It’s reached that time of year when, for some of us, thoughts turn to the alpine slopes. Instagram feeds have started to fill up with pictures of snowy scenes and members of the NTU Snowsports Society are only a few sleeps away from their trip to Tignes!
If this is your first time in the mountains and you’ve never experienced that sinking feeling when the enormous bag you’ve hauled through airports, on and off transfer buses and up the stairs to your hotel room is finally opened to reveal that just 10% of the contents are of any practical use, you’ll be wanting some guidance!
Never fear, we’re here with the Platform Lean Guide to perfect packing for your next mountain getaway!
– For clothes, multi-tasking is the way to go
In the winter, weather conditions in the mountains can be unpredictable so it’s important to be ready for whatever the day has to throw at you. That doesn’t mean you have to go big with your holiday wardrobe though. There’s a fantastic range of performance clothing out there featuring technical fabrics that layer up to take you comfortably from bar to blizzard. And don’t worry about cost, either; places like TK Maxx, Aldi and Lidl offer a fantastic range of affordable gear at this time of year. Start from the base layers and work outwards, topped off with a seasonal weatherproof outer shell. Just open the curtains in the morning and layer up accordingly. The great advantage of a technical fabric is it’s so light that if in doubt, it’ll roll up and pop up into a backpack or ski jacket pocket just in case you need it. No sweat!
– You’ll need plenty of socks
Trust us on this one….. or just ask anyone who’s ever had to recycle a pair of day-old ski socks and they’ll explain.
– Sturdy and comfortable footwear (preferably weather-proof) is essential.
A good pair of walking boots will do the job. Après entertainments are a laid-back affair too so one decent pair of boots will take you everywhere. If you’ve not already danced on a table in a pair of ski boots or walked across 2-meter-deep snow in stiletto heels, you don’t know how useful this advice is… yet!
If you’ve got your own ski boots, they can take up a lot of space in your suitcase so packing light with everything else is even more important. However, to the person we recently saw trying to board a flight to Geneva wearing their ski boots and helmet: That’s not what we meant!
– Sun protection
You’ll need sun cream, glasses and a hat, whatever the season. Have you seen what goggle tan looks like? Need we say more?
– Bring a lightweight backpack
The advantage of this is that it can double up as your carry-on bag for your flight (more on this in a moment). We would recommend a day-pack sized bag with enough pockets to keep essential items organized. Whilst you are on holiday it will carry your day to day bits and bobs and while you travel it will keep your important documents and belongings safely with you.
If you are checking a bag into the hold, be sure you have
all of your travel documents, your money, any necessary medication, your laptop
and phone, car hire documents (if needed) and anything else you can’t live
without in your hand luggage. It makes for a far smoother experience on
Finally, here are a few last helpful tips we learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
All of your hand luggage liquids must be under 100ml in volume and must be transported in one, sealable, clear plastic bag (they are given away free in the security lanes). If you go over the limit, you’ll have to bin it!
Don’t throw the bag away when you arrive in the resort as it makes the perfect waterproof carrier for your mobile phone whilst out and about in the mountains. We’ve discovered that pockets aren’t always weatherproof.
You might find it useful to pack a slimline belt bag or travel wallet for your money, keys and any other must-haves you want to carry with you in the mountains and out and about after hours.
Bring a pocket-sized sunscreen. Cheap before you travel but horribly expensive to buy in the resort.
Paper hankies and hand sanitizer are also a worthwhile purchase whilst you wait for your boarding gate to open.
You might find it useful to pack a selection of high energy snack bars for pockets whilst out and about, especially if you are traveling with small children or people who go hard on the après; they’ve certainly got us out of many sticky situations!
Well, that’s your packing sorted. All that remains is to work out where to fit in those ski boots and helmet. Sorry, but you’re on your own with that one!
By Bobby Twidale
Feature image : Original