Family Ski Guide – What to take, what to expect..
Posted on 17th Feb 2017
From first timers to those returning to skiing after a break, we could all do with a reminder of what to expect from our family ski trip and what we will need to take with us.
We have put together this guide to help you prepare for your trip to the mountains, and to help you enjoy your ski holiday to the max!
On the slopes
When you are on the slopes it is just as likely to be really sunny as it is to be snowing, so you need to be prepared for both. As you are high up in the mountains the sun is strong so sun-cream is an essential as well as lip salve and sun glasses. Even if it is not bright sunshine you still need protection. It’s also worth setting off with a small bottle of water in your rucksack so you can keep hydrated throughout the day.
When it is snowing you will also need a good pair of goggles, and a warm scarf and hat (although you will most likely be wearing a helmet so may not be applicable). Also, don’t forget a pack of tissues as the cold often makes your nose run!
You should also layer up if it looks likely to be cold. Leggings or tights work well under ski pants, it is not always necessary to go shopping for expensive base layer thermals (especially if this is your first ski trip). Natural materials like wool jumpers and long sleeve t-shirts combined with a vest should work fine layered up unless you are going to much colder climates (Nordics, Canada or US) or are skiing early season.
If you are buying new ski wear, consider trousers rather than salopettes as they are quite a pain for the females when you stop off to go the toilet! When you are trying them on remember you may have a layer or two on underneath when skiing so allow for a bit of extra room.
You will need a decent quality ski jacket that is waterproof and warm and made for skiing not just an outdoor waterproof.
You will need some warm socks for inside your ski boots. Some skiers will only wear ski socks, some prefer to layer up with two thinner pairs. Ski boot technology has progressed significantly so modern boots should be well insulated, lessening the need to wear chunky old school socks.
If you have skied a few times you may want to consider investing in your own ski boots. It makes a big difference if you are wearing boots that are just the right size and fit for you and your standard of skiing. You can also get them custom fitted at a ski shop. If you do hire boots and you are not comfortable or they make your feet numb, take them back and spend the time making sure they are the right fit for you, it could put you off your ski experience if your boots are uncomfortable. Boots should feel tight but not squashing your feet. They will feel weird to you if its is your first time putting them on, don’t expect them to feel like regular shoes.
If you are a boarder for similar reasons you may also want your own boots if you have a few trips under your belt.
Think carefully before buying your own skis or board unless you are a high standard skier/boarder. You will have to pay extra for carriage when you fly, they may not fit in your transfer vehicle and you will have to carry them about with you in resort.
Helmets are an essential in the bigger busier resorts, they are also a legal requirement for children under 12 in Italy (Also some resorts are now under 18 so worth a check before you go). It might be worth investing in your own helmet as often 1 week hire costs are similar to just buying one yourself.
If you are out and about in resort in the day or going out in the evening you will need a pair of snow boots. It is important to have these as they have a good grip on snow and ice so you don’t fall, they are also warm and waterproof.
Evenings tend to be pretty informal in most resorts so ladies you can ditch your high heels and dresses for jeans and jumpers and a few nice tops which will normally be adequate for going out in. It gets very cold in the evenings so take your gloves and hat with you and again layers so you can go from being in warm restaurants and bars to walking in the cold outside.
‘Apres ski’ happens at the end of the days skiing in bars and cafes on the slopes so if you do want to go to an ‘apres’ party, you just keep wearing your ski wear as it normally takes place on the terraces outside.
Skiing with kids
It is important not to push your children too hard on their first trip as you don’t want to put them off the experience. Although, you may want to be on the first lift up and last lift back younger children may get tired and cold more easily so you need to make sure they are not overloaded. Let them enjoy ski school then have some time out for lunch. If you are skiing with them, stay on the easy runs until you are absolutely sure they can manage something harder and be aware they may find the lifts a little daunting. Invest your time nurturing a love of skiing in them and you will be able to enjoy a trip every year, if you push them too hard you may put them off.
List to pack
Ski gloves or mitts (Spare pair recommended)
Long sleeve tops/thermal tops
Thermal leggings and/or warm tights
Small rucksack or ‘bum bag’
Warm socks (take plenty to double up)