Got a holiday booked to the mountains, and you’re unsure what to pack? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, or a first-timer on the slopes, these pieces of ski gear are must have!
Now, everything listed here can be bought at a major ski resort, but you’ll end up paying a premium. It’s much cheaper to get all these bits of clobber sorted ahead of time.
P.s. before I dive properly into things, a quick note, remember to bring normal clothes. Once, in my slightly dopier teenage years, I was so focused on packing my ski gear ahead of a week-long trip to Kronplatz, that I forgot to pack any t-shirts! I don’t think my fellow travellers appreciated sitting next to me on the plane home.
When you’re at 2,000 metres elevation, surrounded by snow and ice, staying warm is essential. And doing so, starts with a base layer. One pro tip when looking at what’s on the market is that you don’t necessarily need to go for the latest cutting edge gear from specialist ski shops for these. I’ve previously been served well by Uniqlo’s Heattech range.
Continuing on with things to keep you warm, a fleece beneath your jacket (I’m getting there), should be your next layer. Unless you’re going for a particularly warm late season trip (although I’d still pack a fleece), you need multiple layers to keep your body temperature up. Also fleeces are a versatile wardrobe option even when you’re not skiing. Check out Patagonia’s range of fleeces for a tried and tested classic.
The final jigsaw piece as far as your upper body is concerned – a jacket. A couple things to think about here. Firstly, this is a chance to get stylish on the slopes if that’s your thing. Secondly, consider choosing a brightly coloured jacket or something with a distinctive pattern on it if you’re in a group. It will help your friends spot you on a busy piste. Finally, I suggest going for one with vents, because just as the mountains can be cold, they can also get awfully hot. If you’re willing to splash the cash, then take a look at Arc’teryx’s high tech range.
Salopettes or ski trousers
Moving down the body we come to your legs. You might be wondering what the difference is between salopettes and ski trousers. Well, salopettes sit higher, and usually have braces to hold them up. Whereas ski trousers are like normal trousers, except they keep the snow out. It’s a personal preference thing here, I’ve worn and enjoyed both. Mountain Range is a good haunt for these, and most items on this list.
While lots of items it’s alright to bargain hunt on, goggles are one of the few essential pieces of ski gear when you should seriously consider paying good money. A poor pair of goggles are liable to steam up, and present rubbish visibility on the mountain. Whereas a quality pair will allow you to take in the gorgeous vistas that surround you in all their glory. Head to Snow + Rock.
Proper ski socks are of the upmost important when it comes to skiing. Many beginners complain about how uncomfortable their boots are, but often the root cause is their socks – either the wrong type or not pulled up tautly enough. Check out Decathlon.
I’m not talking about ski boots! Not every single moment of your trip will be spent on the slopes – you’ll want some comfy and grippy shoes to get around the resort in. If you’re unsure whether to pull the trigger on snow boots, a pair of hiking boots might be equally effective. Check out (the deceptively named) Surf Dome’s wares.
Gloves or mittens
Now gloves versus mittens is a contentious issue among skiers and snowboarders. I know lots of mittens die-hards, but personally prefer gloves. I don’t feel particularly strongly about it though, so do whatever works best for you. Glisshop has an extensive selection.
Keeping your face warm is often less vital as you glide down the piste, rather it’s necessary when you head back upwards. It can get awfully cold on chairlifts, with the wind whipping your mouth and nose. Check out Blacks.
Beneath your helmet, and yes, you should wear a helmet, a hat will stop any stray heat from escaping. There’s nothing wrong with using a beanie that serves you well in everyday life. Personally, I love Finisterre’s outdoorsy range.
Suncream & lip balm
Another personal horror story from my teenage years, I didn’t apply suncream on the slopes for a whole week. Now panda tan lines are nothing new among snow sports aficionados, but panda burn lines are less fun. So please learn from my mistakes, the sun’s rays are incredibly intense on mountains, and SPF is the only way to combat that. While you’re at it, apply lip balm to combat inevitably chapped lips. Head to your local chemists for something like this.