Getting kitted out
Let’s face it, winter sports holidays aren’t cheap. And you won’t want to spend too much kitting yourself out for that first trip, only to find you hate skiing and want to go boarding instead. But there are some essential items you’ll need and others you can hire or borrow from your mates to get you started.
Practically everyone uses clothing specially made for skiing, but more general outdoor clothing can be used if you already have it. It doesn’t have to be top-of-the-range either; stores such as Tesco and TK Maxx sell a good range of reasonably-priced kit. You can hire clothing too, from retailers such as Edge2Edge.
But it needs to be wind and waterproof. Make sure you have plenty of layers on hand too, in case it is seriously cold. Thermal bases and fleeces are ideal. Special padded gloves (or mittens, if you suffer from cold hands) and a warm hat (unless you decide to purchase a helmet) are essential, as are a pair of goggles or sunglasses. More on that to come…
Boots, boards and skis
Beginners should rent equipment for the first week or two. And rent in the resort rather than in the UK, so that you can easily swap uncomfortable or unsuitable equipment during your week on the slopes. When you start, you want relatively short skis or boards that are slow and easy to turn, and relatively soft boots that place more emphasis on comfort than on precise control. You may want to change your equipment during the week, as you make progress.
For most people, it’s sensible to carry on renting for a few years, as your skill increases and your needs change. Owning your own boots, in particular, has great advantages; renting boots is always a bit of a lottery, and you are never going to get a really close fit until you buy your own. If you carry on renting too long, you’ll be limiting your progress.