At Goboony, we believe that exploring in autumn and winter can be just as exciting as summer. Not only are the roads less crowded, but it’s also the perfect time of year to seek out some snow in Europe.
Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-timer, we’ve teamed up with Snow+Rock, the snowsports experts, to get their top tips for early-season skiing. And if you're still deciding whether to bring your van, check out the advantages of motorhome ski holidays.
Location, location, location
The first thing to think about when planning an early-season ski trip is where you’re going. Many Nordic resorts open up as early as October, while those in the Alps and Austria tend to open from November onwards.
Snow conditions can vary, and some resorts may have limited runs available early in the season, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather reports. The beauty of travelling in a van is that you can always move to a nearby resort if conditions aren’t as expected.
Check out the best UK destinations for skiing!
Top tip: Many resorts have a snow camera available so you can see conditions for yourself.
Once you’ve decided where you’re heading, it’s time to ensure you’re all prepped for the trip. Early in the season, conditions can be changeable, so it’s best to be prepared. As a bare minimum, you’ll need to pack a waterproof ski jacket and waterproof trousers or ski pants to keep you warm and dry, an insulated jacket for cooler days or wearing around the resort, and moisture-wicking base layers (tops and bottoms are best in wintry conditions). Merino base layers are a top choice as they’re odour-resistant, so you can wear them for a few days without needing to be washed - a big plus if facilities are limited where you're parked up.
You’ll also need to pack all the necessary accessories, including ski socks, to keep your feet warm, comfortable and dry all day long, gloves to keep your hands warm, goggles to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare and snow boots for getting out and about around the resort. Plus, don’t forget to pack plenty of layers for when you’re back in the van.
If that sounds like a lot of gear, fear not, as there’s no need to buy new every year, as long as you look after it. At the end of the ski season, ensure you wash, repair and reproof your snowsports clothing before putting it away. You can do this at home with wash-in treatments, or you can bring it to your nearest Snow+Rock store for professional cleaning, repairs and reproofing through their Repair & Care service.
Look After The Little Ones
Travelling in a campervan is an exciting way to take the whole family skiing, but keeping growing kids in ski gear that fits can be a challenge. Look out for versatile snow sports clothing you can use throughout the winter in the UK. Many features found on ski jackets, like removable ski pass pockets and handy zip pockets, are also great for the school playground in the winter. Meanwhile, ski pants are perfect for letting the kids play outside on cold, wet days, and base layers, hats and gloves, can be used throughout autumn and winter to keep them warm.
Just remember to pack plenty of layers as kids are likely to need a change of clothes mid-way through the day, as well as warm layers when back at the van. It's also a good idea to pack plenty of hats and gloves as these can easily get lost out on the slopes.
Top tip: Invest in quality gear and look after it, and you’ll be able to pass it down to other family members and get more wear out of it.
Skis Or Snowboards
When it comes to skis, snowboards and boots, it’s down to you whether you choose to hire at the resort or prefer taking your own. However, bear in mind that one of the advantages of travelling in a campervan is that you don’t have to worry about baggage allowance.
Having snowsports gear that's correctly fitted to you will help you get the best experience on the slopes. Snow+Rock have years of experience fitting skis and boards, and offers custom ski boot fitting appointments to ensure you get the best possible fit.
With kids’ snowsports hardware, you can also take advantage of Snow+Rock’s buy back service which gives up to 20% off a like-for-like ski or snowboard hardware purchases when you bring in your kids’ old gear that they’ve outgrown.
Top tip: If you already have your own skis or board, make sure you get them repaired and serviced before you travel. Not only is it often cheaper, but it also means that when you get to the resort, you can hit the slopes straight away.
Many resorts now require children under a certain age to wear a ski helmet and often advise adults to do the same. Although you can hire helmets at most resorts, buying a helmet is recommended as it means you know what it’s been through, that it fits you right and provides adequate protection for your needs.
Your First Run
Even if snow conditions have been favourable, you may come across patches of the piste or areas of backcountry where there is less snow and rocks may be visible. So, when you’re skiing a run for the first time, take extra care and watch out for any areas that may cause you problems.
Top tip: Hire a local ski guide to get insider knowledge on where the best snow is.
Make The Most Of Your Trip
As a Goboony member, Snow+Rock are offering you 15% off online and in-store to help you get geared up for the mountains.