© Merci L'Agence / OT Les Arcs

Packing for a ski holiday, especially if you haven’t been on one before, can be a little daunting. Many bulky items and a tight weight allowance can make it a challenge but here are our top tips for everything you’ll need ... and the bits you can leave at home!


If you’ve got your own:

• Ski / snowboard boots
• Skis / Snowboard
• Ski poles
• Helmet

If you’ve got your own equipment then we’d recommend packing that first and getting the bulky items out of the way. If you’re combining 2 or more pairs of skis or boards in a bag then use jackets and sallopets to wrap around and protect them. Just make sure they are clean first - it’s no fun pulling on your new white jacket in resort only to find an oil mark from your binding (we speak from experience)!

Helmets are readily available to rent in most resorts (although having your own ensures you get the best fit), but you’ll want a hat anyway to keep you warm in the evenings and cover that helmet hair when ‘apres-ing’ at the bar.  Helmets also help protect any fragile items you are packing - stash your sunglasses / shampoo / any other items you don’t want to be at the mercy of the baggage handlers inside your helmet to ensure they arrive in resort in one piece.

Top tip: if you aren’t packing skis and boards and are just checking one bag then we recommend wearing your ski jacket on the plane - you’ll save loads of space in your bag and cosy jackets make great pillows for the flight / transfer!


Top Layers:

• Jacket
• Sallopets
• Waterproof Gloves

Don’t doubt the importance of proper gloves or mitts. For little ones or beginners, we’d recommend two pairs; lots of falls means hands in the snow and there is nothing worse than putting a damp pair of gloves back on after lunch so a spare set never goes amiss. Spare sets are also useful on the off-chance anyone drops a mitt from the chairlift / on the ski bus / walking home from the pub!

Ski gloves

Top tip: if you don’t have all the gear yet, keep an eye out in seasonal shops such as Aldi and Lidl, which often stock great value sports equipment such as gloves, socks and base layers. TK Max is also a firm favourite with bargain hunters looking for jackets and sallopets, and are especially great for growing kids who regularly need new gear. If you don't fancy buying all the gear, some rental shops, such as the one at Fahrenheit Seven in Val Thorens, allow you to rent clothing as well as equipment which will cut your expenditure down.


Base Layers:

• Thermals
• Socks
• Jumpers / Fleece

Layers are the key for getting your temperature right at any time of year in the mountains - in January you might need to wear them all at once and in April you might find yourself stripping down to just a t-shirt for lunch on the deck, so  it's best to have a variety of options. We recommend thin layers that can be worn together and are also pretty easy to wash mid-week and dry overnight if you need to.

Good socks are key for comfort in both ski and snowboard boots, they should be thick enough to keep your toes warm, but most importantly should be knee high and come above the top of your boot to avoid any rubbing / wrinkles.

Top tip: Utilise the space inside your ski / board boots and stuff your socks inside so they’re easy to find when you arrive and want to get out on the slopes fast.



• Decent boots / shoes
• Jeans / casual evening attire

After you’ve packed all your gear for the slopes, don’t forget the evenings around town. Ski resorts are pretty casual, even in smart eateries, so you can leave the fancy footwear at home. What you will want to pack are some sensible boots / shoes for walking around, especially if you are travelling to a high altitude or pedestrianised resort like Avoriaz where you’re likely to be walking on snow most of the time.

 Photo credit - Avoriaz

© Mathieu Vitre / OT Avoriaz


• Hat
• Goggles / Sunglasses
• Neck Warmer
• Sunscreen and lip balm
• Plug adaptors

Eye protection and sunscreen are also vital. Even when it’s cloudy UV rays can bounce off the snow making the glare unbearable, and on a sunny days you risk snow blindness and sun burn if your eyes and skin aren’t protected. Either goggles or sunglasses will do the job in nice weather but if you’re planning to go fast or the weather isn’t good, it's best to go for goggles to protect your eyes from the wind and other elements.

Ski Goggles

Once you’ve got your clothing sorted, don’t forget the essentials for your apartment or hotel. You’ll need at least two travel adaptors and don’t forgot to check if your apartment supplies bedding and towels - most 3* + accommodations should, but we’ll always let you know in the ‘What’s included’ section on each of our accommodation pages.

Top tip: if you can’t find multiple plug adaptors ('which drawer did we stash those in when we got home last year?!), one plus a British extension cable will do just fine.

Have we missed any of your ski holiday essentials? Let us know in the comments below!


Posted on Thursday 16 Feb 2017

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