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Top Ski Essentials

Top kit tips ready for your ski holiday...


For outdoor enthusiasts, snowsports holidays contain all the ingredients for a perfect escape – stunning scenery, glistening slopes and fresh mountain air. The most important thing is to dress for it. You can plan your chalet, resort and activities down to a tee but if you neglect to research the right gear, your snowy dream could turn into a nightmare. 

 

Seasoned ski bums and green run first-timers all share the same essential kit list. Don’t miss a thing with Ski Club’s head to toe guide and tips for dressing for the elements. 


1. Ski Helmet

Whether you are a total beginner or seasoned pro, helmets are an important addition to your ski outfit. There has been a huge surge in the popularity of helmets, and for good reason – protecting your brain is a priority! Helmets can range from around £20 to £500 and should not be bought large for children to grow into. When worn, they should fit snugly and not move when the head is shaken. A helmet is a very worthwhile investment. 

 

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2. Ski Goggles

Clear pistes are best viewed through a protective lens which will stop snow, ice and sun affecting your vision. You can beat snow glare, flat light and changing weather conditions with lenses specifically designed for your surroundings, and most leading goggle brands now offer interchangeable lenses. To protect your forehead, there should not be a gap in between your helmet and goggles.

 

Top tip: It's a good idea to take your helmet along when buying goggles. 

 

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3. Ski Jacket

It’s easy to base a jacket choice on style alone, but as your biggest barrier to the cold it must firstly be wind and water-resistant. To maintain a comfortable temperature no matter what the conditions, choose a jacket with zip vents and good breathability so that you don’t over-heat or let the cold in. Vents shouldn’t be the only zip-able feature on your chosen jacket, zip pockets are essential for keeping your valuables safe. 

 

Whilst some jackets will have built in synthetic or down insulation for added warmth, it is not uncommon for outer jackets to act as just a barrier to keep the elements out, often referred to as a ‘shell’. 

 

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4. Thermal Base Layer

To keep comfortable in plummeting temperatures, a thermal base layer is your best friend. Your base layer should have wicking properties to keep moisture away from your skin. 

 

Merino wool is a highly breathable fabric which is perfect for this purpose as it retains insulation even when wet. But in our opinion the thing about merino is that it doesn’t get smelly. Whilst synthetic base layers perform well, they can get a little on the pongy side after a few days use. Merino’s antibacterial threads mean that you can wear the fabric for your whole holiday without the fear of stinking out the gondola come day three!

 

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5. Sunglasses

When your goggles come off at lunch or après you may be dazzled by the light and your eyes can get sunburned causing snow-blindness – a temporary loss of vision due to overexposure to the sun's UV rays. Aim to block 100% of UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light with a good pair of sunglasses. If you prefer to use glasses over goggles with a helmet, make sure you take your helmet along when purchasing. Using helmets with googles will also require you to keep your face topped up with sun cream to avoid some embarrassing tan lines!

 

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6. Ski Socks

A great day skiing can easily be cut short by cold feet, and you can avoid that disaster by investing in some good quality ski socks made from either synthetic material or wool. A common misconception is that two pairs may keep you warmer, but this generally leads to discomfort and reduced circulation. A good pair will provide warmth, comfort and moisture wicking properties to ensure that nothing stops you on the slopes.

 

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7. Wicking Underwear

It may be hard to tear yourself away from the comfort of cotton but we promise wicking underwear is the key to staying comfortable all day. Not only does it dry faster than cotton-based garments, it also draws perspiration away from the skin, leaving you feeling fresh and ready to go.

 

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8. Mid Layers / Fleeces

The mid layer is the main item of clothing that traps in that vital body heat that’s so precious up in the mountains. Mid layers range from tight-fitting, synthetic fleeces to more free-flowing hoodies and down inner jackets. As well as your base layer, this layer needs to be breathable to ensure the thermal efficiency for this garment doesn’t cause any unwanted moisture buildup.

 

Mid layers are usually the item most on show at après too, so bear that in mind if you’re hoping to draw the crowds by cutting some shapes on the tables on holiday!

 

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9. Salopettes

Just like your jacket, ski pants (or salopettes) must withstand the elements so whether you like them baggy or tight they should have quality insulation, zipped ventilation and decent waterproofing. Zip pockets will keep ski passes in one place. Whether you are skiing or snowboarding it is key that you choose a pair of pants that fit you and allow you free movement. Try multiple sets on in store to find the right salopettes for your body.

 

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10. Backpack

A good backpack can be the difference between skiing all day and making frequent stops to refuel or gather extra kit. Prepare for a full day out in the mountains by choosing a backpack with sufficient capacity and a good amount of pockets and compartments. A combination of shoulder, chest and waist straps will help improve security and provide a comfortable fit. 

 

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11. Beanie Hats

Beanies can be critical in keeping your body warm in low temperatures, especially in the mountains. As soon as your head gets cold, the rest of your body will quickly follow suit, so it is worth making sure that you take decent quality headgear on your trip. As soon as your helmet comes off, your hat should go on whether that’s at après, walking around the resort or sitting outside at lunchtime. So, make it a good one!

 

Top tip: It's a little known fact that a bobble on the top of your hat will help you retain 12% more heat!

 

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12. Waterproof Gloves Or Mittens

Ever tried holding a ski pole with frozen hands? We can assure you it’s not easy or pleasant! Make sure your handwear is up to scratch – waterproof construction with insulation technology is a must. Separate thermal inners are always a good save if you need that extra bit of warmth in your fingertips.

 

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13. Neck Warmer

A neck warmer (or buff) is a fun and versatile addition to your ski outfit. Alongside the obvious function of keeping your neck warm, product features to look out for are quick drying fabrics and breathability. The beauty of neck warmers is how adaptable they are: you can wear them as a hood, scarf, bandana, balaclava, headband – the options are endless!

 

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14. Transceiver

Part of the essential trio if you ski off-piste at all. They transmit an electronic signal when skiing and should someone wearing one get caught in an avalanche then the others in the group switch theirs to receive to help locate them. A probe and shovel complete the trio.

 

 


Posted By

Ski Club of Great Britain

 

For more useful ski tips head to the Ski Club’s Info & Advice section on their website.

 

The Ski Club of Great Britain is a not for profit organisation that provides its members with a range of benefits and services including discounts, insurance, snow reporting, holidays and on snow leading and guiding. Find out more about how you could benefit from joining the Club here. Cotswold Outdoor customers can save 25% off Ski Club membership, when using code COTS1415 at skiclub.co.uk