An essential bit of kit for your skiing holiday will be your backpack on the mountain. It will be packed with everything you need to enjoy a day on the slopes, and below is a list of ideas for what you’ll need to get started.
Choosing the best backpack for the job
Having a well-packed backpack on the mountain is always recommended, but there are some things to bear in mind when selecting one to bring on your ski holiday.
There are usually signs at the bottom of the chairlifts telling you to remove your backpack. At the very least, it’s recommended to take it off one arm and swing it round to the front so there’s no chance of it getting caught in any parts of the lift. Some outdoor shops sell backpacks which have a mechanism allowing you to easily swivel it to the front and back again as you get on and off the chair, so you may want to invest in one of these.
Also, as you’re moving around the mountain at speed, you won’t want your backpack to be too big, bulky or heavy either, so 10-15l should be an ample size.
If you’re a more advanced skier and you’re planning to do any bootpacking, or planning to descend the arête (ridge) onto the Vallée Blanche ski run, then you’ll also want to make sure you can attach your skis or snowboard to your backpack.
Essentials in your backpack on the mountain
Once you’ve chosen the best backpack for the job, there are some items that you should not be without in your backpack on the mountain, as well as some ‘nice-to-haves’ which we’ll cover below.
Suncream & lip balm: pick up a travel size suncream at home and pop it in your backpack on the mountain to protect your skin from the sun. The rays are stronger at altitude and also reflect off the snow, so you must make sure you apply suncream regularly throughout the day. Lip balm will stop your lips from drying out and cracking, and it’s even better if it’s got SPF in too.
Goggles / sunglasses: you’ll probably be wearing one of these items when you head out in the morning but make sure you’ve got the alternative tucked into your backpack in case the weather changes. Trust us, wearing goggles at lunchtime on the slopes doesn’t make you look hardcore, just forgetful! If you have interchangeable lenses for your goggles, don’t forget to pack these too, so that you can adapt to varying weather conditions.
Water bottle: do your bit for the environment and bring a reuseable water bottle with you in your backpack. It’s thirsty work when you’re skiing and you’ll want to make sure you keep rehydrated, so having a water bottle in your backpack on the mountain will save you some pennies (mountain cafés are notoriously expensive) and help save the planet.
Passport: many French resorts, including Chamonix, give you the option on your ski pass to head to other ski areas, which might be across the border in neighbouring Switzerland or Italy. Don’t forget your passport, as you might get checked on the way there or back and missing out on a fabulous day with your friends just because you forgot to put your passport in your backpack on the mountain is hard to bear!
Other useful items to have in your backpack
- Flask: a vacuum flask is the perfect companion to a stay in self-catered accommodation. Use the kitchen to make yourself a hot drink in the morning and save pennies by enjoying your hot drink and the view at the side of the piste! Or really make the most of it by filling it up with a warming soup that you’ll have thrown together the night before, and avoid the crowds – and extortionate prices – in the restaurants at lunchtime.
- Biscuits or chocolate bars: while we’re thinking about food (and our tummies are rumbling!), another top tip is to bring mini chocolate bars or biscuits along in your backpack – they’re perfect for munching on the chairlifts.
- Buff or scarf: even if it’s warm when you set out, it’s sensible to have an extra neck-warmer in your backpack on the mountain, in case you head into a shaded ski area or the weather changes.
- Bobble hat: much like your goggles, eating lunch in your helmet is not the done thing, but if you’re embarrassed by your helmet hair then a bobble hat is the perfect solution to throw in your backpack.
- Blister plasters: every group on a ski holiday has one person complaining about their uncomfortable ski boots. While they would be a lot better changing the size at the hire shop, or getting their own boots professionally fitted, most of the time they will just keep whinging, so having some blister plasters to offer will give them one less reason to do so!
- Hand warmers & glove liners: in January when the weather is colder, these will be an indispensible part of your backpack on the mountain. Reuseable hand warmers are better for the environment than disposable. If your ski gloves aren’t touchscreen sensitive then e-touch glove liners are not expensive and can be a good alternative.
- Waterproof phone case: in this day and age of technological reliance, protecting your phone speaks for itself!
What have we missed?
We hope this guide will be helpful when you’re getting ready for your next ski holiday with us, but let us know if you think we’ve missed anything. What are your essentials to go in your backpack on the mountain?