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21 Jan Planning a Ski Holiday – What You Need to Know

The January blues are almost behind us and you may be planning your next getaway already. For some, the snow-covered hilltops are calling and the countdown until the ski holiday is well and truly underway.

Whether you’re an experienced skier or this is your first time hitting the slopes, a little bit of expert knowledge always comes in handy. Luckily, our own AA Roadwatchers (and experienced skiers) Nicole Gernon and Adrian Harmon have put together this handy list of everything you need to know before your next trip.

Hit the Gym

Both skiing and snowboarding are really enjoyable but also pretty hard work. You’ll get the most out of your holiday if you’ve some level of fitness built up beforehand. It’s a good idea to hit the gym a few weeks before you leave, focusing on your legs and tummy. You’ll probably fall down a lot mid-ski and your leg and core strength will really stand to you when you’re out on the slopes!

Bring the Winter Warmers

Plenty of woolly socks, fleeces and long johns are essential. It may seem obvious, but make sure to get a few pairs of really good ski socks and most importantly, wear them when you get fitted for your boots. You’ll probably have your boot fitting the day or night before your first lesson and it’s easy to forget to wear them when you’re not togged out in the rest of your gear.

A new pair of everyday boots is also essential. You won’t be able to walk around the resort in ski boots, and runners are no good if you want to stay on your two feet. Make sure you pack some shoes or boots with non-slip soles, hiking boots or snow boots are best, so you won’t be sliding all over the place and your tootsies will be nice and warm.

Sun's Out

No, this is not a sun holiday to the Caribbean but believe it or not, it is possible to get sunburnt in the middle of winter.  If you don’t want to have a sore nose and flaky skin for the duration of your trip then sun cream is a must. The glare from the sun bouncing off the snow can also be quite intense and ski goggles don’t look great strolling around the resort, so pack a pair of sunglasses too. You won’t be sorry!

Plastic bags will be your Friend

Plastic bags are a really handy way to waterproof clothes in your suitcase. You’re travelling to a winter destination so there’s a good chance that it will be raining (or snowing) while your bags are on the runway or while you’re lugging them to your hotel. Wrap your clothing inside your suitcase in plastic bags to keep them dry. The bags can also double up as a handy way of keeping dirty clothes out of the way!

Layer it Up

People think of snow and automatically think of cold, runny noses and hands so numb from the cold that you can no longer feel them. However, with all that exercise you can actually get quite warm while skiing. Get familiar with layering – think a base layer, fleece and light ski jacket, so you can take them off as necessary. Ski jackets with vents and removable fleeces will be your new best friend.

Watch your Back(pack)

A small backpack is essential for a long day on the slopes. Whether you use it to carry a lunch or need somewhere to store your extra layers, a small compact bag that you can easily throw on your back is your best option. You may need a change of clothes, extra socks or a bottle of water while you’re out and about and a backpack is the handiest choice.

Eat, Eat, Eat

Even if you’ve been out enjoying Après Ski until all hours, remember to eat a decent breakfast in the morning. You’ll be out on the (expensive) slopes for most of the day, doing a fair amount of exercise and you’ll be absolutely starving in no time. If you’re super organised you can pack some snacks for the day or, even better, make a lunch to bring with you.

A Bit of a Stretch

You wouldn’t leave a gym session or finish a run without stretching and skiing or snowboarding is no different. Before you hit the bar, take a couple of minutes or so to stretch. You’ll notice the advanced skiers doing it and your muscles will thank you the following morning!

Are you Covered?

Another handy tip for fellow skiiers is to make sure your winter sports holiday insurance is up to date before you travel. Remember to upgrade your travel insurance to the appropriate additional level to ensure you’re covered for winter sports, as well as the likes of lost or damaged sports equipment. To find out more about AA Travel Insurance click here.

Sharron Lynskey
Sharron.Lynskey@theaa.com