In Breckenridge, finding your technical and stylish base layers is easy if you stop in Underground Snowboards, PatagoniaMountain Wave or one of the many outdoor stores in town.

Warm Winter Socks

Along the same lines as long underwear, keeping your feet warm is crucial. Avoid thick socks made of cotton. Instead, shop for socks made from the materials listed above that will be moisture wicking. Consider choosing a style designed specifically for the activity you’ll be wearing them for. Whether it be skiing, snowboarding, lounging in the house, or out on the town peeked over high boots to compliment leggings, there’s a sock designed specifically to meet your needs. Finding the right thickness, color and style is easy at many stores on Main Street like Columbia, Joy of Sox and SunLogic.

Winter Hat

Keep your head and ears properly covered with a winter hat.  If you don’t have one, nearly every store in Breckenridge offers a stylish selection. Find one with a fleece lining for extra warmth.

Ski & Snowboard Helmet

If you’re going to be sliding on the snow, a helmet is a must, especially for the kids. It’ll keep your head significantly warmer than a hat and offers all kinds of safety benefits.  There are plenty of shops in Breckenridge that sell helmets.  However, if you are renting gear, you’ll be able to save baggage space and money by renting a helmet as well.

Winter Jacket

Two skiers enjoying a beer while wearing proper winter layering pieces.
In Breckenridge, you’ll wear your jacket on the slopes, around town, and on pretty much any adventure you encounter. It’s a key piece of winter layering.

A winter jacket is one of the most important winter layering items!  Make sure yours is designed for winter activities, like having a water-resistant outer layer if you’ll be on the slopes. Again, like your socks, you can find your preference in thickness (jackets can be a simple shell to a fully insulated puffy), color, and style.

Snow Pants

Your legs are important – make sure you pick a pair with leg vents so you are comfortable at any temperature.

Winter gloves

Retail display.
Looking for a new board, coat, goggles or some winter clothing to wear around town? Breckenridge has a wide variety of shops ready to get you outfitted.

Knitted mittens might work in California, but think about waterproof fabrics and insulation when you pack for Breckenridge. Mittens tend to work best for the kiddos.

Ski & Snowboard Goggles

When it’s dumping snow on the slopes, sunglasses just don’t cut it. Use goggles for the snow and wind. They can also be helpful for dogsledding and snowmobiling.

Snow Boots

A family during a dog sledding trip in Breckenridge
A good pair of winter boots will keep your feet warm both around town and while hitting the trails with your furry friends. Here we see winter layering at its finest.

Bring something with good traction so you won’t slip and slide around town. Don’t have the best boots? Consider getting a set of Yak Trax for longer walks around town, but please be courteous to businesses and don’t wear them indoors.

Sunglasses & Sunscreen

Truth be told, we have more days of sunshine than San Diego and we are closer to the sun. Bring both sunglasses and sunscreen or buy them in Breckenridge. SunLogic has two location on Main Street with an amazing selection of shades at all price levels.


Whether you’ve spent the day skiing, snowboarding or shopping, the sport of hot-tubbing is a welcome addition to any vacation. Make sure you bring a bathing suit for a hot tub at your condo or vacation home. Or, you can always check out the Breckenridge Recreation Center for a dip in the pool (indoors), a trip down the waterslide or their indoor hot hubs.


My camera is definitely one of my most treasured items. Whether it’s on your phone or you have a pro setup, you’ll want to capture all of your Breckenridge memories to last forever.

Bonus tips for a night on the town

Breckenridge is a laid-back mountain community, which means you can save space and leave your fancy clothes (and your stilettos) at home. For the ladies, a nice scarf, a little lip gloss, and jewelry go a long way. Learn how to dress like a local and you’ll realize that the clothing list can be pretty simple.

Missing a winter layering essential? Check-out the stores around town.

Forget a crucial item at home?

Take a stroll down Breckenridge Main Street and check out the many shops specializing in winter gear. We live for winter, so finding great gear is easy in town.

For those with a short attention-span, here are the essentials for winter layering:

  • Long Underwear
  • Thick Winter Socks
  • Winter Hat
  • Ski & Snowboard Helmet
  • Winter Gloves
  • Winter Jacket
  • Snow Pants
  • Snow Boots
  • Ski & Snowboard Goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit
  • Camera

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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