Guest post: Top tips shared by our partner, Pre-Fit Ltd. One of the businesses we partner with to provide you with unique experiences and smarter travel choices.
Whether it’s your first winter snowsports holiday or you’re a seasoned skier, there are some essentials that everyone needs to take with them. No, we’re not going to tell you how many pairs of woolly socks to pack but here’s a rundown of snowsports gear you simply can’t go without.
Equipment and clothing:
- Skis/Snowboard – Got your own equipment? Check with your airline for additional charges and book in advance. If you’re travelling by coach ensure you’ve paid any extra carriage fees too.
Renting? Again, remember to book in advance. Hire shops will typically offer online discounts and group discounts. If you’re travelling to Europe we recommend Sport 2000, they’re one of the largest equipment providers, speak English, and have a huge selection of stock and equipment for all levels and ages.
- Boots – this is the MOST important part of any of your equipment. If they’re uncomfortable or ill-fitting you’ll have a terrible time. Take the time to get the right fit!
Pre-Fit offers this exact service. We’re UK based and we specialise in a bespoke fitting service – our expert technicians come to your chosen UK location and fit your boots and equipment before you depart; we’ll then have your perfectly fitted equipment ready waiting for you in your resort.
- Poles – Only for the skiers (and boarders on the flat bits) – make sure you get the right size for your height and activity type if you’re renting. Freestylers prefer much shorter poles whereas if you’re set on going off piste you’ll want longer poles with wide baskets.
- Helmet – Helmets are absolutely essential gear for a week on the mountain. Whilst they’re not yet law we wouldn’t go on a mountain without one. Not only are they potentially lifesaving but they’ve also become a fashion statement in recent years with a variety of shapes, colours and styles available. If you’re not ready to fork out and commit to a helmet you can rent one through Pre-Fit. Or if you’re worried about packing, clip it to your carry-on or rent one in resort when you collect your equipment.
- Jacket and pants – No jeans, sweatpants, windbreakers or puffa jackets please! A proper jacket and pants will keep you warm, dry and looking fly on the slopes. Just remember – don’t tuck your pants into your boots; that’s a big no-no and a great way to achieving wet feet; instead pull the internal gaiter over your boot so it creates a seal, and when you take your boots off roll your pants up to catch any water. Worried about packing space, wear your jacket while travelling.
- Socks – Contrary to popular belief, when you’re on the slopes it’s not the socks that keep your feet warm, it’s the boot lining. The purpose of a high-quality ski sock is to make sure the moisture from your feet is removed from your foot – a wet foot is a cold one. So throw out those fluffy tube socks and invest in some technical ski socks; elasticated in all the right places and made of moisture-wicking material to take any condensation away from your feet. Also never double-up on socks as this is another sure fire way to cold, blistered feet. Some of our favourites are Monnet’s backside sock or if you want some more fun designs take a look at Stance.
- Thermals – Optional but make sure you have a couple of sets in your suitcase. Whether you should wear thermals depends on a variety of factors. How thick is the insulation in your jacket/pants? How cold is it? Will you really be working up a sweat? Thermals are a day by day thing, check the weather in the morning and then decide, but they should always be a part of your arsenal.
- Gloves – As with socks, any old gloves won’t do it. Sure, woollen mittens are cosy and warm down here at sea level but they’re useless in the snow. They’ll soak up all that moisture and you’ll end up struggling to text for the next 6 months. You need proper winter sports gloves, that are waterproof, windproof and breathable. Check out the Telegraph’s top rated ski/board gloves for 2016.
- Goggles – Goggles can seem confusing to the beginner and you might just opt for your regular sunglasses…don’t! Whilst there’s a lot of tech jargon about light levels and visibility it’s worth doing some research. For one week in the Alps you’ll probably experience sun, cloud and snow. A medium-light, category 2 lens will serve you well. We’d always recommend going into a shop to try a few on as they come in all sorts of sizes for different face shapes, adults and kids. Some of our favourites are the Beefy Goggles from Von Zipper, suitable for medium faces and come with a range of colours, lenses and designs to choose from.
- Beanie – Last but not least, the beanie is a snowsports staple. Functional, cosy and stylish, whether you’re walking around town or hitting après hard, swap your helmet for a beanie and you’re set.
So, that’s your equipment and clothing sorted, but as with any trip abroad don’t forget these key items too:
- Passport – Check it is a minimum 6 months in date
- Visa – You won’t need a Visa in Europe but if you’re going further afield check before you travel here
- EHIC Card – Register for a free EHIC card to help cover the cost of medical care whilst in Europe (inc. Switzerland)
- Travel insurance – Make sure your policy includes winter sports cover
- Tickets/boarding passes
- Travel adaptors & chargers
- Money – Travel Cash or Currency Card, make sure you’re covered and have a backup too
- Mobile phone
- Sun cream – The sun can be just as dangerous here and reflects off the snow. It’ll also help look after your skin from frost and wind-chill
It sounds like a lot of gear but it’s all designed to keep you safe, dry and comfortable on and off the mountain. We’ll leave the styling to you. Whether it’s an updated retro ski one-piece from Mojos clothing or a sleek quilted furry hooded jacket we’re not judging. Just make sure you’ve got yourself kitted out!
About the author
Lindsay Fraser is Operations Manager at Pre-Fit Ltd. Pre-Fit Ltd enable corporate clients to maximise their limited slope time, students to maximise their entertainment time and enable ski shops to manage their stock requirements and customer flow with more efficiency and precision.