First time skiing? Don’t know what to pack? Don’t worry, we’ve got a checklist to make sure you’re properly suited and booted and ready to hit those slopes! Here at ActivityBreaks.com we often get first time skiers asking what they should pack for their ski break, so we pickled the brains of those in the office to compile this list covering the basics.
A waterproof ski jacket and trousers are a must for skiing! But wait… don’t reach for the credit card just yet. These items can be pricey, and there is no point forking out hundreds of pounds and then discovering you hate skiing… it’s not for everyone! We advise borrowing these items if possible, or if not possibly, visit discount stores such as TK MAXX or Decathalon, they have a fantastic range of Ski attire for reasonable prices. Don’t worry about colour and pattern combos, in ski fashion, anything goes!
Similarly, ski socks and thermal underwear are a definite must-pack! Ski socks will stop your feet from freezing, and will ensure comfort in those bulky ski boots – we would pack 2 pairs for a week away. Thermal underwear may not be attractive, but its job is to make sure you’re warm and to keep you dry, no matter how many times you fall or how much you sweat. We recommend packing at least 2 sets of long sleeved thermal tops and leggings for a week. Over this thermal base layer, we recommend a mid-layer, preferably a microfleece, to keep the heat in.
Time to think about the extremities – good gloves and ski hat are easily forgotten but are essentials no skier should be without on any ski break. Ideally, ski gloves should have an adjustable cuff, textured palm and finger tips and a fleece lining. As for the ski hat, this is more for when you’re not wearing your helmet, so as long as it covers your ears it can be as wacky as you like.
Goggles are important for protecting the eyes from the glare of the sun off the snow, and also for when it is snowing. These can also be picked up cheaply at Decathalon or Sports Direct. Another essential that goes hand-in-hand with goggles is suncream! You may not think you need it, but the sun can be strong and you want to avoid that dreaded goggle tan-line that could cause so much ridicule in the office back home (we’re not talking from experience…)
With all this information in your head, it’s easy to forget about your clothes choice off the slopes. The Apres ski clothes wardrobe is much easier to manage with the socialising normally taking place in bars and restaurants within the ski resort. Just pack warm, casual clothes like jeans and jumpers, but ensure you have sensible shoes, like snow boots or waterproof boots.
2. Sort out your gear… skis/ski poles/ski boots/bindings/helmet
Ski equipment is generally something you can hire from the resort. Most resorts have ski rental shops- just nip in, tell the assistants your skill level and let the professionals kit you out with the most suitable skis, bindings, poles, helmet and boots. Same goes for snowboarding, you can get boards in these rental shops too. Most of our Ski Packages include ski hire, so don’t fret! If your ski hire doesn’t include a helmet, we recommend hiring one for extra safety. If you’re headed on a family ski break, check with your resort because sometimes children’s ski hire is free.
3. Ski passes
The ski pass is your golden ticket to gaining access to the slopes. Without the pass you won’t be able to ride the ski lift up the mountain. Many resorts have various ski passes that gain access to different areas on the slopes, and prices vary accordingly. Don’t worry though, because our ski packages usual include a ski pass for the duration of your stay, just like our ‘Short Bansko 3* ski break’.
4. Try and get some practice
Everyone has to start somewhere… Eddie the Eagle was a newbie at one stage too! Before heading out all guns blaring, we think it’s best to get some practice in first. There are loads of indoor ski slopes and dry slopes in the UK where qualified instructors can help you get to grips with the basic concepts. One or two lessons at the indoor slopes should be enough to let you get the feel of it, but have as many as you need!
Helpfully, most resorts run a ‘ski school’ for beginners to practice on before hitting the real slopes. They run through a series of lessons to help you build up your skills and knowledge for when you tackle the snow on your own, so if you feel unsure of yourself definitely avail of these services (although you may have to book in advance). Thankfully, some of our ski packages include ski lessons for beginners, or if they don’t we can always look into arranging some for you –just ask.
5. Travel Insurance
We’ve all seen those epic fail YouTube videos, and although they can provide a chuckle for the viewer, we imagine it’s not such an enjoyable experience for the person who’s faceplanting the snow. Accidents can happen to anyone on the slopes, so we recommend buying good travel insurance that covers winter sports to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.
With all this in mind, you’re more than ready to enjoy your first ski break! Check out our selection of ski holidays here, where we have breaks in Italy, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Bulgaria. Whether it be a solo ski holiday, or a ski break with friends or family, we have you covered!