Sports & Outdoors

The ultimate skiing holiday checklist

Make sure you’ve got everything you need to have the most incredible time on the slopes with our ultimate skiing holiday checklist.

Whether you’ve been skiing since before you could walk, or you’re planning your first foray onto the slopes, our ultimate ski checklist will have you covered and make sure you have everything you need.

After counting down the months, weeks and days until your next skiing holiday, it’s finally time to start packing. Even if you’re an experienced skier, amid all the preparation, it’s easy to overlook something vital while packing and spend your trip regretting it. Take the stress out of your preparations with our skiing holiday packing list.

The ski season

As far as Europe goes, the ski season doesn’t really kick off until December, but if you find yourself unable to wait that long, you can still hit the slopes in the early season during October and November. Generally, early season skiing is limited to glacier areas and can be a bit hit-and-miss due to the unpredictability of the weather.

If you do manage to get lucky with an early snowfall, however, you’ll benefit from much quieter slopes. It also tends to be cheaper in the early season, for both accommodation and lift passes. You may even be lucky enough to spot national ski teams in training, as they like to get out there as early as possible and will drop everything for that first dumping of fresh powder.

Where to catch the early ski season

Austria and Switzerland are best for early season skiing, as there are several resorts open from the beginning of October. In fact, in Austria, the glacier areas of Sölden and Stubai have been known to open as early as September, providing the conditions allow it. In France, Val Thorens is noted for having some of the most reliable mountains as the altitude means snow can be made both manually and artificially. Tignes is the only resort to open at the start of October and is considered one of the most reliable areas for early snow. It’s suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, catering to everyone from beginners to experts in equal measure.

From December, it’s a different story, with ski resorts all over Europe open for business, welcoming skiers and snowboarders right up until April, so there’s plenty of opportunities to carve up those slopes.

Mountain with Tignes ski resort at the base with a blue sky.

Ski packing list

When it comes to skiing holidays, a bit of planning goes a long way. Not only is it incredibly frustrating to arrive and realise you’ve forgotten something, but resort prices for ski clothing and equipment can be very expensive, so you’ll kick yourself if you end up having to buy something twice!

What skiing equipment to pack

If it’s your first time skiing or snowboarding, it’s probably a good idea to think about hiring your equipment rather than investing before you know whether you’ll be going back. 

All the equipment you need can be hired at the resort and it’s easy to book a slot to go and collect it when you arrive. If you do decide to invest in your own equipment, it’s a good idea to go into a specialist store rather than purchase it online as you need to be fitted into your boots and skis by providing the store details of your ski level, weight, height and shoe size.

If you are investing in your own skiing equipment, you’ll find a breakdown of everything you’ll need below:

  • Skis or snowboard – you’re not going to get very far without these!
  • Ski poles – don’t forget to take them with you to and from the slopes
  • Ski boots – make sure they fit properly, otherwise, you’ll be incredibly uncomfortable
  • Ski socks – at least three or four pairs for the trip
  • Ski helmet – make sure you get it professionally fitted
  • Ski goggles – it’s difficult to rent these, so it’s worth investing in a pair before you go. A pair with interchangeable lenses is a good idea due to the variability of the weather conditions.
  • Ski jacket – or any warm, waterproof and breathable jacket
  • Salopettes – these should also be warm, waterproof and breathable
  • Ski gloves – or mittens if you prefer
  • Glove liners – for when it’s very cold
  • Balaclava – essential for extremely cold conditions
  • Neck warmer – the more layers the better, really

Man and woman choosing sports equipment looking on the ski and boots for skiing in the shop

Skiing holiday clothing checklist

What to pack for on and off the slopes:

  • Warm knitwear – layering is key, and natural fibres tend to be best
  • Warm socks – bring more than you think you’ll need
  • Base layers – it’s up to your preference of traditional thermals or modern layers to go under your ski jacket
  • Gloves, scarves and hats – remember it’s cold even when you’re not up a mountain
  • Comfy shoes – there’s no need to exacerbate any blisters you might get from your boots
  • Wellies – or other suitable waterproof footwear
  • Slippers – for padding around your chalet
  • Swimwear – in case you fancy a dip in a hot tub
  • Smart-casual outfits – in case you fancy treating yourself to a nice dinner one evening
  • Coat – you may not always want to wear your ski jacket

Happy friends drinking beer and eating chips surrounded by skiing equipment

Documents and additional items to pack

  • Backpack – for carrying all your essentials around
  • Lip balm with SPF and sun cream – you can easily get sunburn on your face and lips whilst skiing
  • First aid kit – make sure it’s well stocked with all the essentials
  • Deep Heat – your aching muscles will thank you for this one
  • Insurance papers – always keep your paperwork somewhere safe and accessible
  • Passport photos – in case you need them for your lift pass
  • Lift pass – check and check again that you have this on you
  • Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe – essential if you’re heading off piste
  • Map and compass – so that you can always work out where you are
  • Multitool knife – you never know when you might need a blade or tools
  • Hand warmers – cold fingers make everything so much more difficult
  • Ankle, knee or wrist supports – in case you need extra support or strain something
  • Water – make sure you’re always well hydrated
  • Snacks – for a little pick-me-up energy boost

Tips for successful ski holiday packing

A general rule of thumb for skiing is that it’s always better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared, so when it comes to things like socks, always take more than you think you’re going to need.

The amount of clothing and equipment needed for a skiing holiday means that driving to your resort gives you an immediate advantage. There are no restrictions or fees on luggage when travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so you can load up, hit the road and enjoy more quality time on the slopes

Couple sitting in deck chairs watching skiers descending the mountain

Take unlimited skiing equipment with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

If you can feel the slopes calling and you’re already mentally packing your bags and loading up the car, don’t forget to book your tickets with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and find out more about how we can help you make the most of your skiing holiday.

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Inspiration for your skiing holiday