If you’re wondering what to pack for a ski trip as a beginner, here’s the Ski Magic packing checklist for your first skiing/snowboarding holiday:
Outer layers need to be waterproof and breathable. If you’re coming skiing for the first time, it makes sense to try and borrow these things from a friend rather than splashing out on buying your own, or try looking for second hand in charity shops or online. Ski gear is made specifically for cold temperatures and snow, so it’s ideal to choose a ski jacket rather than a hiker’s raincoat.
1 ski jacket: There are two types: 1) a ‘shell’ which is a thin waterproof jacket to be worn with a ‘midlayer’ underneath, or 2) a ski jacket which has padded insulation
1 pair of ‘salopettes’ or ski pants
1 pair of ski gloves/mitts
1 midlayer – skiers tend to choose a fleece or a light, technical fabric jacket or thin down jacket
1 neck warmer – much better than a woolly scarf
3-4 pairs of proper ski socks (handwash if you need to)
1 pair thermal pants/long johns
2-3 thermal tops
1 pair UV protection sports sunglasses
1 pair ski goggles (much better than sunglasses on a snowy day)
1 sports rucksack packed with high SPF suncream, lip balm and refillable water bottle – big enough to hold a spare layer or to carry anything you want to take off!
It’s pretty casual around a ski resort; think practical rather than swish unless you’re planning to go to really swanky places! Whilst it’s chilly outside, it’s always very cosy inside chalets, bars and restaurants. So – as always – layers are key! You’ll also be spending quite a lot of time dressed in ski gear during the daytime, so you won’t need quite so many clothes as you’d think, unless you have a habit of getting covered in beer every night…
Thinking of taking your favourite winter coat? Most people walk around resort in their ski jacket which saves on luggage space, especially if you wear it to travel in!
1 pair boots – ideally waterproof and grippy enough to cope with ice or slush. You could wear trainers or heels, but you’ll probably slip over or get very cold feet!
2 pairs trousers (or thick tights/leggings)
1 hat & a pair of woolly gloves
In your accommodation
Inside, you’ll probably be toasty warm so don’t think you’re going to need loads of knitwear! Most likely you’ll be fine in a single layer in the chalet. In the mornings you’ll probably have breakfast in your thermal undies or PJs, then get dressed to go skiing. Once you come back from skiing you’ll change into normal clothes for going out or for dining in.
Slippers – you won’t want to wear snowy, wet boots inside
Swimming things – if your chalet has a hot tub, sauna or swimming pool
Underwear – take extras as you’ll be showering and changing after skiing
TLC kit – some painkillers (for achey limbs and/or hangovers), plasters in case your ski boots rub, moisturiser for dry skin on cold days
Entertainment: games, books, music etc. although our chalets have board games, a music system and WiFi.
Things you can rent or buy in resort
Skis, boots, poles – you’ll rent these as a beginner
A helmet, which we strongly recommend hiring
Ski gloves, goggles, ski socks, thermals, neck-warmers, hats, ski jackets and salopettes are all available to buy in resort shops
Passport plus driving licence if you’re hiring a car
Wallet – best to tell your bank you’re going abroad before you leave
Insurance – please ensure it covers winter sports
Phone/camera plus chargers, cables and adapters
Straighteners – hairdryers are available in the chalet, but you might want these to sort out your hat hair!
Glasses wearer? Take spares if you have them. For skiing it’s a good idea to wear contact lenses and goggles, or prescription sunglasses. Some goggles are big enough to take a pair of glasses underneath but you’ll suffer with steamy lenses!
What to book in advance
Ski lessons – it’s best to book this before you arrive in resort so that everything is organised for your first day
Ski passes – order these through us for the same price or cheaper than you can buy at the lift pass office
Got any dietary requirements? Advise us before you travel so that your chalet host can make sure they have everything they need. More about Food & Drink…
And finally…. What NOT to pack for a ski trip!
Over-packers: watch out! You really won’t need these things out on the slopes:
A big fluffy, woolly scarf – too bulky for skiing and it’ll get covered in snow and won’t ever be the same!
A hoodie – the hood will really get on your nerves and cotton isn’t a great material for warmth or ‘wicking’ = taking the sweat away from your skin, so it’s not a great choice as a midlayer.
Don’t wear everyday socks inside your ski boots for the same reason – you’ll sweat then end up with cold, damp feet which will make you miserable!
Too many pairs of shoes – you’ll really only need one pair of boots for walking around resort; those waterproof, grippy ones we mentioned above.
Wax for your skis? Only serious pros would consider taking wax on holiday… You don’t need to worry about that yet!
Makeup and jewellery – learning to ski is not a time for heavy makeup, what with getting hot, getting cold, eyes running etc, and you don’t want to be worried about losing jewellery when taking gloves and helmet on and off. Bring minimal for the evenings.
A big SLR camera – unless you’re a pro photographer, stick to your phone or a small camera as you’ll find a big one stays in your bag all day as it’s too tricky to get in and out in the cold!
Got any more questions on what to pack for a ski holiday? Do feel free to contact us – don’t be embarassed, we’ve heard it all before!
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About Ski Magic
Ski Magic is an independent, family run company specializing in catered chalet holidays in Courchevel and La Tania.