Gear Up like an Olympian: Essentials for a Winter Ski Holiday￼
Do you find yourself beyond excited about your winter ski holiday but dreading packing? You’re not alone.
Choosing the right ski gear, that’s both warm and stylish, can be challenging but a quick check-up on the weather forecast can take the weight off your shoulders.
Here is what to pack for snowy, rainy, and sunny conditions, as well as for the most exciting part of your skiing holiday – the apres-ski fun!
Let it snow
What is a winter ski holiday without a wonderland of snow? Snow makes the slopes better, the shredding more enjoyable, and the scenery even more magnificent. But the winter wonderland scenario also means that you need to gear up properly because it’s about to get cold!
Don’t skip the layers
The best way to ensure you stay warm on the slopes is by not skipping a layer. Norwegian ex-Olympic freestyle skier Kari Traa, who established her eponymous ski wear brand, favours base layers made from Merino wool. The fabric is known for offering the most heat and for its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. It’s also soft to the skin, breathable, and odour-resistant.
Go for a breathable fleece as a mid-layer and finish off your outfit with a ski jacket and trousers that are waterproof, well-insulated, and lightweight to provide you with both warmth and freedom of movement.
Keep your hands warm
Ski gloves are another essential for snowy conditions because cold hands can make your skiing experience unpleasant. While a glass of mulled wine might help, a pair of well-insulated gloves is your long-term solution. The warmest ski gloves feature an inner layer of Primaloft or Thinsulate insulation and a waterproof outer layer such as Gore-Tex, Hipora, or Polyurethane.
In terms of the glove type, you can choose between standard gloves, mittens, or a hybrid. Canadian ex-Olympic freestyle skier Ashleigh McIvor, who grabbed a gold medal in ski cross at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, prefers wearing mittens because they’re “just so warm”.
What to look for in your goggles
The “all-white” conditions can easily reflect light and create glare. That’s why grey, smoke, and grey-green tints are perfect for this type of weather. Nevertheless, photochromatic lenses will change colour in line with changes in light. This means that you don’t have to change lenses and goggles all the time while you are skiing.
Make sure your goggles feature 100% UV protection and mirror coatings for extra visibility. In terms of the material the lenses are made from, choose Polycarbonate or NXT Lenses; glass and plastic lenses can break and hurt your eye.
It’s raining man
While snowboarders can thrive in slushy conditions caused by rain, skiers might find the wet weather a bit more difficult. But, with the right kind of gear, even the rainiest of days can be enjoyable on the slopes. The biggest advantage to wet conditions is that there are smaller crowds. Having the right gear for wet weather means you can take advantage of this to learn new skills.
Wear waterproof gear
There is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof ski gear. Water-resistant clothing has a durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment applied to it that possesses the ability to deflect water. But simply wearing watering-resistant gear won’t protect you from soaking up.
Waterproof clothing, on the other hand, takes the garment construction in mind to provide you with full protection from wetness. It even features taped seams, which prevents water from through the holes created by the stitching.
So, make sure that your ski jacket, pants, and gloves are made from waterproof materials, such as CoreTex, with a minimum rating of 10,000 mm. If you’re planning on riding for a prolonged time in the heavy rain and are prone to falls, Ashleigh McIvor recommends a waterproof rating of 20,000 mm or higher to keep you dry and warm.
Wear a helmet
When it’s raining, it’s common for the slopes to get icy and this can be a hazard for skiers. That’s why it’s important to wear a helmet that fits you right. Plus, it will keep your head dry.
Rainy weather usually means that the weather is slightly warmer than during snowy conditions, so bear that in mind. The combination of your sweat with the rain can be quite dangerous for you, so make sure you don’t overdress.
Go for anti-fog goggles
Alongside all the essential features that we mentioned above, an anti-fog coating for your goggles will provide you with higher visibility in rainy conditions.
Chasing the sun
The best weather condition you can hope for on your winter ski holiday is sun and fun. Enjoying the stunning views and drinking beers in the hot blazing sun are a dream come true for skiers. Here is what to wear on the slopes to make the most out of the sunny days of your ski holiday.
Once the temperature starts to rise above 0 (or a bit more), you can doff that heavy gear and show off your funky stamp T-shirt. American snowboarder and two times Olympic Gold medallist Jamie Anderson suggest that for milder weather, as seen in Australia, thermal underlayers and a T-shirt are perfect.
Don’t ditch the helmet
Many people take the invitation to lose some equipment too far and tend to ditch the helmet. Yes, a beanie and sunglasses might look cool on the slopes, but sunny weather doesn’t mean you’re safe from falling and hurting yourself. Whatever the conditions are, always wear a helmet!
All night long at the après-ski
As soon as the last lift stops, the apres-ski fun begins. Apres-ski is a long-held tradition originating during the 1950s in the French Alps, and it stands for a range of post-ski activities. From relaxing by the fireplace in your lodge to drinking and dancing at the apres-ski bar, you’re bound to mingle with people, so better do it in style!
Apres-ski fashion is quite versatile and laidback, so you can easily transition from your ski gear to your winter party wear.
Ski boots for winter boots
Let’s face it, ski boots are not the most comfortable thing in the world, and they will be the first thing to take off once you’re off the slopes.
Even if you keep the rest of your ski wear, a pair of chic women’s boots will help you transition seamlessly to the apres-ski mood.
Goggles for sunglasses
Terrace bars are extremely popular at ski resorts and make a good setting to wear a nice pair of shades while watching the stunning sunset.
Helmet for a beanie
While having fun can also be dangerous, the apres-ski doesn’t call for a helmet. Instead, wear a colourful beanie to hide your messy hair and give you that extra edge.
Fleece for a winter sweater
Winter sweaters come in all shapes and colours, from a classic gingham pattern to a stylish Ralph Lauren design. Simply swap your fleece for one and you’ve got yourself a statement piece!
This winter, you’ll be rocking the slopes in both style and comfort, while confidently mastering your skiing abilities and having fun at the apres-ski bar afterwards!