What sort of kit do you need to take on a ski season, and how do you fit it all in? Crystal’s expert seasonnaires let us in on the secret
Words by Rachel, who has done two seasons: one as an instructor in Verbier (W12/13) and one as a resort rep in Les Arcs (W13/14) and is now a Merchandising Executive for Crystal Ski Holidays.
When it comes to packing for a season you don’t need to think too far out of the box, but there are a few things you need to take into account before packing for the next 5 months in the mountains!
How much baggage allowance do seasonnaires get?
All Crystal season workers get the same baggage allowance regardless of whether you’re travelling out to resort by coach or by plane. That is:
- 1 x 20kg suitcase or hold-all
- 1 x ski boot bag
- 1 x ski bag
- 1 x hand luggage (we recommend you use your off-piste backpack for this!)
At first that might not seem like all that much room when you’ll be away for the whole winter season, but when you’re living in your ski gear most of the time you’ll be surprised by just how few clothes you really need!
You can also eke out a little room by taking a double ski bag, like the Dakine Fall-Line Double.
What kit should you pack for a ski season
Lets start with the important stuff – your ski kit. We recommend:
- One pair of all mountain skis, or if possible two pairs to cover piste and offpiste/park (as a seasonnaire you can often get good deals in resort, so you don’t actually need to bring both with you)
- A pair of well fitted ski boots
- One pair of ski poles
- 1 x waterproof and breathable ski jacket and pants
- 2 x base layer top and bottoms
- 2 x mid layers (a standard fleece works well)
- At least 3 pairs of ski socks, but really here the more the merrier!
- Two pairs of ski gloves
- One pair of goggles with changeable lenses for different conditions
- One pair of sunglasses
- 2 x Buffs or face masks
- Offpiste safety kit (backpack, transceiver, shovel, probe)
- A selection of beanies or warm hats
What to wear down in the ski resort?
You’d be surprised how few clothes you actually need over a season. As well as your uniform and a week’s worth of underwear and socks, two pairs of jeans, 5 t-shirts and a couple of jumpers or hoodies is plenty – plus some comfy joggers for lazy days.
Ladies, you’re unlikely to actually wear that dress and heels given the typical ski resort nightlife vibe, however nights out can be freezing so a warm jacket (NOT your expensive ski jacket) is a must when walking between bars.
In terms of shoes, remember you’ll be walking about in the snow a lot, so a good pair of snow boots or hiking boots are essential, plus sneakers or whatever you normally wear at home. Skate shoes can be a great option, as they’re tough, waterproof, and have grippy soles for walking on ice.
It may be cold but don’t forget your swimwear, as most resorts have a pool or spa facilities somewhere and it’s great to get in and soothe those muscles after a hard day/month on the slopes.
You’re might be going for the winter season but remember to pack for spring too! You’d be surprised just how warm ski resorts can get in April, and flip-flops and shorts make a brilliant change from heavy ski kit once the spring bbq sessions start.
Electronics, miscellaneous, and down days entertainment
For lazy days or pre-drinks, make sure you take a pack of cards and a mini speaker. A laptop and Netflix account (or a hard drive stuffed with films and TV shows) are a godsend on down days too.
Of course a smartphone with wifi (no data roaming charges – other than Switzerland – woohoo!) will come in handy for keeping in touch with folks back home, finding out which stash your mates are seasoning on the mountain, and of course Instagramming all the powder.
Make sure you remember all your chargers! But instead of buying a bunch of adaptors, grab a cheap multi-plug strip from Ikea so you can charge all your electronics from just one plug socket and adaptor.
Toiletries, medications, and other essentials
Yes, the shops in ski resorts are different to the UK, but they’re not in the Third World either. Don’t bother bringing out a winter’s worth of shampoo or shower gel, as pretty much every resort in the Alps has a super market with an ample selection.
However, medications can be much more expensive in Europe, so it’s worth picking up a few packs of paracetamol or similar, plus Lemsip or other cold remedies, and perhaps a few multi-vitamins.
The supply of things like tea bags, baked beans, cheddar, bacon, peanut butter, and other British essentials (yes, cheddar is essential!) can also be variable, so if you can’t live without Marmite or Yorkshire Tea either bring a few packs with you or arrange for someone at home to send a few care packages your way once you arrive.