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Sunday 8 March 2020

Everything You Need To Know For Your First Ski Trip + What To Pack For A Ski Trip, What To Wear On A Ski Trip

camo ski one piece

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Thinking of going on a ski trip or snowboarding vacation? I am hoping this skiing and snowboarding holiday tips post will help you. I did write one of these during my last ski trip with top tips for your first ski holiday but I’m hoping, after my second ski trip this may help you even more with everything you need to know about planning your ski holiday. I’ll never forget how apprehensive, scared and confused I was before my first ski trip. I never went on ski trips with my family growing up (we love hot weather haha) so I was incredibly confused about how it works, how do you even get up a mountain? What’s a lift pass? Why am I paying to put my life at risk? What do you wear on a ski trip? What do you pack for a ski trip? How hard is it for an adult to learn how to ski? Hopefully this will answer any questions about your ski trip. Note: I say ski trip because I personally chose to ski over snowboard (weird as I did have snowboarding lessons growing up!) but most of this relates to a snowboarding trip too.
skiing at la plagne

HAVE SKI LESSONS - First things first, have lessons, trust me. You cannot beat an epic, 1-2-1 professional instructor on the slopes particularly if you are nervous like me. I personally never went to an indoor British style slope thing before my first skiing holiday as my boyfriend always said it’s nothing like the real thing (I’d actually disagree and say if you can go for a morning somewhere close to home before you land, at least you’ll know how to put skis on etc, as I got on the slopes with NO IDEA apart from the fact I’d been cross country skiing in Canada but honestly it’s SO different and I sucked at that). I think if you can get a few lessons in before you get abroad, it is a great shout as it means you’ll excel quicker.

WHAT IS SKI SCHOOL? - They call it ski school when you’re abroad and it’s a lot less daunting than it sounds. I imagined me, the only adult learning how to ski. When I got to Austria (where my first ski trip was) I did learn really quickly, within an hour of my first 1-2-1 lesson I was on the blue slopes but it totally depends if you take to skiing or not so I can’t say how quick your learning will be. Ski lessons are expensive and even more expensive for 1-2-1 but it was so worth its, ultimately it’s your safety at play here and you cannot put a price on that. I also really wanted to quickly get to a good level so I could have fun skiing with my boyfriend so had to throw myself in at the deep end. On day 1 in Austria I signed up for ski school, I was flying within the first few days and was able to join the boys in the afternoon. The way it works is you’ll usually do a morning to lunch time lesson every day, say 9am-12pm. It was worth it even for the basics like how to use a button lift and a chair lift which trust me, is quite scary the first time. From memory I only did about 5 days of lessons and the rest of the week I just spent every day with the boys (my boyfriend and his brother who are both pros) and honestly I saw the most progress when I went out on the mountains in them. They’d put me at the top and say, well there’s only one way down!

all white topshop ski kit

Shop my ski jacket / shop my ski trousers / shop my sunglasses  

WHAT TO PACK FOR A SKI TRIP - Even this year I had to say to my boyfriend, what do I actually pack for a ski trip?! so here is a list of what I think you should pack for your ski trip:

BASE LAYERS: My main suggestion is thermals, honestly you need them as it gets so cold up on the mountain if you’re high up, actually the coldest part of the trip is when you’re up on a chair lift. I swear by Sweaty Betty base layers and have been buying them for years, I wear them around the house in winter too, they’ve kept me warm this whole trip and currently have some in the sale here. I wear a size XS in them as they’re super stretchy but really comfortable, I have some size S in my base layers too which are also great. I also have a bodysuit from ASOS which kept me SO toasty, I was apprehensive as it’s not a ski/snoward brand but I loved it. I also have Helly Hansen thermals which never let me down even in Canada at -30. I personally had to double up in those temperatures though. If money was no object I would be buying everything from Perfect Moment ski, it's currently in the sale and I think I want to stock up on this kit for next year as it's SO luxe and dreamy, their thermals are divine.

Shop my favourite base layers for skiing below: 

LIP BALM: Your lips will be incredibly dry as the harsh wind and blizzard style weather hits your face so ensure you have some lip balm in your pocket. This trip we’ve got a Nivea one with us which is good as it has sugar in it so it actually exfoliates the lip then sinks in and moisturises and then for the slopes (you can get it at Boots), a Piz Buin SPF 30 and a Blistex SPF 50 because the rays can be harsh on your lips and they get really chapped, I have been keeping one in my pocket at all times! I also swear by Vichy if you’re wanting more of a colourful lip balm, and last but not least, the wonder product, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream - I stupidly forgot to pack this on this particular trip and it’s one of the best products for dry lips. Other fave products for dry lips are Nuxe Reve De Miel, Fresh Lip Sugar and Eucerin and La Roche Posay both do super strength lip balms. You are not short of epic lip products below for your ski trip, they're small but mighty and so many of them are super affordable.

