An honest guide! How to choose ski gear and what pack for a ski holiday

Knowing what to pack for a ski holiday, without over-packing, can be a bit overwhelming. And, before you’ve even got to the packing point, knowing how to choose ski-wear and clothing for a ski trip can be confusing.

We’re here to help, with our honest guide on how to choose ski gear.

Firstly, think about where your ski stuff – clothes, accessories and equipment – is coming from. Do you own it? Can you repair it? Could you borrow it? Can you rent it? Could you buy a second-hand version? These questions should all be asked before you commit to buying new things. Yes, from a sustainability point of view but, also, because ski gear is expensive and you often only use it for one week of the year! It’s also a really good way to try before you buy.

So, starting from the top, here’s our advice on choosing ski stuff:

Ski helmet

What not to scrimp on:
Look for helmets with Mips safety system which have a revolutionary shock-absorbing mechanism to reduce rotational force to the head should you crash.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
For goodness’ sake do not be tempted by a helmet with a built-in visor unless you are on the GB bobsled team!!

Top tip:
Helmets always get lost at après. Bring a mini padlock or carabiner, clip helmets together and hang them from under a table or chair.

Ski goggles

What not to scrimp on:
Multiple lenses, or reactive lenses. Being able to change your lenses will mean you can ski more comfortably in all conditions = more skiing.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Watch out for the punter gap! No forehead should be exposed between helmet and goggles!!

Top tip:
Get a decent lens cover/case, a scratch in the middle of your lens is really distracting on the go.

Base layer

What not to scrimp on:
Natural fibres do a much better job of keeping you warm, odour free and dry as synthetic fibres do.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Sizing too small. Yes, thermals should be close to your skin but we don’t need to see the outlines of, well everything.

Top tip:
Tuck your top base layer into your bottom base layer for maximum snugness.

Mid layer

What not to scrimp on:
Style – invest in a fleecer/jumper/puffer jacket that you’ll wear off snow too.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Jumper or sweatshirt hoods inevitably get snowy and then get soggy. Avoid a hooded mid-layer.

Top tip:
keep your phone in a warm, mid-layer pocket, closest to your body – cold drains the battery.

Outer layer/ski jacket

What not to scrimp on:
Waterproofing (there’s a great guide to waterproof ratings here) and pockets. Too few pockets it your outer layer will mean you have to keep unzipping to reach stuff (and let out all the warm air!).

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Ski jacket fashion is a minefield but, generally, a block colour will date a more slowly than prints, which could be off-trend by next season.

Top tip:
If your well-loved jacket is getting a bit tired and snow/rain no longer ‘beads’ on the surface and runs off, re-waterproofing it could be a far cheaper option than replacing it. Try the washing machine waterproofing sachets/liquid.

Gloves/mittens

What not to scrimp on:
Quality. This is tricky, because price doesn’t necessarily equal level of quality. However, if you are buying new gloves or mittens, go for a brand with a loyal following and amazing reviews. Cold, wet hands SUCK on a ski day.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Not dropping them off a lift! Look for gloves/mitts with ‘twat straps’ or clips that attach them to your cuffs.

Top tip:
If you get seriously cold hands, try mittens with individual fingers inside, or mittens with silk glove liners.

Boots (ski)

What not to scrimp on:
Custom fitting. If you’re buying your own boots, opt for a service that moulds them to your feet or at least makes you a custom/moulded insole.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
If you walk on tarmac/roads a lot in your boots, you’ll wear down the parts that clip into your bindings which could mean they no longer clip in to your skis and you’ll have to replace the whole boot. Nightmare.

Top tip:
If you aren’t buying your own boots, you could still get an insole moulded and use it inside rental or borrowed boots. Secondly, try to keep your boots in a warm environment before you put them on for better comfort levels.

Skis/board

What not to scrimp on:
Set up. If you are borrowing/buying, get a pro to fit your bindings specifically to avoid injury and get maximum efficiency out of your skis/board.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Off-piste, park or backcountry skis might look the coolest, but think about how much time you actually spend off piste… opt for the ugly, sporty-looking piste/all-mountain skis and you will have way more fun charging around.

Top tip:
If you’re renting skis or a board, (and it’s not a peak week) pop back into the shop and swap for a different make/model to take advantage of different snow conditions.

Backpack

What not to scrimp on:
Waterproofing, again. Backpacks get put on the floor all the time, so you want to be secure in the knowledge it won’t let water in.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Do not just use your commuting back pack.

Top tip:
Search ‘ski touring backpack’ for a good selection of really light, waterproof options. You probably won’t want over 25l if it’s just for day-use.

Walking shoes/boots

What not to scrimp on:
Versatility, don’t bother getting something that looks like you’re an Antarctic expedition – you’ll get such little use out of them and be roasting as soon as you go into a bar or restaurant.

Avoid looking like a plonker by:
Avoid Moon Boots! Just no. They have been put to bed, gone, dead and buried. DO NOT ENTERTAIN THE MOON BOOT!

Top tip:
Trainer brands like Vans, Nike and Adidas all do hybrid walking boot/snow/trail shoe/trainers now, with waterproofing and a bit more warmth inside.

 

Get in touch if you’d like to book a catered chalet in Méribel this season – if you can’t see anything available on the website, we may have some other options so let us know!

Stay up-to-date with The Chalet Company’s news, new chalets and offers, by following us on FacebookInstagramPinterest or Twitter.

Get involved!