Foot cramps. Getting stuck in a tree and having a stranger unhook your skis from a handsy branch. Begrudgingly walking up the hill to fetch the ski and pole that are lodged in the snow at the top of the run before sliding down on your butt to fetch the other ski and pole. If that doesn’t get you excited about the upcoming ski season, then the crisp mountain air and snowy mountaintops will entice you anyways.
Despite the very real possibility that all of the above will happen to me this ski season, I am more than ready to hit the slopes! (By more than ready, I enthusiasm-wise because this whole 2015 New Years’ Resolution to go to the gym thing didn’t really work out. Unlike that pun.)
Although springtime typically has better snow conditions than the holiday season, sneaking a quick trip up to the mountains is a great way to enjoy the cold weather and snow. (Yes, it’s possible!) So are some essentials to bring along for your day(s) on the slopes:
Layer up, buttercup
There is never such thing as too many layers during the winter ski season. If you’re too warm, channel your inner Magic Mike and shed some layers in the ski chalet. It’s less expensive than warming up in the chalet with your eighth hot chocolate of the day (and more rewarding than adding ‘Go to the gym’ on your 2016 list of resolutions), or having to unbuckle your boots and get changed into warmer clothes mid-day (which is the ski version of the walk of shame).
To keep your toes safe from Jack Frostbite, I’d recommend investing in a colourful pair of ski socks. They’re insulated to make sure you can feel your toes by the end of the day and colourful to remind your toes to have fun. But, if skiing likes to test you with foot cramps, like it does for me, skip the ski socks and use some thin dress socks. They won’t gather under your foot as much and the extra room around your calves will help with circulation. If it’s a particularly cold day, hot pockets at the end of your boot will keep your toes toasty even with thinner socks.
For bottoms, you’re going to need something loose fitting below your knees so that you don’t need to tuck your pants into your boot. (You’re welcome, circulation.) So break out those bootlegged yoga pants from 5 years ago that you spent too much money on and can’t justify throwing away, and layer them under a loose-fitting pair of sweat pants. Finish off your look with some snow pants and voila! Your legs will thank you! (Until you realize that you haven’t followed through with your New Year’s Resolution and your legs are screaming at you. Yes, I know you have acid build-up, legs. Can we discuss this later? In private?)
For your core to thank you, it’s all about the undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, fleece zip-up sweater and a dickie (a scarf that’s basically a shirtless turtleneck). Layer those up under your ski jacket and add some mittens to keep your fingers warm. I’d recommend the mittens with gloves on the inside, as it’s easier to stick some hot pockets between the mitten and glove when it’s too cold outside.
To ward off a brain freeze, use a ski helmet. Not only will this help retain your body heat that seems to like escaping from your head, but you’ll impress your kindergarten teacher by remembering all those “Safety first!” talks.
Speaking of buttercups…
Just as there’s never such thing as too many layers, there’s also no such thing as too many carbs on the ski hill. For one, you’re already an abominable snowman with all those layers and you’ll end up burning of those extra calories with good ole’ shivering from cold weather and exercise.
Although many opt to buy their meals at the chalet, it’s the most costly option money-wise and time-wise. Try to avoid the lunchtime rush at the chalet cafeteria between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., if you can. (Though it is impressive seeing how fast a hungry skier can walk in those boots!)
Packing a backpack with some water, sandwiches, maybe a thermos of soup, some fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, and granola bars will be a cheaper and healthier option than burgers and fries, and will leave your stomach and your wallet feeling fuller. Save the hot chocolate and the fries for the ski-out at the end of the day. You did burn off all those calories, after all.
Once you get to the chalet at the base of your runs of choice, just drop off the backpack on a hook in the lodge and collect it before you leave for the day (or before the lodge closes, which is usually between 3:30 and 4 p.m., depending on the resort). The backpack also comes in handy if you need to take off a layer, to keep a stash of sunscreen for an afternoon touch-up (Rudolph ignored this, and look at him now) or for bringing a deck of cards to play solitaire when you’re in need of a break.
Of course, if solitaire is too solitary…
… Cell phones will still work on the hill, for the most part. Reception may be patchy at times though, making SnapChatting your view more brag-worthy than it would be if you waited to post it on Instagram later. #WiFiFilter
So if you’re planning on bringing your phone or pocket-sized camera on the hill, keep them in your interior jacket pockets. Otherwise, your phone may get confused about the temperature and drain your battery before you can even stop and selfie. (It’s seriously traumatic.)
Other pocket-sized tips
Some other necessities to keep in your pockets during your ski day include lip balm, tissues, ibuprofen (bye-bye foot cramps), hot pockets and a small snack to eat on the chair lift when all the carbs become your last ounce of energy. (Oh hot chocolate, my hot chocolate!)
Where are you skiing this year and what do you bring for a day on the slopes? Let me know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter!