Going on any holiday takes a lot of time and planning after you’ve booked it and start packing, but when you’re travelling with friends or family, you often seem to need to be a master at organisation!
Travel with friends who are looking to party every night and you’re going to need new outfits for every day you’re there. Travel with young children, however and you’re less likely to focus on clothing for nights out and more on books and games to keep you and your little ones entertained on an evening.
And this is on top of all of the standard things you’ll need to ensure your holiday is as great as it can be.
Group skiing holidays are exactly the same as any other holiday in this sense. Although each group will have their own individual requirements, we’ve put this list together to give you a checklist of what you need to be putting in your suitcase as an absolute bare minimum when going skiing – any space you’ve got left over can be stuffed with whatever you need!
(N.B – we’ve gone on the assumption that skis, ski boots and a helmet will be taken as standard or you’ll be hiring them in resort)
When you’re skiing, you’re going to be sweating. However, you’re also going to be cold if you stay still for too long and if you don’t wear the right layers, you’re going to have an uncomfortable experience.
As underwear is the layer closest to your skin, you want a material that moves the moisture away from your body, while at the same time allowing cool air in to reduce the risk of condensation and chafing.
Although you’ll find many skiers who invest heavily in specialist skiing underwear, if you don’t have the time or the money, look for underwear that is made from wool cellulose, as many have reported almost the exact same results with this fabric than that which costs several times more.
2. Base Layers
If there’s one layer you need to spend some time looking into, it’s this one. Your base layer is essentially going to act like underwear for your entire body, allowing moisture to leave your skin but ensuring air can get access to your body to help regulate your temperature.
Thermals are generally the option here, whether you’re going for separate shirts and bottoms or the traditional ‘long johns’ style. Whichever you choose, it’s extremely important you shop around and understand the different types of thermals – the ones you can pick up for a couple of pounds in the supermarket might be good when walking to work in the winter, but they’re unlikely to do much good when you’re in -20 degree centigrade weather on the side of an Austrian mountain!
3. Mid Layers
These are the light jackets that are essentially going to give you your first real layer of protection from everything from the cold and wind right through to the falling snow and heavy rain.
Varying massively in their prices, because of the importance of this layer (and the fact it could even be your last layer, depending on when and where you’re going on your group skiing holiday), we’d recommend starting with the top brands / prices and working your way down.
Ensuring you can find something suitable within your budget, it also means you get an understanding of what’s available and what you personally need to suit your holiday (for instance, if you’re going skiing early or late in the season, you may not need an outer layer if you can invest in a suitable mid layer that can account for both).
4. Outer layers
What’s oddest about your outer layer is that it’s generally the layer least important, but it’s the one that most people buy first because they’re so readily available and are suitable not only for skiing (I’m sure we’ve all seen people out walking their dogs in The North Face jackets!).
In all honesty, if you’ve invested in decent underwear, base layers and mid layers, your requirements for an outer layer are going to be split between being waterproof and in a style you like – keeping you warm is obviously important, but as long as you’ve got good layers underneath, assuming you don’t buy a particularly poor quality outer layer, you should be toasty at all times!
5. A hat
We lose heat through our head – we all know that. If we’re at home walking around in the winter, this may not seem like too much of an issue and we’ll simply end up with a bit of a cold head.
When you’re skiing in sub-zero temperatures, however, if you aren’t wearing a hat, you could soon find yourself in difficulty. Aside from the fact you’re likely to develop an awful headache, your concentration will start to lapse as your brain becomes too cold to function properly and this could easily result in you being involved in an accident.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a hat, but just make sure it’s comfy, keeps your head warm and you carry at least one spare one with you – you might think we’re being a bit drastic, but you really will feel it if you lose your hat and try skiing without one.
If there’s one thing everyone forgets when going skiing, it’s gloves. Used to keep your hands both warm and dry, the options are vast and varied, but it’s worthwhile understanding you need flexibility more than anything – a good, thick pair of gloves might seem great, but if you can just about hold onto the poles, they’re going to do more harm than good!
Your best bet is to look for gloves that come in two layers or two individual types of gloves – a thin and flexible glove for wearing normally and then a thicker glove that can be worn over the top should things start to get particularly cold.
In the most basic sense, quality is better than quantity when it comes to socks, so be prepared to potentially spend a little more than you first thought.
The reason behind this is socks are going to have an impact on how well your ski boots fit and if your boots don’t fit properly, you’re not going to have the most enjoyable experience possible.
If you have your own ski boots, we’d advise you try on a range of different socks to work out what suits you best. If you’re hiring your boots in resort, however, it would be best to take a few different socks with you and see which feel most comfortable when you’re trying your boots on – it might mean you can’t get on the pistes as quick as you’d like, but it should guarantee you have the most comfortable skiing experience possible.
Skiing goggles are one of those pieces of equipment that you don’t realise how important they are until you aren’t wearing them.
Gliding down the snow is a fantastic experience and if you’ve got all of your layers on correctly, you’ll be warm and comfortable – but without your goggles, as soon as the sun shines, you’ll basically be blinded as it hits you direct in the eyes and reflects off the snow.
They don’t have to be a particularly expensive pair, but just make sure the lens used conforms to EU standards and that they can fit on top of your helmet.
Group skiing holidays can be absolutely fantastic and a great way to spend time with your friends and family while taking part in an activity that is so easy to fall in love with. It can take a little time to get organised though, as you need to pack a range of different things, but this list should hopefully give you an insight into the staple items that should be seen in your suitcase when going skiing.