Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that winter has officially hit the Alps! With Verbier opening 3 weeks early and the first BASI 1/2 Courses only 16 days away, it’s time to think about what to pack for your latest adventure.
You’re probably wondering how you’re going to fit 3 months of kit into one 23kg suitcase. The best advice is to pack like you’re going on a two week holiday. If there’s no washing machine in your chalet, you’ll find a local “laverie” nearby. Make sure you know how to use it before you arrive!
- Ski equipment and clothing – check out our comprehensive kit list
- Backpack – to carry your new avalanche kit or spare thermals
- Adapter plug (a multi socket extension lead means you only need one)
- Sports or gym wear – many resorts now have gyms and pools. With trainers like Gareth Shelbourne running fitness training, you’ll be glad you packed those shorts!
- Slippers for the chalet
- Own towel (or two)
- Phone with alarm clock function, or a travel alarm (do these still exist?)
- Pen and notepad for taking training notes
- Laptop or tablet for keeping course diaries and the occasional Netflix binge
Documents to bring;
- EHIC – European Health Insurance Card – these are free and cover treatment in the EU
- Insurance documents /Carre Neige / Snow Assist – if the worst happens and you find yourself being helicoptered off the mountain, you’ll get your money back
- Your passport (valid until at least May 2017)- it’s pretty hard to get here without one!
- Bank/debit card (Visa or Mastercard) – Currency Cards – like Caxton or Travelex – can also be useful to save money on cash machine fees when withdrawing money abroad
The best advice you can get is from seasonnaires themselves! There’s nothing like a bit of insider knowledge – and these are our top tips…
- Bring flip-flops, swimmers and t-shirts for the spring – it gets surprisingly warm come March, and you don’t want to overheat at the Folie Douce, Charity Day or spring BBQ!
- Gaffa tape is a lifesaver. From creating home-made costumes to fixing holes in your salopettes, this stuff works miracles.
- Home comforts: Teabags, Branston Pickle, Marmite, Robinsons squash and Cadburys chocolate. If you can’t live without it, bring it. They can be bought in resort but are much more expensive than in the UK. Food is also a currency in the Alps – last year one student brought 4 boxes of Yorkshire Gold tea – he was very popular!
Don’t just bring thick jumpers – when not on the slope you’ll mostly be inside, so make sure to bring clothes for going out and relaxing at home in too.
- Stock up on toiletries and medicines before you go – they’re expensive to buy in resort, particularly sun cream and painkillers.
- Do. Not. Bring. Heels! Invest in a decent pair of snow boots like Sorel’s or Timberlands, or you’ll be sliding on your bum most of the season.
Lastly, don’t forget there’s plenty you can do before you even drag your suitcase out the attic.
- Get Ski Fit – 3 months of skiing 5 or 6 days a week isn’t for couch potatoes – no matter your age or ability, getting fit will do your skiing wonders, and increase your ability to pass those BASI exams.
- Prep your kit – if you’ve left your poor skis in the garage all summer, make sure to take care of them before you arrive, or invest in some new kit. Planks have some rad outer-wear and kit, and Sungod create gorgeous goggles and sunnies which you can even customise to suit.
All you’ve left to do is get yourself out here. Did we mention Verbier was opening tomorrow?!