As with any sport, you need the right gear if you want to practice it safety and correctly. Skiing is no different and if you’re thinking about hitting the slopes anytime soon, you’ll need to be outfitted correctly. Would Batman fight the Joker without his suit? No. Will you tackle the Matterhorn without your helmet? No, you will not. Here’s what you’ll need.
We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.
You’ll want to go for a manmade fabric, like an acrylic/nylon blend. Wool is terrible as when your feet sweat the wool will just absorb the water and stay that way and you definitely don’t want to see your feet after a day of skiing in woolen socks … trust me. Another must is that the socks have to be elasticated and come above the boot line. You need your socks to stay up otherwise it’s too distracting and you’ll end up trying to dig your socks back out of your boots all day and that’s just no fun at all.
Make sure you buy designated ski pants; and if you can’t afford them or can’t find any (go to an outdoor gear shop), then any type of manmade waterproof type trousers will do. What you need to avoid is jeans and sweat pants. They may be the most comfortable option, but if jeans get wet they’ll stay that way and then freeze and that would be horrendous. Sweats breathe too well, which would just mean very cold nether regions as you glide down the mountain. If you stick with nice ski wear/water proofs then your legs will stay nice and warm all through the skiing and the après ski (nothing worse than soggy legs when you’re trying to enjoy the après ski).
You’ll have to think for yourself a bit with this part because depending on the weather when you get up there, you’ll need different things. If it’s ‘warm’ (in terms of being on top of a mountain) then you can get away with skin-tight base layer, a tee, a hoodie/pullover, and then a waterproof (see the problems with trousers). If it’s going to be cold and wet (snowing or raining), then you’ll probably need more, including a high quality waterproof jacket that can withstand a complete battering – you’re normal supermarket variety just won’t do. Click here to see the resorts on offer and you can then check out what the weather is like for the time of year you’ll be going and adjust accordingly.
Frostbite is a real a danger and not just reserved for Victorian explorers and Ranulph Fiennes. If you don’t have serious quality gloves (I’d heartily recommend leather) then you run the risk of getting it and from what I’ve heard it’s one of the worst pains imaginable. Don’t think you’re being a hero by not wearing gloves; you’re just being an idiot.
As with any exercise that involves speed, you need to protect your head from any damage that might occur when you fall down (which you will definitely do), or hit a rock or tree etc. You probably don’t need to buy a helmet beforehand as all the resorts I’ve been to have had the ability to rent them for a few bob a day.
You need to protect your eyes from the snow and the sun so make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses for those sunny days and a decent pair of goggles for every other time. Some people prefer goggles every day of the trip, whilst others can make do with just sunglasses. It’s up to you, but better safe than sorry is always a good motto.