Unless you’re a seasoned skier and already have all the kit, deciding what to invest in can be a tricky task. Skiing is an expensive past-time. If, on top of your flights, car hire, accommodation, insurance (a must), lift passes and equipment rental, you also have to buy a new wardrobe, you don’t want to be making costly mistakes.
There are two ways to approach this. Either you borrow what you need from family or friends (a good option if you’re not sure you’re going to love the sport), or you search on line and then head for the shops.
Put this top of your shopping list. It should fit you well, being snug enough to keep you warm without having to wear multiple layers underneath but not too tight that your movements are restricted. Go for a high collar to keep your neck warm and look for underarm ventilation zips. A lift-pass pocket on your right arm will save you having to take your lift-pass out (and risk losing it) every time you queue. Look for deep pockets that zip up; it’s surprising how much you take up the slopes. They should be able to cater for everything from snacks, tissues, lip balm, mobile phone and keys.
Ski trousers or salopettes are never going to get awards for style but they’re incredibly practical and warm. My preference is to go for trousers if only because you won’t have to take everything off if you need to go to the loo. The flare in the leg simply allows room to cover the bulky ski boots and stop snow from getting in. .
These can be a lifesaver. Sunglasses let too much air through and can’t always deal with the changing conditions. If it’s windy and you have sensitive eyes, a pair of ski goggles will keep them protected. I’d suggest oversized if you wear glasses and can’t suffer contact lenses as the goggles can be worn over the top. Just test them out in advance and make sure they fit snug to your face so that the lenses don’t fog up.
There is nothing more miserable than skiing with cold hands so invest some time in finding the right pair. Whether you opt for mittens or finger gloves is down to personal choice but if your hands suffer from cold then mittens will keep them warmer. The gloves should be wind and waterproof and insulated. Most come with a loop clip. This is to attach the gloves together so you’re less likely to lose them when you’re not wearing them. I like my gloves to have cinch straps. This is usually a Velcro fastening at the wrists that cinch in the glove fabric, keeping both the warmth in and the snow out, especially if you fall over. And if you don’t want to risk losing them on the chairlift when you need your bare hands to fiddle around with kit or to take a call, make sure they come with wrist leashes.
A helmet is non negotiable and a legal requirement in most countries, though you’ll still see quite a few reckless bare heads on the slopes. But this isn’t something you need to invest in unless skiing becomes your thing and you’re doing to do it regularly. I’d suggest renting one along with your boots and skis.
The trick to keeping warm on the slopes is to layer. You don’t need lots of bulky sweaters, but a fleece is ideal over thermals. Uniqlo is as good as any for this. They are cheap as chips and have the added bonus of plenty of colour choice.
It can get pretty chilly at the top of a mountain, especially at the end of the day. A neck warmer not only keeps your neck protected, but your mouth and nose too if you pull it up. It protects your skin from outside wetness and wicks away any set-based moisture from the skin. Again, not an expensive purchase.