Essential Ski Gear
Usually the biggest single expense when buying your ski gear, your jacket is essential for keeping you insulated on the slopes. It’s also your signature when skiing. Make sure you choose one that hits the spot for comfort, warmth and style. They range from shells, designed to be worn over multiple thinner layers, right through to thick puffers filled with down.
As important as your jacket, salopettes should be chosen with a number of factors in mind. You want them hard-wearing, waterproof (especially if you’re snowboarding) and well insulated. You’ll rarely have as many layers on your legs as you will on your upper body, so their ability to keep you warm is vital. You’ll also want a pair that go together with your jacket for the best look on the slopes!
You should never be without a skin tight long-sleeve thermal. They come in various fabrics and you can spend upwards of £100 on a top of the range model in Merino wool for example. However it’s possible to get a perfectly decent thermal for £20 or less.
Worn over your thermal base layer. These can be adapted depending on conditions. At minimum you’d want a T-shirt between your thermal and your jacket, but in most conditions you’ll also want a sweater and in extreme cold go with one thin sweater under another heavier one. Add or remove layers if temperatures go extreme in either direction!
You can save cash in many departments when kitting yourself out for skiing, but you should always buy the best socks possible. A bad pair can rub inside your boots and quickly turn your dream holiday to misery. Frozen toes are also a very good way to spoil a day’s skiing, so find a pair that will keep you warm,
Most people can manage with their normal underwear when skiing, but wicking layers are a nice luxury. They take sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and warm, and helping to prevent chafing. If you can afford a decent set then this is a great addition to your kit bag.
Go out without a helmet and you’ll find yourself in an ever-shrinking minority. You wouldn’t ride your bike around central London without protecting your head, so why would you speed down a rocky mountain at 40+mph without doing so? Modern helmets are insulated, come with ear warmers and you can get features like built in headphones and camera mounts. It’s a no-brainer really…
You can spend silly money on goggles if you want the perfect look, interchangeable lenses and a flash brand name on the strap. But you can also get a perfectly good pair that don’t fog and give you full peripheral vision for under £50. No need to break the bank in this area. If the weather is nice enough then you can ski in sunglasses, but they won’t offer the same protection or peripheral vision as goggles.
Alongside ski socks, you should always buy the best gloves you can afford. Cold, frozen fingers are a very good way to spoil an otherwise superb day’s skiing. Look for something waterproof and insulated. If you can stretch to a pair of heated gloves then all the better. NEVER go out even for “one run” without gloves as a mistake can cost you digits!
If you absolutely MUST go helmetless, then a thick, insulted beanie is a must. So much body heat escapes through the head. Beanies can also top off your on slope style nicely. For extreme cold add a buff or neck warmer. Full face thermal protection will keep you warm although you’ll look like Darth Vader!
Although freezing cold, a ski resort is a very good place to get sunburnt if you’re not protected. The sun’s rays are stronger at altitude and they reflect off the white snow too, so you’re always exposed. Factor 30 should be your minimum and keep it topped up. At least you only have to worry about your face!
A lot of people neglect their lips on the slopes. On the transfer coach at the end of the week they’re easy to spot. The ones with red, sore, cracked lips that can’t open their mouths without wincing in pain. It’s very easy to prevent. Keep a factor 50 lip balm in your pocket and reapply regularly. Buy before you leave the UK to avoid shelling out €12 in resort!
For the very well-prepared, a small first aid kit in your rucksack may come in handy for minor injuries. For any serious injuries though, you must remember where you are. Notify the emergency services and wait for a professional team to get you safely off the mountain.
A small pack can hold everything you need for a full day out on the slopes. Spare under layers if the weather closes in, or a space to stash surplus layers when it gets warm. A packed lunch, drinks, snacks, cameras, spare hats, gloves and even shoes for those who don’t want to do après ski in their boots!
Skiing is a high intensity activity and is thirsty work. If you’re out for the day then you’ll need a litre of water to keep hydrated. Also a very good way to keep costs down as a short drinks break in a mountain restaurant can set you back €15 for a family of 4. It’s worth investing in a hard plastic or lightweight metal flask. If you fall and your plastic bottle bursts, you won’t realise until it’s too late and everything in your backpack is soaked.
Keeping your energy levels up is essential. A lot of skiing injuries happen towards the of the day as people run out of fuel and their body stops doing as it is told. Carry nuts, chocolate or cereal bars to give you an extra kick just as you need it. If you want to bring along Lucozade or similar then remember to decant it into your own bottle or flask to avoid a sticky disaster if you fall!
1. Ski Boots/Skis (if you are taking your own)
2. Ski/Board multi-tool
3. Avalanche gear - Transceiver, Probe and Shovel
2. Foreign Money
3. Visa (if applicable)
4. Tour Operators Holiday Invoice
5. Tickets (and any other holiday documentation received)
6. Ski Hire Details (if applicable)
7. Travel Insurance Details
8. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
9. Drivers license (if travelling by car or hiring a car)
10. Euro Plug/Adapter
Subscribe to Ski Deals
Stay informed of the hottest ski deals from ifyouski.com direct to your email