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  • clareangus


Updated: Dec 3, 2023

When heading out of the door for a day on the slopes there is a LOT to think about. The amount of kit required can be pretty overwhelming, particularly if you are also responsible for the comfort & happiness of children! And there is always a strong possibilty that conditions will change over the course of the day - it still, after 17 years living here, never ceases to amaze me how quickly the weather can change in the mountains. So you need to be prepared for anything & everything! A little rucksack with extra layers, hand warmers, balaclavas etc never goes amiss.

For more details on dressing for the slopes take a look at my blog post here .

And packing for your ski trip here

But this post is really about the don'ts of dressing for the slopes and the most common clothing mistakes I see people making. At the end there are also some tips from my own personal experience, to give some food for thought on your dressing options!

Don't wear two pairs of socks - they will likely ruck up causing uncomfortable lumps that may rub & cause blisters.

Don't tuck trouser gaiters into boots - keep them on the outside or they will rub and create pressure points. Many gaiters also have metal hooks on them, which you definitely don't want anywhere near your shins.

Ensure you know which way round your helment goes!

Layering is key - the weather doesn't usually stay the same for long in the mountains and layers can be adjusted if the weather suddenly changes (which it has a habit of doing in the mountains). If you carry a small rucksack with you to carry any extra layers when they aren't being used. Think about face/neck coverings, inner gloves and an extra fleece or thin puffa, as well as maybe some hand warmers.

Be prepared for all weathers in one day!

When dressing younger children try to make sure that their salopette straps are OVER their base/mid layers to make going to the loo quick & easy.

Gloves vs. mittens? I personally prefer mittens as I find they keep my fingers much warmer. For children I would highly recommend mittens over gloves - getting each finger into its own separate hole in gloves can be challenging to say the least, then there is the issue of each being pulled inside out when taking them off!

Always protect your eyes - UV protecting goggles or sunglasses are essential whatever the weather.

And always protect your skin - wear suncream whatever the weather, the sun is strong at altitude and it reflects off the snow.

Pack a pair of sunnies in your bag, if you are a goggle wearer, for sunny lunch/drink stops.

And maybe a woolly hat too.

Try on all your clothing at home BEFORE your trip to make sure it is comfortable and fits. You don't want to be trying to buy new kit once in a ski resort.

Bring a couple of pairs of gloves/mittens, especially for children - they can & do get lost and making snowmen/snowballs etc can result in very soggy gloves that are no fun to put on the next day.

Don't wear a scarf - there is a chance that if it flaps loose it may get caught on lifts. Wear a neck buff or balaclava to keep out draughts.

Have spare buffs - neck warmers can get very wet through breathing (or when children chew them). They don't take up much space so if possible do carry some spares. Also useful when the weather changes to keep draughts out.


They need a whole section of their own!

  • Ski boots are not as comfortable as trainers, a fact that we cannot escape from. They are designed to hold your foot and support your ankles in a skiing position, which can feel a bit unatural when walking around. But don't be tempted to go up a size to help with comfort as boots that are too big can be just as troublesome as boots that are too small. If your boots are too big your feet will move around creating blisters as well as increasing the possibility of your toes crashing against the end of the boot as you shift your weight. In addition the movements that you make with your feet won't transfer as readily to the boots and ultimately the skis.

  • When putting your boots on in the morning... 1) pull the tongue right forwards and slightly to the side, 2) tap your heel on the floor with your foot at 45 degree angle to get the heel right to the back, 3) do the buckles up in the following order: bottom ankle clip, top shin clip, top foot (arch) clip, toe clip then go back and tighten each one. The top two buckles on the ankle/shin should be nice and tight, the bottom two buckles across the foot/toes should be finger tight but not need your whole body weight to close.

  • If your boots are too tight or loose even on maximum settings then check for an sliding adjustment on the buckle.

  • Do up your boots each evening to help them keep their shape.

  • Make sure you dry your boots properly at the end of each day. Even take out the liner to make sure it gets done properly.

In fact, always dry everything at the end of every day (gloves, boots, buffs etc) - check pockets, especially children's.


  • Goggles tend to be your best bet for eye protection as they will cover all weathers as well as keep the wind out to prevent your eyes from watering.

  • Mittens are usually easier for children to get on/off. I also wear them and think they are better if you suffer from cold hands as all your fingers are together to keep each other warm and if you use hand warmers then they fit much better in a mitten than glove.

  • Balaclavas are generally a better bet for children than neck buffs as they are wrap around and don't fall down, but the chin bit can be adjusted easily.

  • Venting system in outer jackets & trousers, whereby there is a zip that can be opened or closed under the arms and down the legs to help regulate your temperature as the weather changes.

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