Preparing and packing for a ski holiday, especially your first one, can feel a bit different from preparing for a summer beach holiday, where you can pretty much throw your bathers in a bag and check for your passport and sunglasses on the way to the airport. If you're new to skiing, this page will help you to prepare for what will almost certainly be the holiday of a lifetime.
An important thing to remember is that, for your first holiday, you might not need to buy expensive ski gear. If you have friends who have already been skiing but who won't be joining you this year, why not borrow some ski gear for your first ski holiday? Thereafter, buying one or two items each season is a good way of spreading the cost.
When the time comes for you to invest in some ski gear of your own, it's well worth planning ahead. Whether you're shopping in Les Gets Resort, or browsing for the best deals on the UK high street, you will find the best discounts late in the season or even after the snow has melted. So, if like most skiers you get the ski bug, and start planning your second ski holiday while you are still enjoying the first, it's well worth thinking ahead for next season and buying your ski gear 8-10 months in advance.
Crucially, even if you're an experienced skier, you don't need to buy skis. We work with the best local suppliers of quality ski equipment, so you can have the latest ski technology every season, delivered right to the chalet door.
Two things you won't be able to do without on a ski holiday are a good ski jacket and some salopettes (ski trousers). Ski jackets come in various forms and, as is so often the case with specialist hobby gear, there's no limit to how much you can spend if you want to splash out. However, by shopping around and buying at the right time, you can find a good ski jacket at heavily reduced prices.
With both your jacket and your salopettes, a good brand may offer an assurance of quality, but it is also likely to increase the price very significantly. If you look online, though, customer reviews may offer an insight into the quality and durability of less well-known brands. As a very rough guide, if you spend less than £80 for a quality ski jacket, you have done well.
There are three main types of ski jacket: insulated, shell and 3-in-1. This video explains the different between each type, as well as some of the benefits for each variety of jacket. If you're holiday is booked for late in the season, you might want a different type of jacket than you might wear in January, for example.
If you're skiing and wearing your ski jacket, you are unlikely to get cold but, on a snow day, those few minutes on the Chavannes Express chair lift can seem like a shivering eternity if you're not wearing the right base- and mid-layers. A base-layer is the innermost layer of clothing: long-sleeved T-shirt and long-johns or thermal tights. Here, you should avoid cotton as this does not 'wick' perspiration away from the skin, instead leaving you feeling clammy and cold. A mid-layer generally takes the form of a fleece or micro-fleece jumper and can really make the difference on a chilly snow day.
Again, these don't have to be expensive or designer: shop around and find the best deals in the January sales.
Helmet and goggles are now standard apparel on the pistes of any major ski resort and most skiers take safety very seriously even if they're not heading off piste or doing anything too extreme. Both items can cost as much as you want them to, but you can find them online from as little as £20-30 each. More seasoned skiers may wish to spend more than this on the goggles in particular, but as a starter, these cheaper options can be well worth a look.
Don't forget to organise / pack...
You don't have to be a fitness freak to enjoy skiing but, if this is your first ski holiday, a little bit of physical preparation can go a long way. Skiing is very demanding and puts a lot of strain on the body, especially the legs. You can prepare for this with a series of gym sessions focussing on muscle endurance, but there are less intensive ways to prepare, too. Why not spend some time cycling in the weeks before your ski holiday? Equally, simple circuit-training workouts are a great way to build up your fitness, and you can do them from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you best.
Build a good stretching routine into your workouts: these will help ease the strain on your muscles each day as you head back to the chalet for coffee and home-made cakes.