SPF: Definitely wear daily SPF, I mean you should be doing this anyway but definitely when you’re on the slopes with such harsh rays. In my case on this ski trip I’ve got La Roche Posay SPF 50 stick as it’s great for touch ups and areas like the ears and nose, I also saw Vichy do a similar SPF touch up stick, then Skin Ceuticals SPF 50 as their skincare is phenomenal and I also have my Elizabeth Arden Prevage Daily Anti-Pollution and SPF 50 with me as it’s an epic skin tint. I wish I packed my new REN face suncream too as wow the ingredients are incredible but obviously a girl doesn't need to pack 46 suncreams, but that's also an epic one too - coming with me on my next trip for sure. I'd also really recommend something like an Erborian CC cream, perfect to wear as a base by itself or under make up on a winter trip, plus they have SPF in and will hydrate your skin all day. The snow reflects onto the skin and the sun has both UVA and UVB rays so gotta protect your face! Even in winter it can age your skin so make sure you have it layered on so you protect your face.

FACE MASKS: Me being the beauty lover I am, face masks were actually essential for me on this trip as my skin was literally flaking off. I highly recommend as above, theElizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Balm as it multi-tasks with everything, whether it’s dry skin, an over night mask, a moisturiser, a lip balm, you name it. I also took Neutrogena Hydro-boost masks with me on this trip (I went through 3 of them!) as sheet masks are so hydrating and these babies have SO much serum in them, I cannot get enough plus they’re sooo affordable too. I am linking some good face masks below too. If you're looking for good beauty recommendations read my blog post about the best of beauty over the last year. 

WINTER WARMERS: This means ski socks (I had no idea I needed these and Matt’s Mum came to the rescue bless her) my toes still got cold in these up on the mountains but Matt says you should never double up on socks as it can cause friction! The best ski socks I've found online are from FALKE and Superdry do some in the sale too. Also don’t forget your gloves, since I lived in Canada I’ve had the most epic North Face gloves, they’re not pretty but they’re practical however even on the mountain in these gloves my fingers sometimes got cold so I ended up putting inners inside to keep me extra toasty. Pack a snood over a scarf, then you can pull it up and protect your lips too if you end up skiing down when there’s a snow downpour (lots of that this week!) it was actually my neck that felt coldest on the ski lifts and don’t forget to pack a hat for the evening time when you’re walking for dinner, I was fine in just my helmet this week and didn’t put a hat on underneath it. I would put my hat in my pocket when skiing so I could put it on when we sat down the lunch as I needed a rest from my helmet!

SKI KIT - I was totally clueless with ski kit and guessed if I could survive a Canadian winter, I could survive a European ski trip so I already had a lot of really good Helly Hansen and The North Face kit left over. They might not be ‘fashionable’ brands in the influencer world but their technology is epic and trust me, they’re made for the harshest winters so I’d really recommend. Seriously, it gets SO cold up there on the mountains. It was only -12 in France this time which is warmer than Canada and I felt way colder as we were up on a mountain as snow literally attacked us!

topshop ski kit
Shop my ski kit in the sale here.

TOPSHOP SNO - I have a range of ski kit and much to Matt’s amusement most of it is Topshop: ‘surely Topshop can’t do good ski stuff’ because he says it’s too cheap to be good but honestly, I’ve worn it on two trips now and I’ve been warm enough and so comfortable. It definitely is good stuff! You can buy Topshop Sno range online here and most of it is in the sale. I cannot recommend their jackets more, they are incredible. For reference I got a size 8, always size up in ski coats. You can actually still get my coat online here, just in a different colour way. The faux fur hood alone protected me so much in the harshest of conditions as I put the hood up over my helmet and it made such a difference. The jacket also has really handy pockets so you can put your lift pass in one arm and your phone/lip balm/SPF in the other. Shop Topshop Ski kit below:

ASOS SNOW - This time round I also got some of the new ASOS ski kit, the one pieces are incredible, so comfy and look good too. Trust me, trialled and tested by yours truly! Again, Matt was apprehensive when I told him my ski gear was from ASOS but the material and quality is great and was fine in -12 up a mountain all day. Just make sure you size up in any ski kit so you can fit 46x layers underneath haha! Shop ASOS snow below:

