Your First Ski Trip – Tips, Tricks & a Packing List!

Your First Ski Trip – Tips, Tricks & a Packing List!

How to Survive Your Very First Ski Trip.

So, you’ve finally decided to take that ski trip I’ve been harping on about all this time – good on you! Skiing is the best! Fresh powder, untouched tree runs, warm cosy fire places and lots of Glühwein – HEAVEN! Truthfully, there are a lot of logistics to consider when planning a ski trip. I’m hoping this post helps you off on the right foot for your first ever skiing adventure.

I’d like to quickly point out that to me the words skiing, riding and boarding are interchangeable – don’t make me write ski/board this whole post just because your boarders have a complex 😛

What to Pack:

It’s true – skiing is an expensive sport. However, for your first trip, it’s not important to have all the high tech gear or expensive outerwear. It is important to have warm, comfortable and well functioning gear to support you out there in the weather.

For the Slopes:
  • Ski’s/Poles/Snowboard/Bindings – depending on the distance you’re travelling, where you are going pre & post ski trip, and how much luggage allowance your airline of choice allows – you may be better off hiring ski’s on arrival – especially if it’s your first time!
  • Boots – I will always suggest to bring your own boots. Rental boots can be excruciatingly painful. If you do need to rent boots, don’t let the rental assistance bully you into taking the boots they’ve put you in.  It will save those feet from shrivelling up and dying (trust me!).
  • Ski or Board Bag – even if you’re a skier, I would always recommend purchasing a snowboard bag. That way, you can use your bulky ski wear as padding for you ski’s and save room in your other suitcase for layers to keep you warm! Plus they also have wheels 😀
  • Helmet – very, very important. Don’t even try and argue with me! Even if you are going at a snails pace, you don’t know what the other riders around you are doing, and unfortunately some people are irresponsible in their riding.
  • Ski Goggles – You need these to protect your eyes from the glare, flying snow and wind! They don’t need to be amazing ones, but remember not to touch the insides. Otherwise you’ll have a nightmare de-fogging them every 2 runs.
  • Gloves – Mittens are the warmest!
  • Ski Jacket//Pants – This is a given yeah? Make sure these items are warm and water proof. I woul
    d recommend something with at least 10,000mm waterproof rating. This means, even if that snow turns to rain heavier snow, you’ll at least get 2 hours before it starts to sneak through the jacket.
  • Thermals – You can get some amazing thermals for a small price! Try going for something with merino wool in it. My favourites are Le Bent, Mons Royal and Burton.
  • Ski Socks – Again, the thinner the better. It’s all about the material make, sweat wicking ability and how comfortable the sock sits in your boot. It’s really important that within your boot, you only have one layer. ie. wear 3/4 length thermals, and long socks. There is nothing worse than having a chunky thermal layover for your boot to drill relentlessly into your shin. 
  • Mid Layer – I get cold! I like to wear a t-shirt over the top of my thermal to give an extra barrier to the cold. 
  • Hoodie – Okay, I get really cold! This is obvious weather dependent. If it’s warmer, I will always give up the mid layer and keep the hoodie.
  • Neck Warmer – While most jackets zip up over your chin, I find a neck warmer handy to pull all the way up to your cheekbones. It’s surprising how cold the air can be when you are zooming through amazing powder!

Now that you’ve got the outwear sorted, and you’re looking and feeling super schmick – you need a few things for the behind the scenes support. Chuck these things in your jacket pocket, to have all bases covered.

For your Jacket:
  • Lip Balm with SPF – the wind//sun//snow will absolutely destroy your lips. Even better if said lip balm has some sort of SPF protection.
  • Tissues – there is nothing worse than sitting on a chairlift, trying to have a conversation with a lovely random fellow skier, andddd your nose is running like a tap – gross.
  • Sunscreen – yes, the sun still comes out at the snow! In fact, it can be just as strong as on the beach. Even if you only have a small portion of your face showing, it’s important to lather that up!
  • Snacks! – I like to pack small snacks like protein bars, sesame snaps, chocolate bars – anything that can give you a hit of energy, without being bulky in your pockets. The more snacks you have, the more laps you can get out of that powder while all the other suckers riders succumb to lunch!
  • Hand Warmers – if you get super dooper cold, chuck a few hand warmers in your pocket. It could be the difference between you staying out all morning, or going in to defrost those fingers that you’re not sure you have anymore.

