Fashion plays an inescapable part in what is considered to look cool on the ski slopes. On luxury ski holidays fashion trends change from year to year, but underpinning it this is the essential gear that you will need in order to keep you safe and at a comfortable temperature; neither too hot nor too cold. Here we will look at the essential ski gear that, as a beginner, you should take on your ski trip.
The first thing you should consider is the ambient temperature and this will depend to a large extent on where you will be skiing and the time of year. Sometimes it can be mild and even quite warm when the sun shines, but there are also times when the temperatures might plummet to many degrees below freezing, so you will need to be prepared for either eventuality. As well as the temperatures on the ski slopes you also need to consider the evening temperatures when you might be venturing outdoors; be prepared for very cold evenings. Essential items of clothing include:
• A quality ski jacket - It is not necessary to have a designer label jacket but it is advisable to buy one produced by a quality manufacturer. It needs to be warm, waterproof, able to breathe, and functional. It should be loose enough to allow you to wear layers of clothing beneath it so you can maintain a comfortable body temperature whatever the external conditions.
• Other clothing layers - Under your jacket you will want to wear a number of layers depending on conditions. Next to your skin you should wear a breathable thermal layer, then you will need mid layers which could be fleece or soft shell jackets
• Ski trousers - Salopettes used to be de rigour on the slopes, but nowadays ski trousers have become very popular. They are more versatile and look good. If the weather is cold, then you can wear a thermal and breathable base layer of ski pants underneath.
• Ski hat - as a beginner you are advised to wear a ski helmet (see below) but if you decide not to then you must at least wear a ski hat. We lose a huge amount of heat through our heads and a warm and cosy hat will prevent this and keep you warm all over.
• Ski socks - You do not want to spend all day with cold feet, so buy yourself several pairs of warm ski socks, preferably woolen ones.
Goggles and Sunglasses
Goggles and sunglasses are an essential part of the equipment you take on your ski holidays. As a beginner you might be surprised as to how bright sunlight can be when it is reflected off the pure whiteness of the snow. Trying to ski in such conditions without proper eye protection is not only extremely uncomfortable, it is very dangerous and you may risk permanent eye damage.
On a fine yet cloudy or overcast day you can get away with quality sunglasses, but these need to be specified for the job they are being used for and must provide excellent UV filtration. However, if the sun is very bright or there is snow around then you will need a good pair of ski goggles. It is worth spending that little bit extra if it buys better quality. You need to be happy that they fit snugly on your face and that there is adequate ventilation to prevent them misting up. Your eyes are very important, and you would be ill-advised to try to save money by buying poor quality eye protection.
Despite what some people might tell you, it really is cool to wear a ski helmet whether you are a beginner or skilled skier. Certainly there is an element of bravado amongst some skiers who would never be seen wearing a helmet, but for a beginner not to do so is no less than foolishness. Head injuries are the main cause of fatalities on the ski slopes and many of those could have been avoided if the skier simply had worn a helmet.
Again it is important that you get a helmet that fits snugly and securely. A good quality lightweight qualified helmet is an excellent investment and could save your life.
Ski gloves are essential; you cannot get away with an ordinary pair of gloves. Again your gloves are an item on which it is worth spending a little more money in order to get better quality. Ideally you need gloves that are comfortable when it is mild and when it is cold, so they should be able to breath in order to prevent your hands from getting clammy. Some gloves are provided with silk inner gloves to wear when the weather is exceptionally cold, and these are worth the extra expenditure.
In addition to keeping you warm, ski gloves should protect your hands during a fall.
As a beginner we recommend that you hire your skis and your ski boots, and often these are included in the price of all inclusive ski holidays. These can be very expensive and buying a cheap pair of ski boots is a good way to waste money. You should leave these major investments until you are convinced that skiing is for you and you know what it is you really need and what are willing to invest in.