BASE LAYERS FOR SKIING - It’s all about layering thin layers when you are skiing. So I would start with a long sleeved top (I actually wore this one from Missguided - not ski AT all but it worked), followed by Sweaty Betty base layers (often 2x pairs on top of each other because I literally cannot stand to be cold) and then a jumper on top, and then my ski coat and trousers! I also always have my Sweaty Betty base layers and then some  Helly Hansen thermals in my suitcase, they double up great back home on cold days too. This time round I had my  bodysuit from ASOS which did keep me toasty too! As I say, I also LOVE the look of Perfect Moment ski thermals. Base layers keep you warm but you can walk around your chalet/to the shop/to dinner in them too after!

SKI GOGGLES - Oh no-one told me you need goggles, AT ALL times when on the slopes. Very true. Buy your own goggles if you can! Matt says it’s better to have really good ones but I was being stingy and they were totally fine. If you have the budget, go for some good ones, Matt says they’re great. Shop ski goggles.

SUNGLASSES - I find sunglasses annoying to wear as can always feel them on my face (weird as I’m a glasses wearer) but this trip they were so comfortable and I really needed them. I wore my trusty Ray-Ban sunglasses the whole trip and they were perfect to whip out of my pocket when we stopped for lunch/crepes/hot chocolate because you want to take your helmet and goggles off and have a break from them. Shop my favourite sunglasses below.
ALL IN ONE SUITS ON THE SLOPES - I much prefer the look of a one piece suit, I felt WAY more confident, way cooler (lol) I feel soooo clunky in a jacket and trousers and 46x pairs of thermals, and I swear I moved better in a one-piece but WOW is it a pain when you need the toilet. I actually hate ski trousers, they are ugly, unflattering and awful to move in, but as my boyfriend says, they protect you as they are waterproof (lol, oh yes, the practical side) the only ones I felt good in were my skinny Topshop ones as I felt less like a basket of bread lol and more streamline. I really struggled with headaches this last week, hoping it’s nothing more severe than altitude sickness but every afternoon I’d get excruciating headaches so I really tried to up my water intake, meaning I needed to wee ALL the time and getting naked in a dirty toilet up a maintain (when corona virus is going around too) is my idea of unhygienic hell so bear that in mind. I love the idea of a one piece and like I say, they look so much better and feel better but wow, toilet breaks are an issue hhaa. You can buy Topshop one pieces for skiing in the sale here. I know ski kit is expensive but you’ll keep it forever, so see it as an investment. I am linking some favourite one pieces below for skiing.

SHOES - You’ll mainly be wearing clunky ski boots which you’ll rent on arrival but when it comes to walking to dinner after skiing, I’d say trainers are the worst shoes as you’ve got NO grip. We quickly found ourselves sinking into snow that was calf deep haha. I had some incredible suede ASOS own brand lace up boots this year and they did me proud for grip, aesthetic and also warmth, I just made sure I had good ski socks underneath. When I lived in Canada, aka the coldest place in the land, people swore by wearing Timberlands, Uggs and Sorel footwear and all of these would work perfectly when you’re out of your ski kit. Most people nowadays seem to be loving Moonboots but I haven't personally tried them. We had a ski locker in our hotel so we would walk down from our room in our outdoor shoes then swap them over to our ski boots and leave our outdoor shoes in the locker so we could go out after to a bar and not have our clunky ski boots on.

NIGHT OUT CLOTHES - It depends on the resort you are at but I wore leggings and a jumper for EVERY meal, or my Sweaty Betty base layers. Ski resorts are super chill (unless you’re going somewhere premium or to a nice gastronomic restaurant) so for me it was lace up boots and leggings all day every day, I didn’t need to pack anything nice at all!

RENT ON ARRIVAL - My boyfriend has his own ski equipment and he pays to fly with it, amazing if that is you because he generally says it’s way more comfortable etc if you have your own boots and also works out cheaper if you ski a lot but I pay around 150 euro to hire equipment out here, which yeh, is expensive but it’s not worth it *yet* for me to buy my own kit. So I pack everything listed above and then on the first day get myself organised and pay to rent: a helmet, skis, ski boots and I have my own goggles. There are loads of ski hire shops in every resort so just go to the one your hotel recommends, walk in and they will fit you with everything and then you carry it all back to your hotel and you are good to go the next day. You can probably get better deals if you rent online first then pick up, just ensure you figure out which ski shop is near your hotel/chalet/apartment.

