With temperatures dropping, snow already falling across the Alps and the season fast approaching, you may be thinking of what you’ll need for your next winter escape to keep the whole family toasty. We know it can be quite daunting to navigate the ever-changing world of ski kit, so we’ve summed up all the necessities and some of our favourite brands to help you get organised without the stress, especially if it’s your first family ski holiday!
One of the most important pieces of clothing you’ll need on your ski holiday for adults and children alike is without doubt a warm, waterproof ski jacket. These can come in numerous colours and styles but it’s key that they keep you warm as temperatures can reach well below freezing at times. Ski jackets are usually well insulated and many have handy air vents that can be unzipped to make the jacket more breathable to avoid the need to remove layers in warmer conditions. It is also important to look for a jacket with a powder skirt that fastens snugly around your hips or waist to reduce the chance of snow going up your back if you happen to topple over, when you’re sitting on a snowy chairlift or skiing through fresh powder snow. It’ll help to keep you warm and dry.
You’ll also definitely need a pair of insulated, waterproof ski pants or salopettes as they are key to keeping your lower half warm and dry while you’re exploring the mountain. Salopettes are different from ski pants because they have shoulder straps to keep them up, similar to dungarees, and choosing between them comes down to a matter of preference. Most salopettes and ski pants come with snow gaiters that seal around your ski boots and help to keep the snow out and your feet dry. You may also choose an all-in-one ski suit instead of having a separate jacket and ski pants which have the benefit of minimising the amount of wind and snow going up your back.
It can be difficult to decide how many layers you need under your outerwear. Thermal base layers are always a good idea because they really help to keep you warm. There are a vast array of thermals to choose from, including synthetic fibres and natural options like merino wool, and choosing the right one for you can be surprisingly involved. Synthetic thermals are generally made of polyester and can keep you warm in temperatures down to -10. They’re often a more economical option although there are some high-tech versions that have very good moisture wicking, compression and warmth retention qualities. Merino wool doesn’t come cheap but it is hard to beat in terms of its ability to regulate body temperature thanks to its miniature air pockets that help take away any extra heat. It also works the other way around, keeping you warm in temperatures as low as -20 degrees. Merino is also super soft and cosy and It has the added benefit of natural antibacterial qualities meaning that even after a wonderful, active ski day you’ll still feel fresh which is often not the case when wearing synthetic base layers. For kids, it can be difficult to get them out of them for the entire duration of the holiday because they make the most comfortable pyjamas/homewear too!
We also recommend bringing a few mid layers like a fleece or warm jumpers for those really cold days when you may need to add an extra layer.
Vital Bits and Bobs
Ski socks are essential to ensure your feet stay warm while skiing, so rather than worrying about cold toes you can focus on enjoying what the mountain has to offer. A good pair of ski socks also create a comfy layer between your skin and your ski boots, providing cushioning in the right places to avoid blisters and chafing. Again there is a wide range of synthetic and natural options to choose on based on preferences and budget
Gloves are an absolute must as they’re vital to keep your hands warm and dry and protect them from the wind while skiing, on a nippy chairlift, or even during the occasional snowball fight! The choice between mittens and gloves can be a tough one as both have pros and cons. Mittens can help to keep hands especially warm because they help to retain heat by keeping your fingers together but they can make it difficult to do everyday things such as putting on lip balm, cleaning your goggles or adjusting your helmet. Gloves may be slightly less warm but they give you more dexterity, meaning you need to remove them less often which is useful. Snowboarders often favour gloves over mittens because they need to be able to unclip their bindings more easily. It is useful to have gloves or mittens that come with elastic straps to attach to your wrists to avoid dropping them while reapplying suncream or taking a photo on the ski lift (unless you’re looking for an excuse for some off piste skiing!). For extra warmth, you can also wear thin thermal gloves underneath your original gloves for that extra layer on windy days and again there are natural options like merino wool and silk, as well as synthetic options.
Eye protection is key when skiing so you have a clear vision of the mountain terrain. Ski goggles are a great protector from the elements. By trapping heat and excluding wind, they keep your face warm and protected. In snowy conditions, goggles are a must. You may also wish to bring a pair of sunglasses for warmer days. Many people find them more comfortable and they may be preferable if you have prescription sunglasses that you’d like to wear. Goggles can be tricky for spectacle wearers but there are goggles available to fit over smaller-framed glasses, as well as the option to order goggles with prescription lenses. Lots of skiers simply choose to wear contact lenses while skiing.
An item easily forgotten is suncream. While on the slopes, the sun’s rays are reflected off the white snow meaning that even on overcast days you can get sunburnt so make sure to apply suncream each morning and reapply often, especially when it’s sunny. Lip-balm is also vital to avoid chapped and windburned lips.
At Powder Byrne, we understand how difficult it can be to choose the right ski gear from the wide variety of choices available so we’ve put together our top recommendations of brands we love.
The Cosiest Base Layers
We understand choosing thermals can be quite daunting since they play such a vital role in keeping the whole family warm on the slopes and there are so many options to choose from. We love Smalls’ natural merino wool base layers because they’re super soft, breathable, have great natural moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties and are super cosy without being bulky. Use code PB15 to get 15% off their range of mens, womens, kids and babies base layers at www.smallsmerino.co.uk
Adorable Kids Ski Suits
Roarsome is one of our favourite kids’ brands and has recently launched a range of adorable, animal-themed ski suits for children aged 2 to 7, keeping them warm and dry while they enjoy the slopes. One of the reasons we love their suits so much is because they’re so easy to put on in the mornings and they’re perfect for keeping the cold out when the kids are skiing or playing in the snow. We can’t decide which design is cutest: ‘Hop’ the bunny, ‘Cub’ the lion or ‘Spike’ the dinosaur. Use the code ‘POWDERBYRNE’ to get 15% off at www.roarsome.com
For the Adults
For adults, one of our favourites is Perfect Moment. We love their huge variety of colours, fabrics and styles, all super functional and comfortable while being stylish and fashionable. Whether you’re looking for a ski jacket, salopettes or an all-in-one suit we love that they have something for everyone.
Speak to our Client Concierge team for more information on what to pack or if you’re still looking to book a winter escape, contact our Travel Consultants on 020 8246 5300.