I love packing to go on holiday, it is a great way to start getting excited about your trip! I am often asked by guests exactly what they need to bring to ensure they are well prepared for their trip….so here is my essential winter kit list!
Layering is the key to keeping warm in the mountains, and gives you lots of options to shed layers once you hit the bar for a beer after skiing!
Let’s start from the inside out!
Ski socks are essential, not only to keep your feet warm, but also to prevent blisters from your ski boots. Look for a good quality sock, with support around the foot arch, ankle, toes etc. Thin, warm, long socks are the best option. Make sure they are a nice tight fit so they do not move around and cause blisters.
Otherwise known as thermal underwear! If you’re picturing your granny’s baggy grey long johns, think again. There are numerous stylish base layers on the market, made from great materials that are thin, well fitting, and great at keeping you warm and dry.
Avoid cotton base layers, cotton is terrible at keeping you warm once it is wet and takes a long time to dry out. Opt for wool or synthetic materials, that offer good moisture wicking properties.
I often wear two base layers as I really feel the cold, and they offer great warmth for very little bulk.
Another thin layer of warmth, such as a microfleece or Polartec jumper. This can be shed easily and put in your backpack if you get too hot. Avoid hoodies or thick sweatshirts as they are bulky and take a long time to dry if they get wet.
Some people prefer a padded outer jacket, in which case there is no need for an inner jacket. Personally, I prefer an inner jacket such as a down jacket, with a thin outer waterproof jacket over the top.
Down jackets are brilliant for keeping warm, look for something with good quality duck down for maximum warmth.
Synthetic options are also great and are better at keeping you warm if they get wet. Materials such as Primaloft are very warm, lightweight and maintain their performance even when wet.
The main purpose of the outer jacket is to keep the wind, snow and water out. Look for something with a high waterproof rating. Goretex is a great option. Many winter jackets have an elasticated snow skirt on the inside which is elasticated around the bottom to prevent snow from going up the inside of your jacket when you fall over in the powder (very useful!).
You can opt for a thin outer jacket, known as a shell, or a padded jacket which will avoid the need for an inner jacket, but is less flexible when the weather gets warmer.
Ski trousers are designed to keep your legs warm and dry. Look for something with a good waterproof rating. You can choose padded trousers for warmth, or double up on your base layers underneath to keep you warm on colder days.
The main choice to make here is whether you would like fingered gloves, or mittens. Mittens are generally warmer, as your fingers are all cosied up together, but fingered gloves will give you more dexterity, particularly important for snowboarders who need to do up their bindings frequently.
I always opt for a thin liner glove to wear inside my gloves for extra warmth. If you really feel the cold, you can bring some reusable hand warmers along to put inside your gloves when it gets really chilly.
Most people wear a helmet to ski, in which case a thin hat under the helmet can help to keep you warm. If you do not wear a helmet, then a woolly hat, with a fleece lining is perfect. A balaclava is a good choice to keep your face warm on cold days.
Often called a buff, these tube scarfs are very versatile, and can be pulled up over your face when it is very cold. They can also double up as a headband to cover up your helmet hair when you get to the après ski bar after skiing!
The sun and snow combine to give off a lot of glare. Goggles or sunglasses are essential, even on an overcast day. Goggles are also great at keeping your face warm and providing a barrier from the wind and snow. You do not need to spend a fortune to get a decent pair of goggles. And you can always reuse them to chop onions when you get home!
Ski and snowboard boots can make or break your holiday. The last thing you want is cold or painful feet. If you are hiring boots, make sure you hire them from a good shop, who update their stock regularly, so you know the boots will be in good condition. Try the boots on and be sure to call the shop for adjustments straight away if you are having problems. We work with Slide Candy who have great quality boots and will happily change the boots or make adjustments throughout your holiday if you are having problems.
If you choose to buy your own boots, make sure you buy them from a proper boot fitting shop rather than online, and take the time and effort to have them properly fitted to your feet, with customisation. The Boot Lab in Meribel offer a fantastic boot fitting service with aftercare.
For walking around resort, make sure you have a warm, and preferably waterproof pair of winter boots with good grips. The last thing you want to do is slip coming out of the pub and put an early end to your skiing.
Our chalets are all toasty and warm, with underfloor heating and wood burning stoves. I would recommend bringing lots of comfy indoor clothing and cosy jumpers, as well as slippers for walking around inside.
And finally………Christmas jumpers, novelty PJ’s, or onesies are always a fun option for a snowy, mountain holiday!