You’ve taken the plunge and bravely decided to book your first ski trip. Congratulations! You’re in for an amazing holiday, but we know how difficult it can be to pack if you’ve never been before. Well, have no fear as we’ve compiled a list of exactly what you need (and don’t need) to take, so you can look forward to an almost stress-free first skiing holiday.
Don’t take your own skis or snowboard
Yes, we know you’ve been looking at all the fancy skis and snowboards on Snow + Rock’s website ever since you booked your plane tickets, but put away that credit card. Skis are incredibly expensive and you don’t even know how to use them yet! Not to mention the fact you’ll have to pay extra to take them with you on the plane and they’re cumbersome to carry. For a fraction of the price and hassle, you can simply rent everything you need when you get there. An expert will fit your ski boots and skis while ensuring you have the right poles, so before you can say «Avalanche» (just kidding!) you’ll be good to go.
Helmets should be rented too – have you ever tried packing one into a suitcase?! However, it’s a good idea to take a warm hat that covers your ears for when you’re not skiing.
Make sure you have the right paperwork
Naturally your passport and plane tickets are two of the most important things to pack, otherwise you won’t even make it out of the country, but don’t forget to take your other vital paperwork too. Your easyBus ticket, travel insurance, lift passes and ski school booking information should all be packed away ready in your hand luggage. Otherwise you may find yourself stuck at Geneva Airport with no means to get to your resort.
As long as you remember your ticket, you should find it’s fairly easy to get to whichever airport you’re flying from, as easyBus offers 14 departure points from central London to Standsted, Gatwick and Luton.
Although you can hire ski suits when you arrive, ski clothes aren’t as horrendously expensive as you might think, and will come in handy even when you’re not on the slopes. A good, thick, fleece-lined jacket is perfect for keeping you warm and dry when you’re skiing – perhaps you already use one as your winter coat?
You will, however, need to purchase a pair of salopettes or ski trousers. Salopettes tend to be better at preventing snow from getting in your trousers when you fall over, and yes, sorry, but you will fall over. You’ll also need ski socks to keep your feet toasty and stop your snowboots from rubbing and hurting your feet. Other must-haves include goggles, ski gloves, and a neck warmer or scarf.
Don’t forget to pack some clothes that go under your ski suit. You’ll need garments which are easy to layer, as you may be surprised to know that you can get really hot on the slopes when the sun is out. Pack a variety of vests, t-shirts and warm jumpers to wear on the slopes. If you get too hot you can take a layer off, and if you get cold again you can put another back on. You don’t want to, or need to, wear anything underneath your ski trousers, as they should keep you warm enough.
Think après ski
You’ll need something to wear when you’re not on the slopes too. Chances are you won’t want to go skiing every day, and you certainly won’t want to wear salopettes if you decide to go to a bar or fancy restaurant in the evening. Pack casual clothes that will still keep you warm, such as jeans, shirts and fancy jumpers. You may want to go clubbing during your holiday (although we don’t recommend trying to ski hungover!), but don’t take any tiny dresses or heels with you. Unless you wear leggings underneath, you’ll feel cold and miserable, and will probably end up slipping on the ice.
Suncream and lip balm
It may not have occurred to you, but suncream and lip balm with a high sun protection factor are essential if you’re going skiing. It can get sunny on the slopes, and the sun’s rays are stronger when you’re on top of a mountain, as they tend to bounce off the snow. This means you need to pack suncream with a factor of at least 30; otherwise your face will be bright red in every single holiday photo. Don’t wait until you’re at the resort to buy some either, or you’ll be forced to pay a premium for it. Lip balm is also vital to protect your lips; otherwise they can become dry, blistered and cracked.
Is there a doctor on the slopes?
Hopefully you’ll be a complete natural at skiing and won’t fall over much, but most first-timers do fall. A lot. Luckily, the snow is soft and your padded clothes will probably act as a cushion. However, you may fall awkwardly, or end up grazing yourself on something. For this reason, it’s sensible to pack a small first aid kit with painkillers, plasters and any other medication you may need, just to be on the safe side.
Pack it in
You need somewhere to put said first aid kit, as well as your suncream, lip balm, spare clothes, packed lunch (if you want to save on expensive mountain restaurants), bottle of water and high protein snacks. Preferably, take a small rucksack with you, one which has a waistband and a strap at chest height, as it won’t flap around as much as a normal rucksack. If you aren’t planning to take much with you when you hit the slopes, you may be able to fit your essentials, such as your wallet, ski passes and suncream, into your jacket pockets.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to packing for a ski trip, but as long as you don’t go overboard with the number of jumpers you need, you should easily be able to fit everything into one suitcase (maybe two if you have kids). If you remember all the important items, you should feel at bit more at ease when you attend that first day of ski school. Good luck, and don’t worry, skiing is snow easy.