What to pack for a skiing holiday
If you're planning to hit the slopes this winter then you're probably starting to get quite excited now, although it's important not to get too carried away and forget to pack any essential items. After all, you're going to be in an extreme environment and will need certain pieces of gear to help you stay safe and enjoy yourself.
Obviously, the majority of the clothes you take with you will be designed to keep you as warm as possible, with hats, scarves, gloves and thermals among the more obvious items that you should have in your suitcase. However, there are a number of other vital objects which many people often forget to pack, and we'll now take you through some of these.
Because skiing is obviously associated with cold temperatures, many people don't think to take sunscreen with them when heading off to the mountains. After all, you aren't going to be doing any sunbathing while on your trip and certainly won't be basking in the heat.
However, because of the altitude, the sun is often extremely strong in ski resorts, and many skiers do get burnt. There's nothing worse than coming home with a ski goggle-shaped tan mark on your face, so it's important to apply sunscreen every day. Remember that you'll often be above the cloud line, which means the sun will be bearing directly down on you all day, while the thin air provides minimal resistance to ultraviolet rays.
It's also a good idea to take lip balm with you, as this will prevent your lips from getting dehydrated and chapped.
While gloves are an obvious item to pack when going skiing, it's important to consider the exact type of gloves that you will need - and this may depend on where you are going. Mittens are generally warmer than gloves with individual fingers, as they trap more warm air and therefore keep your hands insulated better.
If you're going to a particularly cold ski resort, such as those in northern Scandinavia or those that are at a very high altitude - like Zermatt in Switzerland or Solden in Austria - then you should make sure you have mittens.
If you're planning on skiing off-piste then there are certain objects that you'll need to take with you in case of an emergency. A transceiver, a shovel and a probe are the three most essential items, as these will help all members of your party to locate and rescue anyone who becomes buried in deep snow. In some places, it is even illegal to ski off-piste without these three pieces of equipment, which gives you an idea of just how vital they are.
Other things that can come in handy when skiing away from the main runs include walkie-talkies, a GPS map and tracker, a compass and a torch, while first aid packs including bandages, painkillers and anti-inflammatories can also prove vital.
Remember, though, that you should only ever go off-piste with a qualified guide, and SkiWeekends can help you arrange this.
Glacier skiing gear
For those who are intending on doing a spot of glacier skiing, a number of pieces of equipment will be needed. Harnesses, prusiks and screw gates are among the most obvious, as these will enable you to ascend and descend crevices, as well as cling to the glacier face in steep areas.
You may also need ice crampons and an ice axe when skiing on glaciers, although it's important to remember that - as with going off-piste - this extreme activity should only be attempted by experienced skiers and with the aid of a qualified guide.