Skis/Snowboards (Including bindings)
Obviously an essential piece of equipment!
If it is your first ski /snowboard holiday, then it is best to rent your skis or snowboard in resort from a reputable ski hire shop.
If you borrow skis or a snowboard from a friend, they are likely to be too advanced and difficult to use or just outdated. Those race skis that have spent the last fifteen years gathering rust in your neighbour’s garage will only make your life difficult when the rest of the class have easy, modern, beginner skis from the hire shop.
Do not be tempted to exaggerate your skiing or snowboarding experience to the shop staff as this could compromise your safety. The shop will always aim to give you the best equipment for you personally, and set ski bindings according to your weight and ability. For snowboarders it will be important to know which foot you put forward for the binding set up. All shops will know the best snowboards to recommend for beginners - not too long and softer, making your first turns easy to master.
If you are looking to buy skis for the first time, then talk to a ski shop professional about your requirements. Unless you know exactly what skis you want we would not recommend buying on-line from an ‘auction’ site. Ski technology moves on very quickly and you do not want to be the only person with outdated skis in your group. Unless you ski several times a year it might be more cost effective to keep renting.
A lot of skiers still believe that the shorter your skis are the easier it is to learn!
This is not entirely true. Learning to use your skis correctly will make skiing easy, without compromising on stability and control. Always seek professional advice when choosing the correct length, shape and type of ski.
Ski /Snowboard Boots
Again, you can rent these in resort. If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding and plan to continue on a regular basis, then you should seriously consider buying your own boots. You can rent skis or snowboards forever but having your own boots is a must if you go back year after year.
When renting ski boots as a beginner or intermediate skier, make sure they are fitted correctly and you are able to flex your ankle properly. Make sure boots are not too big or too small as both problems can totally compromise your skiing experience. This is especially important for children. Ski boots may be a little uncomfortable but they should not be painful to wear – if they hurt then go back to the hire shop and ask to try a different pair.
Snowboard boots should be as comfortable as possible, but always remember that a precise fit is essential for good learning.
Some would argue they are not essential and that you could technically spend your days skiing without them, but in reality they are as important as your skis. What is not important is what they are made of or what they look like. Just make sure they are the right size for you. Poles can be rented alongside your skis in resort, usually at no extra cost.
Advanced skiers often get to like a certain type of pole with a certain type of grip, but you will be able to make your own decision when you are ready to buy your own equipment.
An important purchase and one that can be used in cold weather back home. So splash out and get the best you can afford. Make sure your jacket is fully waterproof, breathable and hard wearing.
Ski Pants / Salopettes
You are less likely to use them much back home, but these are as important a purchase as your jacket. Make sure they are waterproof, breathable and hard wearing. Snowboarders tend to prefer the trousers baggier to allow for more movement and a relaxed feel.
If you are on a budget, then shops like TK Max and websites like Sport Pursuit often have good deals on ski clothing.
There is nothing worse than freezing cold feet when you are skiing.
Don’t wear your rugby socks or hand knitted woollen socks as they have patterns that will rub all day against your leg and cause pain. Buy proper ski socks and get at least 3 pairs for a week’s ski holiday.
We often see people wearing two pairs of socks, but it is much better to wear one good pair of ski socks to avoid rubbing.
It can be cold when you are skiing and a thermal top and bottoms will help to keep you warmer and ‘wick’ moisture away from your skin.
This means when you build up sweat whilst skiing you won’t get cold or uncomfortable as you sit still on a chairlift for 10 minutes on a cold day.
A good quality fleece sweater will complement your thermal underwear and help to regulate your temperature. Like your jacket, this can be utilised back home in the winter months, so make sure it’s a nice colour!
Beanie style hat
A decent woolly hat is a must for any ski holiday. Even if you ski with a helmet you will need a hat in the evenings or maybe if you eat al fresco at lunch time. A thin hat can be worn under a helmet but ensure it does not stop the helmet from fitting properly. There are literally thousands of hats to choose from. Some are warmer than others and some are fashion items. Fleece material or merino wool are the warmest.
One of the most important items you will buy.
Spend as much as possible on gloves and make sure they are waterproof and well insulated.
The best ski gloves are not always the ‘thickest’ ones, so look around and don’t compromise as cold hands are not necessary! Brand recommendation: ZIENER
Is a helmet essential? For children under 16 years of age we would definitely say it is.
For adults, it is down to your own personal choice. However, we do find that more and more people are wearing helmets on the slopes nowadays.
It is clear that in the case of a collision or bad fall you are going to be safer if you are wearing a correctly fitted helmet, so as a ski school we would advise all guests to wear helmets.
Brand recommendation: Bullski.com
When it’s snowing heavily and temperatures are below zero goggles are essential! Without them you will be skiing blind, so it is definitely worth investing in good goggles. A yellow/orange lens will give the best vision in poor visibility while a mirrored lens will work well on bright sunny days.
Brand recommendation: Bullski.com
As well as goggles, you will definitely want sunglasses. Even if you don’t ski in them, the sun can be very strong in the mountains and you will need to protect your eyes with full UV lenses when not skiing.
You will appreciate your sunglasses if you stop and have lunch outside on a sunny day – eating lunch wearing your goggles can be a little uncomfortable.
Brand recommendation: Bullski.com
It may be cold outside, but the sun is strong and the reflection from the snow adds to UV rays hitting your face. Always use high factor sunscreen every day, even if it is cloudy.
For walking in the resort when not skiing, it is advisable to make sure your shoes are waterproof. Walking in deep snow can mean very wet feet, even if you are just going to the shops. Avoid this at all costs as it is miserable!