Avoid cotton at all costs!
Cotton absorbs moisture, that means anything wet will cling to you - sweat, water, snow, anything! When skiing, it’s cold. Wet clothes in the cold make for gross discomfort.
So, if you take nothing else away from this article, make it this…
DON’T WEAR COTTON WHEN YOU'RE SKIING
Now we have that out of the way, let’s work up from the bottom, starting with our poor, often neglected, feet.
Thin, warm, long socks made from wool are the best option for skiing and snowboarding. Ski/snowboard boots are designed to keep your feet warm and well insulated, so big thick socks aren’t necessary. Be sure your socks fit well and aren’t going to fall and wrinkle in your boot as this can lead to blisters.
Your winter base layer is super important, a good, moisture wicking base layer makes a world of difference in the snow. Again, wool or a synthetic fibre is the best option – you’ll want a thin pants layer and at least one long-sleeved top layer.
Your mid layer is your second layer of defence against the cold. A fleece layer is the best option for your mid layer – very warm, light, breathable and comfortable. Consider a jacket with a zip so you can undo it if you start to get too warm.
You will want a waterproof outer layer for both your jacket and pants. Most ski fields have an option to hire these which is a great way to keep the cost down! Look for jackets with lots of pockets to hold your gear and a hood for those cold snowy days.
Be sure your outer pants are insulated and waterproof, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a fair bit of time on your bum so the extra insulation will help to keep out the cold.
Gloves are a must - frostbite is a real threat if you don’t wear gloves. Go for a thin glove liner underneath a thick Gore-tex or leather glove, Gore-tex is the cheaper option but still highly effective.
Snow is bright, and snow blindness is not a joke, get some goggles. No need to spend a fortune, goggles start at around NZ$40 for adults and they are well worth it. If it’s a warm, sunny day, a good pair of sunglasses will do the trick as well.
Notice how your head cover has been referred to as a ‘helmet’, not a ‘hat’. That’s because skiing and snowboarding are sports and they come with risks.
99% of the time you won’t hurt yourself when you fall because you don’t have far to go and the snow is generally nice and soft. Protect your head against that 1% and wear a helmet. These can be hired from any ski field for as low as $10 a day – well worth it to protect your noggin from any potential harm!
HAVE FUN! Yes there are a few things to think about leading up to your first ski adventure, but if you are prepared and excited, you will have the time of your life.
A word of warning - skiing is addictive and you will get hooked, so be ready to spend a lot more time on the snow!