If you’re anything like me, you like a good packing list. I am one of those overly organised people that you can go to for everything and anything on holiday. Paracetamol? Got it. Plasters? Got it. 5 shades of red lipstick? Got it.
When I was preparing for my recent trip to Val d’sere I was looking for packing guidance online. Despite there being an abundance I still felt like I didn’t know what I really needed. As a first time skier, it can be overwhelming to read a 2 page list of items you supposedly require. To make it easier for you, I have noted down the key things you actually need and those pesky items you might not be aware of when you’re new to the skiing game:
Sunglasses and Goggles:
You need a good pair of high quality ski goggles. The sun is bright and the white snow only magnifies this. When you’re on the slopes, particularly when you’re learning, you need to see as much as possible! Trust me, invest in a good pair of goggles; I wore some awesome rainbow lense Roxy ones. The thing no one tells you about though, is that you also need sunglasses. When you’re sat having lunch on the slopes, you can’t wear your goggles but the sun is just as bright. Make sure you get some that are broad spectrum and not your most valuable pair, as they might get damaged on your mountain adventures.
A Small Rucksack or Fanny Pack:
You need more than you realise on the slopes, and loading up your pockets is uncomfortable and inconvenient. I recommend taking a small backpack or a fanny pack to carry around your essentials like your camera, keys, hat, sunglasses, etc. I used this super cheap black one and it worked a treat.
Skiing is undeniably photogenic. The beautiful snow capped mountains provide the perfect backdrop for gorgeous images and videos. I personally recommend taking a GoPro camera in waterproof casing to capture your icey adventures. It makes for great footage, you can see some of mine here, here and here. I use the GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera and I highly recommend it, as the screen allows you to make sure everything is in frame. In terms of attachments, the best one is an extendable selfie stick with a wrist tie in case you drop it. If video content isn’t your thing, just take your favourite point and shoot camera. I personally use a Canon one as it is compact and easy to use. Just make sure you get a waterproof case to avoid any snow damage!
When you’re skiing you can wear a helmet for safety – something that I highly recommend. However, people often forget to take a hat for lunch time and apres ski. Make sure you take a good quality bobble hat with a soft lining to keep your ears warm. I wore one from Barts.
Obviously you need to take gloves, but here I want to emphasise the thick element. Its quite literally below freezing, and if you have poor circulation like me, your hands will suffer. I recommend getting specialist ski gloves which will definitely do the trick. Otherwise make sure you have some hand warmers at the ready!
Of course you’re going to want to take your phone, but just make sure it is zipped tightly in your pocket. When you take it out, keep a firm grip on it otherwise it may fall victim to water damage in the snow. I also recommend taking a small portable charger to keep it topped up, to ensure you can keep on taking your smug skiing selfies!
When dressing for skiing, it is all about the layers. I recommend taking a good pair of thermal base layers (mine were from Odlo, pictured here), as well as a couple of thin fleeces and leggings to stack up underneath your jacket and salopettes. It is better to wear too many layers and take them off, than to have too few and be shivering. As we went in December, it wasn’t too cold and I was fine wearing just my base layers and my jacket, but I was warned that later in the season you need to bundle up as temperatures can get below -15c.
Thick Ski Kit:
You need to take your own ski jacket and salopettes (ski trousers). I recommend investing in good quality, thick and comfortable clothing that you can wear for hours. The thicker the better if you easily get cold like me, but make sure they’re flexible so you can maintain mobility! I wore a Roxy jacket and Odlo salopettes, both of which worked perfectly.
Apres Ski Clothes:
After a day on the slopes, everyone goes for “apres ski” drinks. These tend to be hot chocolates, mulled wine or beer. For many this is where the night starts, and it doesn’t end until the early hours of the following morning. For others this is just a chance to catch up and reflect on the day with their friends and family. Most people go straight from the piste in their full ski kit, but if you’re heading out for drinks a little later you can go in “normal clothes”. This doesn’t mean you need to dress up though, everything is very casual. I recommend wearing a comfortable top, jumper, jeans and boots. Take your jacket for walking between bars, you can pop it in the cloakroom if needed.
Winter Boots and Thick Socks:
Even when you’re not skiing, you can’t escape the snow and as a result you need a good quality pair of winter boots. I wore my Cat boots, which were absolutely ideal for apres ski and exploring the resort. Make sure you invest in a couple of pairs of specialist ski socks to keep your toes warm!
The cold crisp air and freezing temperatures leads to dry skin and chapped lips, so I highly recommend taking lip balm with you on the slopes. For the evenings, make sure you have a rich moisturiser and/or a serum to rehydrate your skin. During the daytime, I also recommend taking a hairbrush or comb, as hat hair is a serious issue.
Enthusiasm and Persistence:
These are the two most important things you can take with you. As a beginner, skiing is hard. Really hard. You have to have the patience and persistence to stick with it when at first it seems impossible. A hefty dose of enthusiasm also helps to dull the pain of falling on your arse for the 17th time, and makes the whole experience more enjoyable! I promise that if you go into a skiing holiday with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you will absolutely love it and you’ll most likely want to come back again and again.
Have a great trip!