So you have decided to go on a Ski or Snowboarding holiday, it’s your first time on the slopes and are thinking “what do I need to wear on the slopes”. The more experienced or extreme skiers will want all the gadgets to cover them for every eventuality but for the first time on the piste, you don’t need to go as far or spend as much as you think.
Here are a few ideas to help you on your way.
For your first time don’t buy your own equipment, Livigno has many rental shops where you can rent everything you need at a reasonable price. Prices range from about 65€ for skis& boots to about 80€ for snowboard & boots for the week. Equipment rent
Again if it’s your first time on the slopes, If you can borrow Ski Jackets & Trousers from your friends or family this is a great way to save some cash. If you do prefer to buy you don’t need to go mad and spend hundreds of pounds on a fancy jacket as you can get good quality clothing at cheap prices nowadays (try Trespass shops or TK Maxx for great bargains). Remember if you are buying children their jacket & trousers, they may have grown out of them the following year so maybe check if you can rent clothing in your resort.
A decent jacket you can also use once back home as well. Rent clothing
Whether your skiing or snowboarding, beginner or advanced, adult or child, every person should wear a helmet. Don’t assume that if you don’t go fast you will be fine, many accidents are caused by other people skiing into you so make sure everyone in your group wears a helmet. You can rent these in all ski hire shops for very cheap and if you decide to buy one instead of renting, check the safety level the helmet offers with one of the experts in the shop. Rent a helmet
You will find goggles are much better than sunglasses especially when it’s cold and windy. Different coloured lenses can effect vision especially in flat light so it’s worth checking in the shop about what’s on offer. It’s best to get goggles with interchangeable lenses so you can adapt whether it’s bright blue skies or cloudy conditions although these will be higher in price than a standard pair of goggles. Make sure the lenses offer 100% UVA & UVB protection.
Again if it’s your first time you can pick up cheap pairs from 25€ but if you are sure you are going to go skiing again then it won’t do you any harm to go for a decent quality pair. It’s also worth having a pair of sunglasses with you as well especially during the warmer weeks of the season.
When learning it’s quite easy to fall over a lot and this will make your gloves wet. It’s worth investing in a waterproof and breathable pair of gloves. For really cold hands, mittens are warmer than gloves, and a pair of inners will add an extra layer of warmth. For people who suffer from cold hands you can also buy some hand warmers to put inside your gloves.
A base layer provides almost no thermal insulation whatsoever: its purpose is to be dry, and stay dry, no matter how sweaty you get. This keeps you warm because there’s no evaporation from damp clothing to cool your skin, and this is essential in the mountains where periods of intense physical activity are followed by rest in freezing air. The aim of the base layer is simply to transfer water or sweat away from your ski.
This is the clothing that will go between your base layer and your ski jacket. By wearing a few layers this provides better insulation than wearing for example just one big thick layer. Again this will depend on where you are and the temperatures but a base layer, mid layer and jacket are standard starting points for what you need. Remember it’s easier to take a layer off and you will cool down in seconds rather than get to cold and try to warm up.
A good pair of ski socks is one of the essentials. Although most ski boots nowadays provide a decent level of insulation, a good pair of ski socks can make all the difference on a cold day. Don’t fall for the most common mistake that beginners make by thinking that if they wear 2 or 3 pairs of socks or even a really thick pair that this will be better – wearing one good pair of ski socks is all you need and it’s worth taking a couple of pairs on holiday with you. These can be expensive in some shops so always look for the cheaper options as you can get these from around 5€ – 9€. At the end of the day skiing, always make sure you can dry out your clothing including ski socks, ski boots and gloves as there is nothing more uncomfortable than starting the next day cold and wet (especially for kids)
These are optional but it’s always a good idea to have one with you. If it’s warm they fit easily into a pocket but if the temperature drops or the wind picks up these can be extremely handy things to have. Most neckwarmers will cover your neck and also have a piece you can pull over most of your face if needed. A thin balaclava is only really needed in extreme cold and these can be worn under your helmet
Wearing a hat you will keep a lot warmer than without . You can lose around 40% of your body heat through your head so always have one of these with you.
Good to store some water, chocolate and extra layers in etc. Even more handy if you have kids as you will more than likely be carrying there stuff as well and you can also put some sandwiches in as this can save you a fortune at lunch time instead of the mountain restaurants. The weather is changeable very quickly in the mountains so by having a rucksack you can take off or add a layer of clothing easily enough.
Essential – On the snow you get burnt a lot quicker than normal even if it’s freezing cold. A high SPF factor is required and make sure you apply throughout the day if needed. During the warmer months it’s easy enough to get burnt in less than half an hour. Always make sure the kids have some on before they go out and put a tube in there pocket so the ski instructor can apply some if needed during lessons
Make sure you and your family/friends have a winter sports insurance policy upto date before you leave. This must cover you for winter sports and also check if it covers you for some activities that will be on offer in resort such as snowmobiling, sleigh rides, paragliding, husky dog sledding etc incase you decide to try some of these out. Are you covered for being helicoptered from the slopes?
Normally the cheaper insurances don’t cover you for some of these and normally they have a higher excess. A good winter insurance policy is essential
Get some ski lessons from the local ski school. Try not to fall for the friend saying “I’ve been before, I will teach you”. You can get group lessons or private lessons and the ski school will offer all different levels so whether it’s your first time or your advance, there is always something you can learn. Book ski lessons