Ski Season Packing: The Essentials.
So, you’ve bagged yourself a job in the Alps and are headed off for the winter of your life. Brilliant! Yet as time draws near to setting off and the excitement sets in, your thoughts might turn to the slightly mundane thought of packing. Maybe you’ve been on a few ski holidays before and know that packing lightly for the snow isn’t the easiest of tasks; helmets, boots, jackets, thermals .. and that’s just for a week! How on earth are you going to cram your whole life in to a bag for 6 months? Worry not; we’ve got this down to a fine art and are happy to share our wisdom on the subject.
First things first; obviously, you will be skiing. This means ski clothes are pretty important. A helmet is of course a must. And a good pair of goggles (skiing blind in a white-out is no fun). Fashions come and go but we recommend the brighter end of the spectrum when choosing your skiing garments. The brighter the better! A couple of funky beanies and hoodies will come in useful (you will probably live in them for most of the season). We would probably also advise packing a couple of pairs of salopettes (incase of the inevitable beer/jaeger spillages in après-ski).
Our first piece of advice on this subject is to CATCH THE TRAIN - spending that little bit extra on train travel will even out when you then have to add 3 extra bags and about a tonne of CO2 to that Easyjet flight!
It really isn’t necessary stock up on expensive ski gear before you go. If you have your own skis/boots – great. If not, most employers provide ski and equipment rental as part of your package, which is one of the perks of the job. Your season is great time to try out different skis/boards/boots while you have the time. You could even treat yourself with the money you’ve saved in the end of season sales, where you can get your hands on some fantastic deals.
Now the fun stuff’s dealt with, on to the subject of work. As well as shredding those pistes and generally having the time of your life, a great deal of your time will of course be spent at work. Whether you work in a chalet or a bar, repping or cheffing; comfortable shoes for work are a must. You will be on your feet a lot and they will hurt. So invest in good pair of shoes. Also note that socks become almost sacred when doing a season; they have a way of disappearing. Pack plenty!
Remember that whoever you are working for will probably provide you with uniform, but you will need a good supply of jeans and trousers. Our F&P teams wear jeans (not frayed, or ripped) in the chalets, these wear out quickly so bring a few pairs! Online shopping has made things much easier (imagine how us oldies managed before online shopping was a thing!) but do come prepared and make sure you have an old pair of jeans or leggings for deep cleaning - bleach stains your clothes!
Grooming: You can buy all toiletries out in resort, you’re not going to Outer Mongolia – bring a bit of a supply with you, but you will certainly be able to stock up over there. Dry shampoo can also be a life saver when you are dashing about and don’t have time for hair washing! You will also be thankful for a few nice evening/’going out’ tops or shirts, as it is nice to dress up from time to time!
Health: One thing that most seasonaires forget about is to look after themselves. You are too busy looking after guests/customers and enjoying yourself. But trust us, you will inevitably get ill at some point. Try and avoid the inevitable by taking a good stash of vitamins with you (Berocca etc). (While we are at it – remember to eat properly and drink plenty of water! – the dry air in the mountains means you should drink double the amount of water than you would normally). Pack a good stash of nurofen/paracetomol, plasters and other first-aid necessities! (These are also expensive in resort).
Finally – not a week goes by in a ski resort without some sort of fancy-dress occasion; and you will kick yourself that you left that perfect outfit at home when there is a themed fancy-dress opening party for a bar on your second day in resort. Make sure you pack at least a couple of fancy-dress outfits for such occasions.
Added extra: Sunglasses are a huge must and as we would not want your eyes getting damaged by the snow and sun together. Hand cream and lip balm as the air is very dry and you want to prevent any cracking skin. If you have an extension cord lying around at home then bring it along. Plug sockets can be very limited, so bringing an adaptor with an extension lead means that you are able to plug in all of your devices at once. Make sure your EHIC card is still valid just in case you do need to use the French medical system, otherwise you will be paying a fortune. And above all have a reliable alarm clock to make sure you wake up in plenty of time to get to work and prepare yourself for day of working hard and playing hard.