sweaty Betty base layers

Shop my Sweaty Betty base layers / Shop my coat

WHERE TO STAY WHEN SKIING - Okay the mammoth question, where is best to stay on a ski trip? There are so many options when you go skiing, whether you want to stay in a chalet (you can hire one for your whole party) or share a chalet with strangers (we did this once and I really struggled as some of the older people were quite grumpy and rude lol, plus you don’t get a choice with food and it was all very stodgy and I am VERY fussy with my food so if we did this again it would need to be a better chalet, it totally depends which one you book) - it can be fun though if you want to meet new people and have a laugh, or I’ve seen the most luxurious chalets where you have a private chef every night, it totally depends on where you are and what your budget is, the more premium chalets look out of this world and next time I will definitely book one of those with my family, we’ve just only ever been as a group of 3 so haven’t needed a 10 person chalet just yet! I’d like to do a premium ski experience with an insane catered chalet.

You can also stay in apartments, hotels, apart-hotels (we stayed in one of these this time, it’s a hotel but you have to clean it yourself at the end which was kind of weird but apparently they’re all like this). Wherever you stay, my main tip is to look for somewhere with ski in, ski out, it totally enhances your experience. The first place we stayed was miles away from the slopes and we had to get a bus there every day with all our kit, it really made it less enjoyable because the kit is heavy and no-one wants to carry that around all day.

Our most recent place was great as downstairs there was a heated ski room, we would leave our stuff in there, get ready in there and within seconds we were out on the slopes straight out of our hotel. There are SO many epic premium options for skiing and my main piece of advice is don’t do it on the cheap as the better the hotel/apartment usually means a better location, facilities, cleanliness and the service, plus it’ll be closer to better ski lifts and better ski routes.

Skiing can be quite stressful when it comes to hiring equipment, lugging kgs worth of stuff around so try make it as comfortable for yourself as possible. I’ve done a lot of research on ski hotels and they’re either super affordable but really tired and far away from where you need to be every day or extremely expensive, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground which is why I think most people go for chalets. I found some incredible ones this time round we just didn’t have the number of people to fill one. Whilst our apart-hotel wasn't the most modern this year, it was incredibly convenient as we literally walked straight onto the slopes meaning maximum ski time and that's what it's about!

LIFT PASS - Don’t forget your ski pass, we ordered ours online through our holiday provider and then we booked extra for the WHOLE area, meaning if we got lost we could always get through a lift back. Basically you have to scan it when you’re out on the slopes to get onto the chair lifts. I thought you had to take it out to manually scan it but NOPE, you can leave it in the little zip of your jacket and it scans through your coat, genius. Less faffing.

inversens restaurant la plagne

GETTING UP THE MOUNTAIN - Your ski teacher will teach you all of this but there are various ways to get up the mountains depending on the resort, whether it's a chair lift, a telecabin/cable cars or a button lift. Generally you do have to go up with your skis and then ski all the way down, a lot of the bars and restaurants we went to this time required you to go up in a chair lift, ski half way down the mountain and then ski home afterwards so these kind of resorts are not good if you can't ski. I couldn't ski as confidently on my first trip so missed out on the fun bars and restaurants in the middle of the mountains as I was like 'OMG HOW AM I GOING TO GET DOWN' but this time around we were eating at 2700m and then having a gorgeous ski down, it all comes with confidence and time. I'm telling you this because I was constantly thinking how my Mum would cope as a non-skier if she came with us to the same resort, would she be able to go to there restaurants in the mountains etc with us and the answer for the vast majority of the cool ones is no, she'd need to know how to get down on skis! Some of them required you to ski from the lift and you definitely couldn't walk it! 

PUSH YOURSELF - My final piece of advice? If it’s tough, go again, and again until it’s easy. There was one run and I kept falling on it, so my boyfriend made me do it again, and again until I found it easy! The way I got better is by going again and again with the boys, if I found a run too steep or challenging or kept falling, I just went again and again. You have to get back on it and keep practicing. The worst thing I did was take so much time off in between ski trips as I got so nervous again but it's true what they say, it's just like riding a bike and now I feel incredibly confident and actually enjoyed myself as I could ski properly! I cannot wait to get even better!

I really hope this helped with FAQS for your first ski trip, I will have my ski trip vlog going live on my YouTube next week too so keep an eye out. I am linking more outfit ideas for skiing below too:

You might also like:

What to wear on a ski trip
New York restaurant guide
Guide to the best pizza in New York
2020 guide to visiting New York!
The best places for breakfast and brunch in New York

Lots of love, Em x

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