When it comes to going on ski holidays we know a thing or two. We’ve been experts for over 35 years now and whilst a lot has changed over the years, some things don’t – like the things you actually need for a week’s ski holiday.
Most accommodations will provide all your home comforts so you really only need to pack things you’ll need when outside. Everyone will have a few comforts they can’t go on holiday without but apart from those small items, we’ve come up with this definitive list…
10 top things you need to pack for a ski holiday
1. Ski wear – layers, technical fabrics
OK this is more than one item, but the key to an efficient ski outfit is temperature control, aka layering. From the inside out, to last you the week you’ll need three pairs of good ski socks, a couple of base layers (bottoms and tops), ski pants, a microfleece/down second layer, a waterproof jacket/shell and gloves. It’s a good idea to wear glove liners in the depths of winter for insulation, and waterproof gloves or a second dry pair in your backpack if the snow is heavy.
Super handy for hand-luggage to and from your destination, and also out on the mountain to store your snacks, water and spare layers. Choose a pack that’s not too big and not too small; 30 litres is usually about right. a ‘low-profile’ sports backpack will be the most comfortable for long days’ skiing, plus they tend to have waist and chest straps for added security and pockets in the right places. A run of the mill backpack will do the job, but you might find it uncomfortable and cumbersome when actually skiing.
Regardless of the weather, you need to protect your peepers from the sun’s UV rays. A good pair of ski goggles are great for all weathers when on the mountain and a similarly good pair of sunglasses are a great idea for travelling and après. If you are a person who wears glasses, try to bring lenses like clariti contact lenses, as these may be easier to wear when you are out skiing. UVA & UVB protection should be the minimum requirement for goggles and sunglasses and polarized lenses are even better in the snow.
4. Sun protection
Absolutely essential. A high factor sun cream and lip balm will protect your skin and keep it moisturized in all conditions. Do not leave home without it. You can find sunscreen in resort, but it tends to be really expensive.
5. A Buff or neck-gaiter
With multiple ways of wearing to protect your head and neck from the sun and cold, a neck gaiter is a great garment to tuck into your jacket pocket for when you need it. The lightweight breathable fabric takes up almost no space and yet proves itself invaluable in almost all weathers. Avoid the thick fleece ones – you’ll be way too hot and it’ll just get wet, heavy and uncomfortable.
The most important piece of equipment for skiing or snowboarding is a helmet. You shouldn’t set foot on the slopes without one and if you have a friend who doesn’t, you should do your best to convince them. Anyone who uses the excuse that there wasn’t enough room in their luggage for one should take a look at the next section and jettison some pointless items for this lifesaving piece of kit.
7. Loafing / loungewear
When you get home after a long day on the slopes and kick your feet up for a while, a comfy pair of PJs or joggers and a hoody is just the ticket. You’ll probably end up in your loafing gear every day at some point so it’s well worth the space it takes up in your luggage.
8. Slippers / house shoes
Most chalets have a ‘no shoes inside’ rule, so after walking through a puddle of melted snow in the hallway for the 3rd time in the afternoon you’ll kick yourself for leaving your cosy slippers at home! Surprisingly, these are often the most envied item of kit on the list for those without.
9. Everyday clothes
Off the slopes and outside of your accommodation you’ll obviously need some clothes in which to explore the resort villages. But rather than pack an outfit for every day and end up taking home a bagful of clean clothes, consider how much time you’ll actually be spending in your civvies. A pair or two of jeans, two or three tops and a sweatshirt is all you really need when you consider you’ve got a lovely warm ski jacket to wear over the top.
10. Phone charger + gubbins, inc. travel adapter
Can you imagine living a day without your phone?! What a nightmare! Forgetting to take a travel adapter means you might have to shell out three or four times the normal cost to buy one in resort. For extra security, consider bringing a power bank so you can recharge on-the-fly (the cold temperatures can wreak havoc on mobile battery life). Just don’t forget your charging cables!
Things you DON’T need for your ski holiday
When you realise how much empty space you now have in your bag, the temptation is to cram in anything at arm’s length to fill up the empty space. “I paid for 20kg of hold luggage and I’m going to use it ALLLLL!”, I hear you cry. But consider this, you’ll spend most of your ski days in the same ski clothing, most of your time in your accommodation chilling out in the same comfy gear and most of your evenings in the bars, boiling hot because you wore too many layers for the dancefloor!
Here are some of the usual suspects that take up too much space in your ski holiday luggage, which you could probably do without:
Towels – All our catered chalets provide these, as do most apartments and hotels. (If you are staying in an apartment or hotel, please check if they are provided on the property page on the website).
More than two pairs of jeans – If you need more, you’re not skiing enough!
Your laptop – As tempting as it is to bring one to watch movies on, you won’t use it anywhere near as much as you think.
More than one pair of shoes – When you’re wandering the streets of a ski resort you just need one good pair of shoes or boots. If it’s a really warm spring ski holiday we’ll grant you a pair of flip flops! Top Tip: Even if it’s warm when you leave, wear your biggest/heaviest shoes for travelling – it’ll save you space and weight in your luggage.
A bulging washbag – Truth be told, you can buy most toiletries in resort for the same price as at home (barring suncream). Save a load of space – and faff at airport security with all those little clear plastic bags if you take your toiletries in hand luggage – by skipping the washbag altogether and buying the essentials when you arrive.
A second coat or jacket – A real no-brainer. You’ve probably got a ski jacket that is purpose-built for cold, wet conditions. Why take another jacket which bulks out your luggage and you’ll only wear to and from the airport anyway? This one will save you loads of room.
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