Packing for the Slopes: Essential Things for a Skiing Holiday

According to ActivityBreaks.com there has been a significant rise in the amount of people wanting to take activity holidays in recent years. This is great because it gives people the opportunity to spend their valuable holidays not just relaxing but learning new skills, keeping fit and embracing the great outdoors. The only downside is that activity breaks such as camping, hiking, surfing, cycling and skiing invariable involve more preparation and definitely involve more packing.

When it comes to planning a skiing holiday you’ll already have a lot to think about. Which country, which resort, perhaps even taking lessons before you go. With all of that going on you may find that packing for your break takes a back seat. But forgetting a vital piece of equipment or clothing can be not only frustrating, but also cause inconvenience that may spoil your holiday. If you’re a first time skier then knowing what to take can also be tricky, so we’ve compiled a checklist of important things to pack for your skiing break and a few handy tips to help you hit the slopes with as little stress as possible.

Ski clothing

Needless to say you need to prepare well for a long day amongst the snow. Nothing is worse than having to retire early because you’re cold, wet and miserable. A base layer of thermal underwear, followed by a middle layer of a long sleeved jumper/turtleneck and an insulating layer such as a fleece or jacket will all need to go under your ski parka and waterproof pants. Consider how long your break is and then decide how many items of ski clothing to take – you can definitely get away with wearing a few of the inner garments a couple of times.

Tip: Yes you’ll be cold to begin with but once you start skiing, walking and climbing you will soon warm up. Then you’ll cool down again as you get into the ski lift. Therefore it’s better to wear lots of thin layers that you can shed off and put back on again as your body temperature fluctuates.

Footwear

Good footwear is imperative when skiing and will directly impact your comfort, safety and ability to ski. PlanetSKI advise that you bring your own boots if you have them or consider buying your own if you plan to ski regularly. Hiring boots can often be hit or miss as sizes and quality can vary. Don’t forget to bring extra pairs of ski socks either – some people are dubious about these expensive socks and think that regular socks will work just as well. Ski socks are usually made from wool or synthetic fibres that keep your feet warm and are padded for extra comfort. They are also designed for a snug fit to give you extra control on your skis.

Tip: If you’re still not convinced about ski socks and choose to take your own then do not wear cotton socks on the slopes. Cotton absorbs moisture and when your feet sweat (which they will despite the cold temperature) you will be left with damp, chilly feet.

Social clothing

Remember that you won’t be skiing all of the time. Most ski resorts come alive at night and offer a variety of fancy bars, restaurants and diners so pack a range of smart/casual clothing too. Even if your resort has nothing but a quaint little ski lodge, you’ll still want something comfortable and ‘normal’ to slip into after a day on the slopes. The same applies for toiletries and any other bits and pieces that you would usually take on holiday.

Tip: If you’re not careful then this is where you could end up taking a lot of unnecessary things. Research your resort to see what kind of establishments are on offer and try and plan your days in advance so that you pack only what you’ll need. For example, one day you may want to take a day off skiing so a good pair of walking shoes/boots might be essential.

Accessories

It’s amazing how much one small piece of equipment can make or break your day on the slopes. Make a checklist and tick them off one by one: hat/helmet, gloves, goggles, sunglasses, neck gaiter and sunscreen. You will need them all.

Tip: If you’re struggling for space in your case then smaller items such as your accessories can go alongside your skis in your ski bag. Or roll them up and put them inside your boots.

Ski equipment

You won’t get very far on the slopes without your skis and poles. A ski bag is an ideal way to transport these safely on a flight. Many resorts offer the option of hiring your equipment which will avoid the hassle of transporting your own equipment and often give you the opportunity to test out the latest models for a relatively small price. Consider this if you want to minimise fuss.

Tip: If you do choose to take your own skis and poles then check with your airline before travelling – some need prior notice of large items to be stowed.

The essential documents

It may seem obvious but with so much on your mind it can be easy to forget the things that can really end your holiday before it's started. You won't even make it out of the airport unless you remember your tickets and passport. You should also remember to buy a good holiday insurance policy. Winter sports cover is important, mandatory in some resorts, due to the high risk nature of skiing. However it can also cover you for practical issues such as resort closure due to excessive snowfall and loss/damage of ski equipment. Prepare yourself for every eventuality and it will take a lot to spoil your trip.

Tip: Invest in a bag or a travel wallet to keep all of your essential documents together. Keep this in your hand luggage rather than in your case – that way you can have your passport on hand and take care of your money and valuables.

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Guest post written by Evelyn, a freelance travel writer who works closely with a number of awesome travel services. She’s lived on both side of the Atlantic and remains a perpetual globetrotter, having visited over forty countries in the last twelve years (some of them more luxurious than others!)

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