Now – Ski holidays are not all about the skiing part! They’re also about the resort village part. The Aprés, the food, the glühwein, the hot tubs, the relaxing by the fire place – ski resort atmosphere is my favourite kind of atmosphere! The good part is, most properties, restaurants and bars have amazing central heating – so inside, you can wear normal clothes. Here are a few things I would recommend packing for when you’re adventuring around the village:

For the Village:
  • Jeans – depending on how long you’re planning on wandering around for, you could squeeze those thermals underneath to keep you warmer, longer.
  • Sweaters//Warm Tops – Something long-sleeve that is going to keep you warm!
  • Jacket – I personally have a few ski jackets, and their style is appropriate for the street as well as the slopes. If you don’t have another ski jacket, a nice thick warm coat will do the trick!
  • Winter Boots ie. Sorrels – Most importantly, these boots need to have good grip! Can you imagine traipsing around in slippery shoes and breaking something before you even hit the slopes!? Devastation. I recommend something that is waterproof and tall – I love something that I can wear over my jea
  • ns.
  • Winter Gloves – A knitted or leather pair of gloves always come in handy when it is bitterly cold outside!
  • Beanie – I know some love the ear muffs or head bands, however, I’m a stickler for a cute, cosy beanie. 
  • Swim Suit – Many ski resorts have hot tubs or indoor swimming pools! They’re an amazing way to defrost while watching stunning mountain sunsets. Or even just relaxing on your rest day. Hot tubs are also a god send for those sore muscles
  • Pj’s, Underwear, Socks, Toiletries – I think you know the rest 😀                                                                                                                                  

The most important thing to remember about your packing list is – don’t try to be fashionable with your wardrobe. Warm, dry and comfortable is the aim here guys. My idea of dressing up in the snow is a cute sweater 🙂 (as above).

Some retail shops or online stores you can find some of these products include Backcountry.com (US), Torpedo7, Rhythm SnowSports, your local ski shop, or your outdoor specialists like Kathmandu. 

What to Expect: – Tips & Tricks to Enjoy your Ski Holiday

You’ll Definitely Fall Over – a lot.

It’s your first time skiing/boarding right? So you’re probably going to fall over/chuck tantrums/cry/scream/give up – don’t forget to laugh at yourself! I’ve had some epic stacks right under the chair lift, where the people sat on it have laughed/cheered me on, or groaned in sympathy – we have all been there (see right! 😛 ). Anyone who tells you differently is lying. 

Take a Lesson!

I would highly recommend booking in for a lesson on your first day. Not only will you get advice from a professional, you will also get a tour around the mountain. Lessons are not just for newbies. They’re also great way to refresh your memory on how to get down the mountain safely. It’s important to take it slow, and never overestimate your ability.

Stay Fed & Watered Throughout the Day.

Stay hydrated – both during the day and whilst taking advantage for the Aprés ski happy hours! Almost every bar in town will have some sort of special on between 4pm and 6pm – enjoying your well earned beer during this time will also help you stick to a nice budget. 

Aside from having snacks in your pocket, it’s important to have a big brekky before you start the day and you will need to stop for lunch at some point (c’mon, you know I’m right!). Skiing is no small feat, especially if you’re new at it. You need your energy to master the art of flying down the mountain on slippery pieces of wood! You also need the energy so your body can help keep you warm. 

If you are concerned about sticking to a tight budget, I would recommend looking into self-contained accommodation. This way, you can buy a bunch of groceries and eat at least two meals a day at home. Resort food is expensive! Don’t waste your hard earned dollars on a $15 sandwich – waste it on beer instead 😀

With that, I think you’re ready to hit the slopes!

Where are you taking your first ski holiday? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below 🙂