As I dig out the suitcases to prepare for our fourth family ski holiday I thought I would jot down some of the essentials that I will be packing for our ski holiday.
First off to note, while myself and my husband do have our own ski boots, which we bring with us, we rent all the skis, helmets and kids ski boots to save us both the cost of the equipment and the lugging them through airports and up mountains.
If you prefer to have your own gear you should ensure you have skis, poles, ski boots and helmets booked with a local ski rental company before you go.
With that note out of the way, this post will focus on what we bring from a clothing and cosmetic essentials to ensure we have a fun, safe holiday. We get all of our items into two suitcases for the five of us.
No brainer – you need a nice warm jacket for every member of the family. One is fine. You will wear your jacket on the slopes as well after your day’s skiing is complete if you are out and about. For the kids, I picked up inexpensive ski jackets during my weekly shopping in Lidl. I think each jacket was €14.99. They have been using the jackets as their winter coats for the past few weeks and will wear them on the plane so they take up no room in our suitcase.
Salopettes, or ski trousers, are an essential item for packing in your suitcase. One pair for each person is fine. Again, I picked up inexpensive pairs for the kids in Lidl while shopping and as the kids grow they will be handed down the line. Investing in a simple pair of black salopettes will ensure they stand the test of time rather than getting the latest fashion colour. I am certain my pair is over a decade old!
Having a few good base layers is essential for under your ski jacket and salopettes. Depending on weather conditions, you either need a couple of layers to keep warm or you may get very warm and need to remove some. In general terms, I find a good single thermal layer is enough under the jacket so I pack a couple of those and I also pack a pair of long johns for everyone for those colder days when an extra layer is needed under the salopettes too.
While you will bring your regular socks, it is essential to pack some ski socks. These socks are specifically designed for skiing and will be thicker and warmer and needed with your ski boots. If you find it hard to get smaller ski socks for kids then a good set of thick ski socks can work out okay but again, Lidl had a full range of sizes in ski socks for the kids as well as adults.
Gloves: Ski and Regular
There are two pairs of gloves needed per person; specific ski gloves, which tend to be a little thicker and heavier and then regular gloves for apres-ski. For the younger members of the family getting ski mittens, rather than gloves with fingers, can be easier.
Hat and Scarf
While you should wear a helmet while skiing, a nice warm wooly hat is essential for when you are out and about and not on the slopes. One each is fine.
Like a hat, a scarf is not really required while skiing but a nice warm scarf for when you are out and about is useful to keep warm.
If you do want to wear a scarf while skiing you could pick yourself up a specialised ski scarf that is more like a tube you pull over your head and goes around your neck but can be pulled up over the lower part of your face to help keep your face warm while the cold air rushes into it as you hurtle down the mountain.
Goggles and Sunglasses
Ideally, when skiing you will wear a pair of ski goggles. While they can range from the cheap and cheerful to the ferociously expensive I got some inexpensive pairs from Sports Direct Online a couple of years ago, before our first holiday, and they have done us fine since.
My husband, as a more serious skier, has a good high-quality pair of goggles that even allows him to change the lenses as the weather conditions change.
I also bring a pair of sunglasses for everyone to pop on during our ski breaks while sitting out in a mountain restaurant if it is sunny. While some people will ski just with sunglasses I find that the goggles are better for varying conditions of sun/cloud/snowy days and so we pack both.
Suntan Lotion and Lip Balm
Turning the attention to the cosmetic bag, as well as the usual travel essentials such as deodorant, toothpaste and so on, if you are skiing you should pack a small pack of suntan lotion. While it might be cold, when the sun shines the UV index can be high and you might find any visible skin will be burned. A small bit of high factor suntan lotion, particularly on the face, will help prevent this.
In addition to the suntan lotion, a lip balm is essential. Between the wind and cold, lips can easily become chapped and sore. Keep them well moisturised in advance of going out to protect them.
Muscle Rub and Other First Aid
If like me, you are not 100% ski fit you might find that after your first day you wake up with some achy muscles. Having a muscle rub or a nice bottle of muscle bath soak is, for me, an essential in the suitcase. Nothing nicer than a pre-emptive bubble bath after each day on the slopes.
As well as minding the muscles other injuries can happen while skiing. Inevitably there may be a few bumps and bruises so making sure to pack some pain relief and plasters are always helpful, though most ski resorts are exceptionally well prepared for any injury that might happen with well-stocked pharmacies, good clinics, excellent mountain rescue, and air ambulances always on stand-by. Fingers crossed they are never needed!
Cozy Regular Clothes
If you have been on a ski holiday you quickly learn that when it comes to getting dressed to go out fashion is not high on the list of priorities. Casual is the order of the day. A cozy tracksuit or casual jeans with a nice warm jumper is perfect. Leave the dresses and high heels at home. Remember you will spend most of the day in your salopettes and base layers so the number of regular clothes you will need is minimal. I also make sure to pack cozy pajamas and a pair of slippers – nothing nicer than getting your pajamas after a nice bath after a long day on the slopes.
Everyone is going to be tired in the evening. While you might want to head out to get a bite to eat, most of your evening will be spent chilling out in your accommodation. We tend to bring a deck of cards, some books and of course our various devices. Otherwise, it’s early to bed for everyone before hitting the slopes again the next day.
When packing we make sure everyone brings their two pairs of gloves, goggles, hats and scarfs in their hand luggage so that if worst case scenario the luggage doesn’t arrive we can ensure we are wrapped up warm and even get skiing (albeit with whatever legwear we wore on the plane and a quick boot rental for Mammy and Daddy).
If you are hoping to go on a ski holiday make sure to check out my post on the factors to consider when choosing the perfect ski resort for your family ski holiday.