I recently popped off to Mont Tremblant, Quebec for a week on the slopes with the boyfriend. The trip was our Christmas presents to each other, and we could not have chosen a present more wisely! (Come along on the slopes & visit the ski village with us in the video below!)
But with a -32 degree temperature at the summit of the mountain, there were many occasions we mentioned how thankful we were for having the right gear for the trip. We happily spent all day on the hills, comfortable and cozy, regardless of the temperatures around us.
With 5 years experience in high school and university working at a sports speciality store (fun fact, betcha didn't know that?!), paired with my life long experience skiing, I've developed some insights and favourites in the ski, and outdoor sports equipment department. Want to take a peek into my ski bag? I've added in some purchasing tips here and there so you know what to look for when picking out your own items!
Ski Gear + Clothing
(Pssst, I've purchased these items over the last couple years. If my version isn't available online anymore, I linked a newer version of the same item!)
Atomic Cloud 6's (or the newer version, the Cloud 8's) are perfect skis for intermediate - advanced intermediate lady skiers. Good for calmer ski runs, not so much darting down double black diamonds. They glide along the snow with minimal effort, and handle icy patches well. Of course, to keep gliding over the snow well and ice in check, get your skis waxed and sharpened after 3-5 days of skiing.
Purchasing Tip: Go into the store, and consult with a rep. Skis are pricey, so you want to be sure an expert is giving advice on which ski fits your ski ability and needs best. Also, YouTube has some great intros on products, like Level 9 Sports here, which can help you do some research before heading into the store.
RELATED: Mont Tremblant Village Bar Guide
I'll be honest, to me, ski poles are not an important ski gear area to do lots of research and get technical with. These poles said North Pole on them, and I was sold. I hold them in my hands to give me a feeling of balance, and plant in the snow on my turns. Easy decision, there's no need to overthink a ski pole purchase.
Purchasing Tip: Ski poles, in my opinion, are a good area to save on. If you're a beginner to intermediate skier, you really don't need anything fancy or pricey in the ski pole dept.
This doesn't happen often, but this is one item in my ski bag I wouldn't suggest purchasing. A couple hours into my day on the hill, and you can guarantee my toes will be frozen. Not cool boots, not cool.
Purchasing Tip: Don't buy these!
LOVE this helmet, and that's coming from a helmet hater. As someone who skied before helmets were a thing, I was vehemently against wearing one for forever. Now when you look around the hill, you'd be hard pressed to find a person not wearing one. Thankfully Smith came out with this one in this adorable colour, and now I don't mind wearing it at all. Plus, it's warmer than a hat.
Purchasing Tip: Buy one in a style and colour you love, so you won't hate putting it on everyday. Also, this is an item you'll want to try on, to ensure it fits. Either try on in store and buy online, or just buy it in store. Helmets should feel comfortable and cozy on your head, but not painful and tight. If you can shake your head around and the helmets flops around, it's too big. Size down.
Short and sweet, these goggles rarely fog up, and get the job done.
Purchasing Tip: Buy goggles with a sticky line on the inside of the google strap. This will keep your goggles sticking to your helmet well, and staying in place.
This is without a doubt, the most unattractive item in a ski outfit, but if you're out in -32 temperatures like I was, you'll never be happier that you purchased a piece of gear. The venting holes in the front, and slit for your nostrils ensure you can breathe easily.
Purchasing Tip: If you're going spring skiing, or will be in warmer weather, you'll be fine with a scarf around your face. -10 or below, get a vented face mask. This is warmer than a scarf, and with the venting, it won't freeze with condensation onto your face.
These mittens keep my fingers toasty, and have, by far, the greatest mitten feature ever! When on the hill, you'll have a zillion things on and attached to you, and will likely need to take off your mittens on a few occasions to zip zippers, adjust bindings, take a photo, etc. These mittens have little circular elastic loops to slide your wrists through. This way, you can take off your mittens and have them dangle from your wrists, without holding or dropping them. Mitten genius!
Purchasing Tip: Ensure you buy mittens (or gloves - though I find mittens keep your fingers warmer, and friendlier with each other) that have elastic wrist loops, to keep them attached to you at all times with no effort.
If there's just one piece of advice you take away from this post, ensure it's this: BUY A SKI KEY! (Psst, Ski Keys also work for snowboards). Skis/boards are pricey, and people do steal them.
"What's a ski key Paige?" "It's peace of mind, it's simple, it's small, and it works every time!" Just about every ski hill in the world has ski/snowboard racks that work with ski keys. Ski Keys are a lock to keep your skis+poles/board safe while your inside the chalet. A ski key is roughly $25.00, and will ensure your hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of skis & boards stay safe. Ski Keys are leaps and bounds better than any other type of lock because they're fitted into the ski rack, and there's no wires to cut. Because if I was a smart thief, I'd bring a pair of wire cutters with me to the ski hill. Plus, they're super easy to use, so you won't be wasting time fiddling in the cold.
Purchasing Tip: Buy one, yesterday! While I know you're going to be the responsible one, and will have a Ski Key with you now you've read this, friends may not, so here's another tip! To ensure both of your skis are safe, lock up one of their skis with one of your skis with the Ski Key. Then pair the other two skis together, and put them in the rack not locked up. Only a truly, truly stupid thief would steal mismatching skis, because they can't be resold.
To see how to use a Ski Key, visit this video.
RELATED: Creating Budget-Friendly Trips
This jacket is warm in all temperatures. You wouldn't expect this, because it appears thinner than most winter jackets, but it has some fancy feature called Omni Heat Reflective, which keeps it toasty! While I do love this jacket, I regret that I bought it in white. I've dry cleaned it and still can't get it to look clean again. Whoops!
Purchasing Tip: Get a jacket with a snow skirt (an elastic/material band that buttons up, to keep snow from going up your jacket in case of a fall). Also, having a space to store your phone and keep your headphones in one place is really helpful. And of course, don't buy white like I did.
These snow pants have vents in the legs which are perfect for spring ski conditions, or warmer days on the hill. Also, the adjustable waist is wonderful to ensure the fit is perfect.
Purchasing Tip: Get pants with vents in the legs to stay at a comfortable temperature on warmer days.
Ski bags are important to have if you're going to be transporting your stuff around, and are also helpful to keep your skis and poles together without the headache of holding 4 large items separately.
Purchasing Tip: If you'll be transporting your skis yourself, a regular ski bag is fine, if your stuff will be transported for you (eg. on an airplane) I'd suggest getting a padded bag to keep them protected!
Ahhh yes, arguably the most important item on the list for a ski vacation. Flasks are wonderful for a break part way down the hill, and easy transportation of you favourite beverage. Might I suggest a mulled wine?
Purchasing Tip: If you're going to get a flask, get a Swig. Swig flasks come with a number of cozy flask jackets to dress up your flask, and you can tell it's a high quality product made to last. Swig sent one along so I could test drive it, and I must say, it really is the perfect companion for ski trips like these!
And of course, to get all my shots while on the hill, I bring my GoPro Hero 4 Silver with me! It is absolutely perfect for getting shots, without needing to take off mittens/gloves (my warm fingers love this thing). It's also so small, I can easily store it in my jacket, unlike a regular sized camera.
I know you all enjoy a good snoop into the products I own and suggest, so be sure to stop by my Shopping page for more items I love for travel, and blogging!
Have you ever been on a ski vacation? No? What is it you feel you need to know before you set out on the hills? Yes? What's your favourite piece of ski gear you've bought, and won't hit the hill without now?