Great news for winter sports fans: The 2014 Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia, less than two months from now, on February 7, 2014. The spotlight on the various alpine and freestyle skiing events will likely motivate both skiing enthusiasts and skiing novices, spurring weekend getaways to local ski resorts. To help less-knowledgeable skiers save time and relieve stress, we offer a few tips on what to pack (and what not to pack) for a ski weekend.
Prepare for sub-freezing temperatures. Cold weather is a common (and necessary) part of the ski experience, but there’s a significant difference — in degrees and in kind — between a stiff January breeze blowing around a street corner and a bone-chilling winter wind at the top of a mountain. Pack for a worst-case scenario; include:
- Long underwear
- Waterproof thermal socks
- Insulated blue jeans
- Turtlenecks and/or flannel shirts
- Heavy sweaters
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof ski pants
- Insulated gloves and/or mittens
- A warm hat and/or balaclava and a scarf
- Ski goggles
- Lip balm and sunscreen
You can take off some of the apparel as conditions allow, but it’s a lot easier to shed existing layers of clothes than it is to add layers you don’t have.
Rent your equipment. Unless you already own skis, boots, and poles, you might be better off getting your gear at the resort’s rental shop, instead of splurging on everything for a sport you’re just learning. Rentals can be more cost-effective, and the staff can match you up with the proper equipment for that day’s snow conditions. Plus, the less you pack, the less you have to lug around.
Bring (or rent) a ski helmet. For safety reasons, many resorts now mandate that their employees wear helmets when skiing or snowboarding, and the employees are probably much more adept in snow than you are. Head injuries while skiing or snowboarding are serious matters; a helmet can save your life.
Pack your daily necessities. That means toiletries, makeup, pajamas, medications, vitamins — all the items that are part of your day-to-day routine. While virtually all resorts have convenience stores, they’re not as well-stocked as your local supermarket, and you’re unlikely to find a pharmacy in a remote location, let alone a doctor who will write you a prescription without a full workup.
Bring the entertainment. For some, the fun begins with the après-ski activities. Make sure you take along your camera, video (or perhaps board) games, your favorite bottle(s) of wine or beer, that book and/or DVD you’ve been hoping to catch up on, and definitely your smile and sense of adventure. A weekend getaway is a vacation, so take the opportunity to relax in whatever way you see fit.
Pack away some savings, too. With Travel Plus, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations while enjoying rebates on a variety of travel perks. Wherever you go, ski safely — and best of luck avoiding a yard sale!