Ski season is officially my FAVORITE season! As a first time skier, this type of trip can take A LOT of research, planning and prepping. It can get overwhelming if you are not sure what to spend your money on and even more so when you are on a budget. Fortunately, I have gone through the whole process and researched everything you possibly need to know for your first time ski trip! If you’re feeling nervous, not sure what to bring or just want to be prepared. Don’ stress, kickback and read on!
1. Ski Fashion
It can be really hard to avoid clothing costs for this kind of trip as it is essential to keeping you warm and comfortable. Especially if you come from a warm climate, these costs can really add up. Whether you are on a budget or don’t want to spend too much money on a vacation you aren’t 100% sure you will enjoy, I have the perfect snow items for you! It can be really hard to find quality snow clothing for a low price, however after much research I came across companies like Mountain Warehouse, Evo, Columbia and even Amazon that allowed me to purchase quality clothing pieces at an affordable price. Here is my list of MUST-HAVE items to purchase for your ski trip:
Arctix Snow Pants: After much shopping around to find quality, waterproof snow pants, I finally found the perfect pair! These pants are waterproof, insulated and affordable! After reading some of the negative reviews I was quite hesitant, but seeing as though Amazon does free returns, I figured I have nothing to lose. These pants did not disappoint, after a long ski day with over 100 falls in the snow, I was still very dry and comfortable. I 110% recommend these!
Columbia Base layer: While preparing for this trip, I read many articles about wearing a base layer made of Merino wool because it is a very good sweat wicking material. After much research, I finally found a top in my budget from Mountain Warehouse, however when I tried it on, it made me feel very itchy! Then, I found this gem at a Columbia store outlet in my area. This Base layer was sweat wicking, kept me extremely warm the entire time and was half the price of a merino wool top.
Columbia Mid Layer: This piece of clothing may vary in thickness depending on the time of year you will be going to ski, but essentially will be used to keep you warm. You can use a thick hoodie or sweater for this layer.
Columbia Ski Socks: After reading many articles about ski wear, I came to the conclusion that Ski socks are one of the most important ski items you will purchase and that they should be of quality. I purchased my ski socks from Columbia on sale as a buy one, get one free! They provided me with comfort and kept my toes warm while skiing.
Snow Jacket: The outer shell can be a pricey purchase if you do not plan in advance. I waited for black Friday deals to come around before I purchased this item, because I could not afford a $200+ Helly Hanson jacket. Instead, I noticed Abercrombie/ Hollister/ Burton had some really great deals for jackets at this time. For this item, I don’t have any specific recommendations but do recommend shopping around for this purchase.
Some Stores to look into:
Ski Goggles: No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles and before you say you don’t need them, just hear me out. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep snowflakes out of your eyes. Additionally, if you are hitting the slopes on a sunny day, the white snow reflects the sun and creates an unbearable glare. I found some cheap-ish snow goggles from Backcountry and Evo.
Winter Gloves: Waterproof gloves are essential to keeping your hands warm when you are falling in the snow!
Traveler Tip: If you sign up for email notifications, many of these sites actually send you discounts a few days later. I would recommend signing up and waiting to purchase.
Exio Neck Gaiter/ Face Mask: This face covering is not essential but definitely worth spending a few extra dollars on to keep your face warm as you are winding down the mountains. Also, a face mask is required at almost all ski resorts due to the Corona Virus and this definitely counts as one. If wearing a mask for a long period of time hurts behind your ears, I would recommend purchasing something like this, as it goes around your neck to protect your face and neck.
Traveler Tip: Don’t Wear Cotton while Skiing. Cotton clothing can get wet, either from snow, or sweat, and takes forever to dry out, and loses its insulation. Leaving you col and wet immediately. Don’t wear anything cotton.
2. Be Prepared
Make sure you do your research on ski lift prices and plan in advance to get early bird prices as ski lift tickets can hike up the price of your vacation very quickly. Read more about how I prepared for my first ski trip to Park City, Utah.
It’s worth researching where your accommodation is in proximity to slopes and lifts, along with the local amenities, as driving and parking can be quite a hassle.
3. Take a lesson
I decided to take a lesson at an indoor ski training school in Orlando… yes, I took a ski lesson in Florida! I would HIGHLY recommend taking a lesson before taking on the mountain because you will learn the basics like proper form, how to turn and stop (with confidence) and you won’t have to pay for those over priced ski lessons on the mountain. The best part about knowing the basics before hand was that I got to spend more time on the mountain instead of on the bunny slopes!
Traveler Tip: Practice getting up when you fall and learn the proper technique because you will be falling quite often! But its all part of the fun!
4. Rent Gear
The basic gear is: Skis, boots and usually a helmet for an extra $10. Poles are optional. If you are snowboarding it is : snowboard and boots. When looking at the rental websites, I noticed that the skis come in different packages based on your level of expertise. Depending on what you pick, the skis will be shorter or longer for the amount of speed you want to achieve. I would recommend the intermediate package because there is usually a larger variety of skis and brands offered. Be prepared to carry this gear around and walk in your VERY UNCOMFORTABLE ski boots.
5. Don’t over do it
If you have never skied before, you are most likely not used to using some of those muscles. After your first day of skiing you’ll be sore in places you didn’t even know you could be. Make sure to take breaks often and stay hydrated! If you are going for a few days, I would recommend taking a break in the middle of your stay and explore the ski town or enjoy other snow activities like tubing or snowmobiling. Read my Park City, Utah Guide!
6. Be cautious of the trails
It is no secret that snow sports can be quite dangerous. As you are gliding through the snow, make sure you are aware of what trails lead you safely back down the mountain. Pay attention to ski signs and colors as they are colored by difficulty.
7. Timing is everything!
Ok, so when applying this next tip be sure to take into consideration your budget. If you are looking for a budget-friendly trip, avoid booking during School holidays, Christmas or New Years Eve. This is when ski resorts are at their most expensive. They are also super crowded.
However, on the other hand, if you’re not on a strict budget absolutely book a trip for New Years Eve or Christmas. The events and atmosphere are AWESOME. I promise you won’t regret it.
8. Enjoy the views!
My first time on the mountain, I was so worried about falling or losing control that I forgot to look up and see where I was. The views from the top of the mountain can be exquisite and are definitely worth stopping on the side and taking it all in.
9. Pick A Beginner Friendly Resort
There are so many different ski resorts in the world from The Alps, the Pyrenees, Eastern Europe, the USA and Canada, but not all of them are good for beginners, so you need to do a bit of research before you book your trip. As a first timer, you want to pick a resort with a decent amount of green slopes plus a few blue runs to progress to. I recommend you follow this rule of thumb, if the resort has a high level of green and blue slopes. It is more than likely perfect for those hitting the slopes for the first time.
Wear sunscreen on the parts of your face that are exposed
Bring Lip Balm in your jacket pocket as conditions can be quite drying on your skin
For more tips, read more HERE
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