Ski holidays: Your Essential Questions Answered
With the ski season in full swing, families, couples, and friends across the country are gearing up for some major fun on the slopes. For many, the annual ski holiday is a coveted opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors, brush up on skiing and snowboarding, and enjoy the relaxing perks of a cabin or chalet.
As a highly physical activity that takes place in a cold (and sometimes harsh) climate, preparing for a successful ski holiday is likely to require more preparation and present more logistical challenges. While seasoned skiers will be familiar with what’s involved in preparing for a week or so away on the slopes, for anyone who is new to the sport - or simply hasn't gone away to ski in a while - it’s important to do a little research before you start packing.
Today, we’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions around ski holidays, highlighting some key tips around ski clothing and layering, fitting safety gear, and more. With these helpful tips and tricks, we hope your next ski holiday will be as enjoyable as ever.
Choosing the right ski clothing
What clothes should I bring on a ski holiday?
Before you pack for your ski holiday, it’s important to think through what you will really be doing on the holiday. If you are a regular skier or even a keen learner, you will be spending several hours a day on the mountain.
If this is the case, you must bring clothing that allows you to move freely while keeping you warm, dry and protected against the elements. Here is an essential checklist for anyone who plans to keep active on the trip and spend plenty of time outside:
- Ski helmet
- Thermal base layers (leggings and long-sleeved tops)
- Ski trousers or salopettes
- Ski jacket/parka designed for winter sports
- Ski gloves and ski socks
- Beanie or bobble hat
- Fleece jacket
- Winter boots
- Optional: neck tube
Prefer to sit and watch from the chalet? If so, you’ll certainly need less gear - but it’s still important to keep warm. A handy 3-in-1 jacket is a versatile option for anyone who likes to get outside and stay protected against the elements without investing in ski-specific gear. Along with a few winter accessories and a reliable pair of boots, you can comfortably meet and greet your friends and family at the base of the slopes.
What is the warmest base layer for skiing?
Base layers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of options to choose from depending on the weather conditions and the activity. For skiing, it’s important that your base layer can accommodate changes in your body temperature, withstand rigorous movement, repel excess moisture, and ultimately stay comfortable throughout the day.
When shopping for a base layer or thermal for skiing, here are some features to look out for:
- Temperature regulating
- Quick wicking/moisture resistant fabric
- Smooth inner seams to prevent chafing and discomfort
- Odour resistance
- Optional: thumb holes to sleeves slipping and becoming damp
Finding the right fit
Thankfully, choosing ski clothing that’s comfortable and fits well is fairly straightforward - most of us will have a good idea of what size we are for jackets, trousers, and boots. However, as skiing requires extra safety gear like helmets and goggles, finding the safest and correct fit can be a challenge.
How do you measure for a ski helmet?
To measure your head for a ski helmet, you will first need a fabric tape measure. This will help you determine your head’s circumference, which will then dictate the size you should try on / purchase.
- Position the start of the fabric tape in the middle of the forehead, just above the brow line
- Fully wrap the tape around the head, meeting the start of the tape at the forehead
- Note the size in CM
Depending on the brand of helmet, you may see sizes listed as S-M, M-L, and L-XL. Others may simply display them in centimetres. Either way, the helmet brand or model you’re considering should provide sizing guidelines based on head circumference, which should give you a guide on what size is best for you. For example, if your head measured 56 cm around, you would opt for an S-M size of a TOG24 Mountain Helmet.
Travelling to your ski destination
Regardless of whether you own your gear or not, you will likely have to carry some of your kit with you when travelling. Whether that’s your softshell clothing like ski trousers and thermals or your ski boots, skis, poles, and accessories, travelling to a ski holiday can present quite a few logistical challenges. Things tend to be bulky and heavy, and you may even have to check in items (and pay fees for them) separately.
Before you go ahead and spend any of your holiday cash on checking in your skiwear, it’s useful to know what you need to put into checked luggage. Below is a mini-guide on what generally needs to be checked and what doesn't.
Can you take a ski helmet as hand luggage?
In most cases, yes. Generally, if your ski helmet can fit in your hand luggage or is around the same size or smaller than the hand luggage guidance and you are within the limit, a ski helmet should not incur any additional costs. Having said that, it is down to the individual airline – always check their guidance if in doubt to avoid any surprise costs.
Can you take skis or snowboards on a plane?
Due to their size, skis and snowboards will need to go into checked luggage. However, there are plenty of excellent options for travel bags when it comes to this type of gear, many of which have handy roller wheels and handles, with extra space for your other bits and pieces. With the proper baggage arrangements, travelling with your skis or snowboard should be as straightforward as with regular luggage – they can just be that tiny bit more awkward due to their length.
From full days out on the slopes to reading books by a cosy fire, there’s plenty that a ski holiday can offer. No matter how you spend your time away, we hope this helpful guide answers some of the common questions you might have ahead of your trip. Happy ski season everyone!