Snow Gear - Essential Items To Take Skiing or Snowboarding
What to Take Skiing or Snowboarding
Having been an avid skier and snowboarder for over 20 years and having worked in ski resorts, I have learnt along the way what items that you really must take with you when going skiing or snowboarding. Some of these items have changed over the years as fashion and trends have changed but overall the things you need to take skiing are those designed to keep you warm and safe!
Temperatures can be relatively mild at some times of the year and can even be very warm when the sun is shining down on you but don't expect this all the time as temperatures can easily get down to as low as -30 degrees celsius if you are unlucky (or even lower!) so you need to be prepared for the extremes. Due to these cold temperatures the things you need to take skiing or snowboarding should be ones that are specifically designed for the cold weather and not just your everyday jacket, trousers etc.
Even when going out in the evenings you need to be prepared for cold temperatures so make sure you have a good ski or boarding jacket and sturdy shoes in particular.
Ski Goggles and Sunglasses
Sunglasses and goggles are a necessity to keep out the harmful effects of the suns rays. The sun becomes even brighter once it is reflected in the white snow and it is almost impossible to ski or board without sunglasses or goggles apart from on a cloudy day.
Sunglasses are only really useful if the weather is fine as, once it starts snowing, it is difficult to ski or board wearing sunglasses as they fog up, and snow gets in between your face and the glasses. There are specific sunglasses that are made for snow and they have a high UV protection factor. Don't take cheap sunglasses to the slopes as these will not protect your eyes sufficiently. In the case of snow you really need to wear ski goggles to help with the visibility. Make sure that the ski goggles fit snugly on your face but also have air vents to enable the air to circulate and to stop them fogging up. With ski goggles you often get what you pay for so buy the best pair that you can afford and you will feel the benefit.
So get some good quality skiing or boarding sunglasses and the best quality ski goggles you can afford and you will be prepared for all weathers.
Snowboarding Helmets and Ski Helmets
The benefits of wearing a helmet are pretty obvious and in the last few years the number of people you see wearing a helmet on the slopes has increased massively. Whether you are a skier or snowboarder and whether you ski or board on the piste or off it, you should seriously consider wearing a helmet to prevent any kind of head injuries. It is not only to protect you from yourself falling but anyone else crashing into you may also cause some kind of skiing head injury. Most helmets are suitable for either boarding or skiing.
In some resorts it is compulsory for children to wear helmets so make sure that you either take one with you or hire one when you are in resort.
Ski Gloves and Snowboarding Gloves
In order to protect your hands from the cold weather you need gloves that are specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding. Once again you get what you pay for and if you buy cheap ski gloves then you may end up with cold hands! In some cases it is also useful to have some silk glove inners to give extra warmth in particularly cold temperatures. I always carry a pair of silk glove inners with me in case the temperature drops.
Snowboard gloves often have a longer sleeve to go over the jacket and stop snow going up the sleeve.
Other Essential Skiing and Snowboarding Items
Other items that you will need when preparing for a skiing or snowboarding trip are:
- A good quality ski or snowboard jacket - if you can afford a good brand name then it will probably protect you better from the elements than a cheap jacket.
- Ski or snowboard trousers - as above, buy good quality, there are specific trousers for snowboarders that are designed slightly differently (for example with better padding on the knees) so get those if you plan to snowboard.
- Ski/boarding socks - specially designed to keep feet warm in low temperatures, much better than standard shop bought socks.
- Hat/scarf. If you choose not to wear a helmet then you will need a hat or even just for apres ski when outdoors. It does depend on what time in the season that you go but temperatures can get to below -30 degrees C if you are unlucky.
- A lock - you can get special locks to lock up your skis or snowboard when you stop at a mountain restaurant for lunch. The last thing you want is someone stealing your skis or board.