Seven tips on how to pack for a ski trip

Monday, April 1, 2019

Spring skiing season is here and many people are headed out for one more epic session on the slopes over Easter break.  It can be hard to know what to pack and how to maximize your luggage space, so I though I would share my tips on how and what to pack for a ski and/or snowboarding holiday.

Check airline regulations for baggage. I learned this the hard way on our recent trip to Switzerland.  Some airlines consider ski boots and skis to be one item, while others count them as two bags.  Be sure to read the 'sports equipment' policy of the airline you are flying with.  Snowboard bags can usually hold boots too so you just need to check your bag fall within the allowed oversized luggage dimensions.  I would also recommend checking how much an extra luggage bag is when booking flights, just in case it is cheaper to pay for a "more expensive" flight that includes one luggage bag.

Use clothes to pad equipment in luggage.  When I went on my trips this year, I was able to put all of my clothes (long underwear, ski socks, snow pants, change of clothes, and swim suit) into my ski bag.  My toiletries and sneakers went into my boot bag so I didn't need to check any bags at an additional cost.  By wrapping the clothes around my skis and poles, I knew my kit would be protected from being damaged in the hold. 

Wear snow boots and helmet (read my tips on how to choose one here) on plane.  You probably know this, but wear your bulky clothes on the plane to save room in your luggage.  This means if you have big boots for the snow, you should wear these on the plane.  Also, it is best practice to carry your helmet on the plane with you.  Checking it in the hold puts it at risk for damage from being crushed or banged up from other bags which means it will be less effective or need to be replaced earlier.
WED'ZE jacket and trousers
Dress for the weather. My ski jacket is a WED'ZE AM580 All Mountain from Decathlon* (now on offer) and my snow pants (also from Decathlon) are the WED'ZE Piste Skiing 580 Slim trousers*.  The jacket I have been wearing all winter in London and it has always kept me warm.  On both my ski trips this year, the weather was warm and my jacket kept me at the right temperature on and off the slopes.  The trousers fit well while allowing me a good range of motion even with a layer of long underwear underneath.  I would have liked them to be a little warmer though after I got covered in snow after a fall.  But when I was able to stand standing on my way down, they were perfect insulation.

Icebreaker Bodyfit
As I am always cold, I was excited to test the Ice Breaker Bodyfit zone 200 leggings and long sleeve top base layers. I am probably merino wool's #1 fan.  It keeps your body temperature in check, doesn't smell (which means you don't have to wash it after every use), and it is super soft.  The Bodyfit line also has mesh panels to help you release heat from key areas, while other panels help keep the heat in.  I wore my set in Italy and Switzerland this year, as well as a few chilly nights here in London and have never been disappointed.  Icebreaker merino wool comes in different thicknesses which you can mix and match based on your destination and activity.

Snacks and packed lunch.  We make GORP (equal parts peanuts, raisins, M&Ms and granola) to eat on the mountain and pack protein bars too.  Food and drinks on the mountain can be very expensive and take a long time to queue for.  I prefer having portable snacks I can eat on the chair lift to maximize my time on the slopes. A big breakfast and proper dinner balance me out.  The trails and lift lines tend to be empty while everyone is getting lunch, so try to plan your day around that.  What you pack for snacks is up to you and your budget constraints.

Invest in a Trixski* to carry your kit.  This simple strap is really handy if you have small kids and need to carry their kit. Or if you are clumsy like me and can't carry your skis without them falling out of your arms.  You can also get an additional strap to carry a snowboard.  It is easy to store off the slopes and fits into your jacket pocket while you on piste.

Little things you should not forget.  Don't forget tissues, sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, a water bottle that doesn't leak, hand and/or foot warmers, and sunglasses.  I also like to wear a small rucksack to hold these things, and my snacks.  It is also handy to hold your hat, gloves, and goggles when walking to and from lift.

These are my top seven tips for packing for a ski trip.  If your accommodation has a washing machine, you can do laundry and pack even less.  I prefer to bring two changes of long underwear and regular clothes in case something gets wet. 

Did I forget anything?  What do you always pack when you are headed towards the slopes?

Items marked with a * were given to me for review.  All opinions are honest and my own.

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