Where are you going for skiing this winter- Auli, Kufri, Manali, or Srinagar? Gliding down the silky, satin white snow-capped slopes is both fascinating and adventurous. If you are 35 already and haven’t yet enjoyed skiing then you are surely missing out on something in life. It is an experience worth indulging into. People going for skiing are usually have lots of questions and what to pack tops the list. More so, because winter clothing is heavy and domestic airline baggage limit is a mere 15 kgs. Snow and skiing go synonymous with extreme cold. So, the fear of extreme cold leads to over-packing – which is absolutely wrong.
Here, I present to you hacks and tips for ‘snow white holiday’ packing. And Oh yes! Why should you trust my advice? Simply because being an Army Officer’s wife, I am kind of an expert on the subject of packing 😉
Do hit the slopes this year! January and February are the best months for skiing in India.
1. Thermals:- They are the lightest winter cloth and a life-saver. It keeps you totally pack forming a vital layer. It is best to wear layer of soft winter clothes than carrying a heavy or a fancy jacket. Thermals form the constant base layer as their fabric draws away the moisture, keeping you snug and warm.
2. Waterproof Ski-Coat:- This is an absolute must! A good waterproof ski coat is essentially required unless you’re doing some late skiing or don’t ever fall, which of course is impossible. it saves you from getting wet apart from keeping you warm. If you ask me my choice, I like the one with plenty of pockets and zippers since they come in handy for carrying mobile phone, money and yes my favorite strawberry lip gloss
3. Gloves/Mittens:- Look for gloves that have elasticity around the gloves as snow always finds a way into the hand. You don’t want red and swollen hands back home. Snow frost bite can ruin your holidays. My gloves have clips, and therefore, I can attach them with my coat whenever I want to take a break.
4. Pants:– I am completely choosy about my ski pants. I always go by the adage that one must look cool while skiing, and ofcourse you need a good click to show-off your adventure trip on Facebook. Beyond striking looks, make sure your pants are waterproof. For myself, I like a pair of ski-pants that have wide-legs like trouser. Stay away from regular denims. That is not the right choice for skiing.
5. Snow Boots:- Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than cold feet. Right choice of shoes is imperative. Walking on snow is no easy-task, especially if the snow starts to blackish. It is slippery and you might end up with a damaged back. Your lightweight summer trekking boots won’t cut it. A pair of boots with a sturdier sole are a must have. Make sure your shoes have sufficient room to move your toes around. Here the correct sock choice is also important. Silk sock liners provide much needed warmth. Mostly all skiing destinations have shops that give snow boots on a minimum rent (Rs 100 for a day). You can take those if you don’t want to spend a bomb buying them.
6. Goggles:- A pair of goggles is essential to protect your eyes from the glare of sun reflecting off the snow and ultraviolet rays. In bad weather, you need a decent pair of sunglasses to ensure that you can see where you’re going. Again, skiing goggles are different. They are tighter usually with a band to hold it while you fall and glide over snow.
7. Hats:- Woolen hats give proper warmth to your head during general snow play when helmets would be too cumbersome to wear. Pack an extra pair if someone gets drenched in ‘highly competitive’ snowball fighting.
8. Neck warmer or scarf:- You’ll be glad to have a scarf if it’s bitterly cold. Silk tops the list for comfort, as wool can be a abrasive to skin. Neck warmers are a good option as you can roll them over your chin or nose when the chill increases.
9. Sunscreen:- Yes, you heard it right, you can get sunburn in chilling winter due to the high altitude and reflection from sun even in thick cloud. There is no fun with sunburn. However, your summer sunscreen won’t work in winters. Buy a good sun block specially manufactured for skiing conditions.
10. Packing for infants/toddlers:– Besides the above things, families with babies or toddlers should essentially pack a thermos that keeps warm water handy so that you can prepare formula milk or food anytime you wish. Or just to heat up the food, add a few drops of piping hot water from the thermos. Don’t feed cold food or they will fall sick. Stores that provide essentials, such as highchairs, buggies, and cots on rent, are readily available.
Don’t worry about ski sets and equipment as you can hire them at a nominal cost of Rs 500 – Rs 1000 (depending on quality) from the ski destination itself.
In case you forget something, don’t panic. You will find lots of shops near skiing locations from where you can shop items, such as coats, scarves, and gloves on rent also. Remember not to be scared of snow and end up over-packing. Keep your baggage light by choosing the right kind of clothes and shoes. Take a few pairs because it won’t be easy to wash and dry the clothes at these destinations.
Important Ski News
If you are an amateur and want to learn how to ski (and challenge the fear on the face) then NIMs (National Institute of Mountaineering) is conducting a two-week training at Munsyari in Pithoragarh at a cost of Rs 9,000 for Indians and $400 for foreign nationals. This will begin from 6th February. There are just 30 seats, so hurry!
If you have a skiing or a snow trip story then do share your experience. The funniest or aww-inspiring experience wins a token gift!