So, you’ve finally decided to take that ski trip I’ve been banging on about all this time – good on you! Skiing is the best! Fresh powder, untouched tree runs, and warm cosy fire places – HEAVEN!
Truthfully, there are a lot of logistics to consider when planning a ski trip, especially if it’s your first one. I’m hoping this post helps you to get off on the right foot of what to pack, and a few considerations to keep in mind for your first ever skiing adventure 🎉.
What to Pack
Skiing or snowboarding 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 – If you’re travelling only for riding, then you are definitely way better off lugging all of your gear with you, rather than hiring when you arrive. If you don’t have your own gear, hiring is fine too!
- 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 assistant convince you to just take the boots they’ve put you in, if they’re not comfortable. It’s so incredibly important that they are relatively comfortable and fit well, otherwise you’ll spend your time in pain and misery 👎🏻.
- Ski or Board Bag – even if you’re a skier, I would always recommend purchasing a snowboard bag. They’re generally wider and you can get long ones, with wheels too! We manage to fit both of our boots, one set of ski’s and poles and one board and bindings in a 179cm Dakine snowboard bag. We use some of our snow gear as padding to protect the gear, and the rest of our clothes go in our own suitcases.
- Helmet – super important to protect your noggin. 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 will need these to protect your eyes from the glare, flying snow and wind! They don’t need to be amazing or expensive ones. Just try to remember not to touch the insides. Otherwise you’ll have a nightmare de-fogging them every 2 runs.
- Gloves – or mittens are another essential item for your ski trip. If you are generally a cold person, mittens are definitely warmer than gloves. You can also buy some thin ‘inners’ to wear as well as the waterproof glove for extra warmth.
- Ski Jacket & Pants – I would hope that this is a given 😂. Make sure these items are warm and water proof. I would recommend something with at least 10,000mm waterproof rating. This means, even if that snow turns to heavier snow (or rain 😢), you’ll at least get 1.5 hours before it starts to sneak through the material. 10,000k warmth is another rating to look out for when buying your jacket and pants.
- Thermals – Perfect for wearing underneath your snow gear to help keep you warm! You can get some amazing thermals for a small price from places like Kathmandu or even Aldi. 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 materials 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. For example, you should 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 (it bruises, I promise).
- Mid-Layer & Hoodie – So, I get really cold! I like to wear a t-shirt over my thermal, and then a hoodie on top. Sometimes I even add a vest on top of the hoodie 🤷🏼♀️. This is obviously 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!
So we have the main important elements sorted that will have you feeling super schmick and confident on the snow. You will also need a few things for the behind the scenes support. Chuck these few things in your jacket pocket to have all bases covered.
For your Jacket:
- Snacks! – I like to pack small snacks in my pockets 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 gone in for lunch 🙌🏼.
- Lip Balm with SPF – the wind, sun, and snow will all absolutely destroy your lips. It’s even better if the lip balm has some sort of SPF protection in it too 👌🏼
- Tissues – there is literally 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. So gross, and uncomfortable for everyone involved.
- Hand & Toe Warmers – if you get really, really cold, chuck a few hand or toe warmers in your pocket. It could be the difference between you staying out all morning, or going in to defrost those fingers and toes, that you’re not sure you have anymore.
Ski holidays are not just all about the skiing part! They’re also about the 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, that you may not think of, for when you’re adventuring around the village:
For the Village:
- Street Jacket – It’s a really good idea to have a seperate jacket to your snow jacket for wearing around the village. If the snow is really wet one day, and your ski jacket is wet, you don’t want to wear it around town. I personally have a few ski jackets, and their style is appropriate for the village as well as the slopes. If you don’t have another ski jacket, a nice thick warm coat will do the trick!
- Winter Boots – For example Sorrels or Helly Hansens. 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? Devastating… I recommend something that is waterproof and tall – I love something that I can wear over my jeans.
- Winter Gloves – A knitted or leather pair of gloves always come in handy when it is bitterly cold outside!
- Beanie – Because you’ll be wearing a helmet on snow 😉, you might forget about a beanie. I mainly wear a beanie between buildings to keep my head warm, but it’s perfectly acceptable to wear them inside as well.
- Swim Suit – Many ski resorts have hot tubs or indoor swimming pools 😍. These are an amazing way to defrost while watching stunning mountain sunsets. Hot tubs also do amazing things for your sore, tired muscles 👍🏼.
The most important thing to remember about your packing list is – don’t try to be super fashionable with your wardrobe. Warm, dry and comfortable is the aim here. My idea of dressing up in the snow is to wear a sweater instead of a hoodie 😂.
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
Especially if it’s your first time skiing or snowboarding. And that’s okay! I still fall over – heaps! I still have tantrums and cry when I’m having a bad ski day 😂🤷🏼♀️. Learning to ski can be really frustrating, but just know that you’re not alone. We have all been there. Don’t forget to laugh at yourself, in between the crying.
I’ve had some epic stacks right under the chair lift, where the people sat on it have laughed and cheered me on, or groaned in sympathy. Anyone who tells you they haven’t been there, is downright lying.
Take a Lesson
Whether it’s your first real time on snow, or you haven’t been in a long time, 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
Staying on top of your hydration and hunger is super important. I always start the day with a big brekky, fill my pockets with snacks, and budget a lunch stop. Because skiing is hard work and this girl gets hungry. You also need the energy so your body can keep you nice and warm.
Hot Tip – Most resorts have areas with free water stations so you don’t need to spend money on bottled water. Have you ever tasted fresh alpine water? Delicious 🙌🏼.
In terms of lunch, if your ski trip is in Australia, you should 100% pack an esky of food to eat at the car. Resorts like Perisher charge as much as $25 AUD for a plate of Nachos 😱. In other countries like Canada and Japan, even New Zealand, you can get a decent, filling lunch for as little as $10.
I think that’s a wrap! If there is anything else that you think I have missed, or have questions about, feel free to leave me a comment below. I’d love to know where you are thinking of taking your very first ski holiday! ☺️
If you were interested in your first ski holiday being to Japan, check out my posts ‘The In’s & Out’s of your First Ski Trip to Japan’ and ‘What to Expect from the Land of the Snowiest Winters on Earth!’ for some inspiration ☃️.