By the time you read this (I’ve always wanted to write that!) I’ll be half way across France and on the way to Morzine in the Alps for our annual ski trip. We usually go around Easter time and enjoy great snow, sunshine and beer breaks sitting in brightly coloured deck chairs, jackets off catching some rays. In fact if you shut your eyes the sound of skiers swishing by could almost be the sound of waves breaking on a hot beach! But this year the mountains were calling early; it’ll be much colder and we’ll be drinking vin-chaud or warming our hands on a hot chocolate in steamy-windowed alpine cabins. Just a few of the reasons why I love the mountains…
What to take Skiing?
It’s always a challenge knowing what to pack but this year it’s even more important to get it right. The last thing I want to be thinking about when ripping through the powder is feeling frosty. So what to pack for ski holiday?
Let’s start at the bottom – literally! Pants, well thermal leggings and long-sleeved vests. Lycra or scientifically designed synthetic fabrics cling to the body and keep you warm, retain heat and wick moisture away from the skin. Wool makes for a good base-layer too. Having a good insulated base-layer is crucial for keeping warm in the snow. Make sure the tops are a good length so you can tuck them in. A high neck with half-zip will keep you extra toasty. We’re skiing for six days so I’ll be packing three of each.
Thick, warm thermal tube socks (four pairs) – I prefer them long, up to the knee, without seams as they’ll rub in tight ski-boots.
Micro fleeces make great mid-layers and I take two thin and two thicker fleeces. I like fleeces which have a high neck and half zip with sleeves which tuck over the wrists with a thumb-hole – it’s good not to have any gaps where the cold can creep in.
Ski or snowboard jacket – with hood. (I’ll be skiing) The hood on my jacket can zip right the way up to my nose – useful when it’s snowing hard as it protects my face. There are also loads of pockets (phone, money, tissues) and a lift-pass pocket in the arm which makes for easy scanning when going through the ski-lift gates. Ski pants or boarding pants – I’ll be taking two pairs one black, one pink! Can you see a theme yet?
Gloves – 3 pairs. The old pair will be left in the car in case I get to the mountain and find I’ve forgotten my gloves. This happened once and I had to buy more – proved costly! I’ll also be taking a snug fleece hat that covers my ears and a neck warmer. Goggles – absolutely essential when it’s snowing. Sunglasses – well you never know…
I have ski-boots, skis and poles now – I used to hire (had one horrendous day on the slopes with ski-boots half a size too small and as a result three even more horrendous days not being able to walk properly) ski boots were acquired the following Christmas. Boots, skis and poles are all packed!
Grippy, waterproof snow boots for wearing to and from the slopes and in the evenings. Great with jeans and a sloppy jumper for après-ski. Thermal leggings can be worn under jeans for extra warmth and a few jumpers and tops should see me through the evenings – again layering is key.
That’s it as far as clothing goes but there are other ski essentials that shouldn’t be forgotten. Sunscreen – UV radiation is stronger in alpine areas and when it’s reflected by the snow it’s even more severe. I take a factor 50 sunscreen and a protective lip balm.
I’ll take a mini-rucksack for sunscreen, Snickers bar, tissues and camera. My ‘Little Hotties’ hand warmers will also go in the rucksack just in case – this’ll be the first time I’ve used them so I’ll report back on how effective they are. The mobile phone is definitely coming – useful for GPS and contacting the rest of our ski group and this year I’ve got a new app; Ski Track which shows where you’ve skied while tracking distance, speed, altitude and duration – all running on minimal battery life. We’ll see…
Apart from the usual holiday essentials; paperwork, toiletries, chargers etc I thinks that’s it. Or is it? I haven’t mentioned a ski helmet have I? Think I might be popping by the ski shop when we arrive…