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What to pack for a family ski holiday

Heading to the slopes for the first time this year? Find out what seasoned skiers take with them – and where to find top kit for all the family.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jul 13, 2021

Mother and child skiing

There are some things you will definitely need, no matter where you're going or how long for. As with every holiday, start with travel documents, medication and travel adaptors, and then at least you'll have all the essentials. It's also important to think worst case scenarios, and be prepared in case any of your crowd hurt themselves – first aid kits and EHIC cards will be essential for this, as well as the telephone number of your insurance company.

Ski holiday essentials:

  • Passports
  • EHIC Cards
  • The right currency
  • Phone chargers
  • Plug adapters
  • First Aid
  • Medication
  • Camera
  • Contact details for your insurance company

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What kit will you need for the slopes?

Children skiing

First things first – you don't need to buy your own skis and helmets, as you can hire these out when you get there. With everything else, what you pack and how many layers you need will depend on where you're going skiing and when – Whistler in Canada in early January is a totally different experience to the French Alps in March. Plus, Mumsnetters all have different advice for how many of everything you should take, but bear in mind that you will be able to hand wash and air out anything which gets too sweaty on alternating days, so you don't need to pack fresh for every single day. Consider lots of thinner layers as this will give the whole family ultimate versatility.

  • A warm base layer – merino wool is great as it keeps you warm even when wet
  • A fleecy/woollen mid-layer
  • A proper waterproof ski jacket
  • Thermal leggings for under ski trousers
  • Salopettes or ski trousers
  • Ski socks – take lots of thicknesses so you can choose the most comfortable for each day
  • Waterproof gloves (we recommend thin mittens rather than gloves, and definitely take a spare for the kids as they can get soaked)
  • Thin inner gloves (silk is ideal for warmth)
  • Snow boots
  • Sunglasses (on cords so they hang around your neck) and/or goggles (for when it's very cold)
  • Neck buff or balaclava for under helmet if particularly cold
  • Sun cream

What Mumsnetters say: 

“Your layers on the top half don't need to be fancy, you can just layer up what you already have. It's handy to have a zip to undo if you get hot, but a regular jumper underneath will be fine, there is no real need to buy sporty extras. I just wear a vest top from H&M, a long-sleeved top, and a woolly jumper, usually.”

“We tie the DC's gloves on elastic which runs through their coats so they can't drop them.”

“Consider taking a second pair of salopettes for the kids depending on their age, as my two had form for weeing in theirs when they were small.”

To get you started:

What should you pack for the après ski?

Child in ski gear

Make sure to pack suitable bits and pieces for evenings and days away from the slope, as trust us, you won't want to be hanging around in your ski gear for any longer than you have to. You won't need a fresh outfit for each evening, as each will only get a couple of hours' wear, so pack smart to minimise the space taken up in your cases. Also have a think about how much of everything you will need when if your kids decide they need to build a snowman/have a snowball fight/roll down a snowdrift – make sure you have spares for them to wear while everything is drying out.

  • Woolly hat
  • Another pair of gloves to wear around the resort
  • Snow-proof boots
  • Thick socks
  • A few changes of outfit

What Mumsnetters say:

“You really only need one or two changes of normal clothes, as you'll only really wear them in the later afternoon and evening. If you're staying in a hotel, a lot of kids will wear comfy pyjama-style stuff in the evenings.”

“I made a note last year to take more light shirts etc for dinnertime and light PJs as the hotel or chalet is often boiling.”

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For perfect cosy evenings in the chalet

Family in woolly socks

Evenings spent cosied up in the chalet are as much a part of a ski holiday as time spent on the slopes. We're thinking hot chocolate, board games and onesies (if they're your thing) in front of a log fire – bliss. A word of warning from Mumsnetters, though: hotels and chalets are often very warm, so think in layers and don't bundle everyone up too warm for bed, as you're likely to overheat.

  • Slippers
  • Slipper socks
  • DVDs or your iPad for some TV in the evening
  • Board games
  • A good, wintry book
  • Some lounge clothes for playing board games

What Mumsnetters say:

“Games – regardless of whether there are two of us or eight of us, they feature every evening.”

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Related: here are some more family-friendly board games to fall out over take with you

If you're taking a baby or toddler

Toddler in the snow

As you are well aware by now, taking babies and toddlers anywhere raises a whole host of problems you never knew existed. For actual skiwear, think similar to the list above, but consider opting for a snowsuit onepiece – the pros are that they are much warmer, but be prepared for the faff of getting it off and on when they need to wee all. the. time. Here are a couple of extras you should definitely pack if travelling with anyone under the age of five.

  • A snowsuit
  • Plastic bags
  • Baby sunglasses with a strap
  • Spare gloves – they will all get soggy

What Mumsnetters say:

“Kids grow out of this stuff so quickly that there's always tonnes of secondhand stuff flying around – mention that you're looking for ski gear to all your friends, and I bet you'll have an offer of something.”

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Non-essential items that will make life easier

Mother and child in winter

There are some things which – while not necessary – will definitely make life a lot easier once you get to the resort. It's worth taking a read whether you're a newbie or a seasoned skier, as we've compiled this entire list from Mumsnetter advice of things they wish they'd known beforehand.

  • Bum bags for tissues, keys, wallet and phone
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Ski ties
  • Moisturiser
  • Some sugar-loaded snacks for an energy boost on the slopes
  • Packets of tissues – runny noses are inevitable
  • Painkillers
  • Factor 50+ sunscreen, plus an SPF lip balm
  • Hand/foot warmers
  • If you're self-catered: tea, coffee, ketchup, etc
  • An extension cable with four sockets (added bonus: you'll need less adapters)
  • Knee supports
  • A helmet cover to help you spot everyone

Mumsnetters say:

“We take plenty of those hand warmers which you take out of their packet, shake up and put into your gloves. They stay warm for many hours.”

“A four-socket UK extension cable so that you don't have to fight over adapters to get everything charged up overnight.”

“Ibuprofen gel. Lots of it (for mysterious new aches and pains).”

“Have a decent quantity of painkillers around, ski boots are bastards, particularly when you're learning, and will leave painful dents in you.”

“Plenty of moisturiser – cold air dries your skin, and it's nice to have something to rub in to your aching calves at the end of the day.”

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