What To Pack For a Weekend Ski Trip
We’ve recently been away for several ski weekends (or midweek breaks) over the past couple of months and one of the biggest headaches has been knowing what to pack! However, after such a lot of practice I’ve now got it down to a fine art – so if you’re planning a short ski weekend and want some tips, read on! If you’re going for a week or longer – just add extra quantities as required.
Ski Equipment – To Take Or To Rent?
The first thing to get clear is whether you will be renting or taking your own ski equipment. Skis are bulky and I’d advise renting them if you’re going by public transport or flying. It’s always interesting to try out new skis and personally I enjoy comparing different makes and types. However, if you’re travelling by car and you have space it’s cheaper to take your own and of course you know them too.
Ski Helmets and Goggles
Ski helmets, however, are fairly personal – so whenever I can, I will take my own – and of course my own goggles. However, with some of the newer helmets like the Alpina, which come with a built in visor, you may not need goggles.
In any case do pack your favourite sunglasses – as you’ll probably need these whilst you’re enjoying a sunny mountain top lunch or après ski!
Ski boots pose a different dilemma – and people seem to be divided into two camps. I have a very comfortable pair of boots which I bought some while ago. However, they are so comfortable that I really recommend taking your own boots whenever you can. If you have feet (and legs) that easily fit most boots, this is not such a huge problem. However, after having two painful ski rental experiences on consecutive weekends I’m now switching back to taking my own boots whenever I can. Boots which don’t suit your foot (or in my case my calves) can be seriously uncomfortable and ruin not just your skiing but sometimes the whole day!
Ski Bags for Transportation
You can buy some really nice zip up ski boot bags which have a separate compartment for your helmet and goggles and a few bits and bobs too. These are really useful when travelling and also great if you’re going for a day ski trip with friends as you’ve got everything in one place.
If I’m taking skis with me I will take them in a long ski bag with carrying handle which makes them easier to carry.
Smaller Items of Clothing
I always stow my ski socks and ski gloves in with my helmet so that I have them all in one place. Another thing I never ski without is a neck fleece or tube which can extend to cover most of my face in harsh, windy or snowy conditions. Being a bit a sissy I tend not to venture out when it’s blowing a gale or raining or snowing. However, in the mountains conditions can change very quickly and a fleecy warm, extendable neck scarf can be a lifesaver. Not only can it keep your face warmer but it will also protect your skin from the ravages of wind, sleet, snow and rain.
Ski Jacket, Ski Pants and Base Layers
Layering is the key to ski wear as your body temperature will depend on many factors – how cold it is, the wind chill factor, how much exercise you’re doing and how long you’re stading round (waiting for your friends etc ) or sitting on chair lifts.
I always make sure to wear a good quality base layer, like for example the Columbia omni-heat base layers which comes in both long armed tops and as “long johns” too.
Next, a good quality mid layer such as a long armed ski top, or a turtle neck or a fleece is a comfortable choice. I prefer something which has a zip if at all possible so that if you get really hot whilst you’re in a restaurant or bar you have a bit of flexibility.
Buy a quality ski jacket. There are plenty on the market to choose from but a good one will last you several seasons and keep you warm and dry in the harshest of conditions. It goes without saying that it needs to be waterproof and you’ll want one with plenty of zip pockets and a zip up cuff pocket ideally to fit your ski pass. There are so many models to choose from but the proper ski ones should always come with a I have a Columbia Ski Jacket and ski pants which both have a wonderful reflective lining. The technology is called Omnia 3D heat (you can read more about it here) and these jackets really keep you warm.
Socks and Gloves
Don’t forget your extremities as this is where you will feel the cold first. Invest in good quality ski socks. Not only will they keep your feet warm and toasty but they will last a long time too.
The same goes for gloves. Good quality gloves are soo important! If like me you get cold hands, you can do one of three things – or a combination of them all: get an inner liner glove (preferably silk if you can find one), wear mittens in instead of gloves (together with the liners) and you can also buy individual one-use hand warmers which cost just a few francs and really do warm you up.
Sun Tan Lotion
The sun’s rays are very strong in the mountains and the reflected light magnifies their strength so whatever you do don’t forget to pack a high factor Sun Tan Lotion to protect your skin.
Whilst you’re at it, do make sure to take lip balm too. Another accessory which could prove useful in an emergency is a pocket Foil blanket. These foil blankets take no space at all and could keep you warm in an emergency whilst waiting for medical help. You can buy them at all good ski stores.
The easiest thing to do is to wear your ski jacket to travel and try to ring the changes to your travel outfit to avoid carrying too much luggage. For women packing a dress doesn’t take too much space if you’re travelling somewhere elegant and want to dress up. Scarves and accessories can change the look. However, shoes, and particularly heels do take up a lot of room – so decide in advance on what you need and plan your outfits.
Winter Snow Boots
A pair of Snow Boots with a good grip are the perfect Après Ski shoe. The best ones I have found are the Columbia Bangor Omni-Heath Michelin Boot. Not only do they look good and keep you warm but they have excellent grip in icy conditions. It is so important to have good grip whilst walking in the snow and ice in Winter – not just on the slopes but on the streets too – and these are supremely practical.
Don’t forget your swimming costume as there is nothing better than relaxing in a swimming pool after a hard day’s skiing.
PACKING LIST – FOR THE SLOPES
- Skis / Snowboard
- Ski boots / Snowboard boots
- Ski Socks
- Thermal Base Layer (top)
- Thermal Mid Layer (top)
- Ski Jacket
- Ski Pants
- Thermal Ski bottoms
- Ski Gloves
- Ski Glove Liners
- Hand warmers
- Neck fleece
- Sun tan lotion
- Lip balm
- Pocket Foil blanket – these foldable blankets take no space and could keep you warm in an emergency
PACKING LIST – FOR APRES SKI
- Jeans or smart trousers and shirt or top to travel
- Winter Ski Boots
- Light dress & heels. Alternately a couple of blouses to go with trousers
- For men a couple of smart shirts or polo shirts
- Underwear, nightwear, jewellery, makeup, toiletries, hair styler
- Throw, scarf to accessorize
- Swimsuit / Trunks
- Mobile phones, tablets, chargers, plug adaptors if necessary,
Pack For The Car Too
If driving to your destination don’t forget to pack water and snacks for the journey, cash and change for any tolls or parking, a shovel (in case of heavy snow en route or getting snowed in at destination) and some blankets just in case. Also make sure you have your phone chargers / adaptors and cables too.
Ensure your is equipped with Winter tyres and or snow chains.
Get Quality Equipment Appropriate For Your Ability
It’s important to get good quality equipment which will suit your skiing ability and which will last. My whole family have been going to Sport Shop Time Out in Uster for years as not only do they give advice and help in English – but they are also extremely helpful and patient too!
Sport Shop Time Out
Address: Pfäffikerstrasse 30, 8610 Uster (closed Mondays)
Whatever you do have fun in the mountains!
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