The most useful things to have in your ski backpack

Bulky heavy backpacks on the slopes are not ideal, but a small bag which doesn’t restrict your movement can be incredibly practical. Whether it’s you’re first time up the mountain, or you just need some packing inspiration, ski instructor and Mountain Expert for Neilson, Simon Cook shares the fail-safe hauls you should be taking with you in your ski backpack. This checklist makes sure you don’t forget the obvious essentials, and gives some tips on useful extras.

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The Basics

These items are aimed at beginners, but everyone should make sure they have these essentials with them:

Spare inner gloves: There’s nothing worse than cold, wet hands when you’re trying to enjoy the mountain. Take a spare pair in case your first pair get wet (or worse, lost!).

Hand warmers: And on that note, keep some hand-warmers in your pockets to keep fingers toasty on the lifts, in lift queues or any other time you’re hanging about.

Water: Dehydration sneaks up on you in the mountains. With the cold mixing with adrenaline and fatigue it’s easy to forget to put essential water back into your body. If a water bottle is too bulky consider investing in a ‘bladder’ water bag instead.

Spare eye wear: Sunglasses are key if you’re enjoying a beautiful alfresco mountain lunch on a bright blue sky day. Plus, sometimes goggles can mist up and it’s tricky to de-mist them, so take a spare pair of sunnies just in case.

Spare thermals: It can be colder than you think. Take a spare thermal top to add to your layers if it gets too cold, or replace any wet clothes that occur from taking a tumble whilst learning.

Snacks: It’s always important to keep your sugar levels up, especially for that last run of the day.

Neck warmer: As with other spare layers, keeping all exposed skin covered and dry from the elements is essential if, or when the weather turns.

Lip balm & sunscreen: Even if it looks cloudy, being so high up a mountain means the sun will get through and the light bounces off the snow. You’ll look like more of a pro if you’re not sporting burnt cheeks and blistered lips.

Phone and portable charger: Phones don’t like the cold and extreme temperatures can drain the battery. Keep mobiles them in an internal pocket and try not to use them on chair lifts.

Cash: You always face the possibility of going off course, so it’s wise to keep cash on you in case you need a taxi from a neighbouring village.

Map: A no brainer to make sure you don’t end up in an area where a steep black run is the only option down.

Hat: You never know what might happen - mountain weather changes and suddenly you need the extra layer on your head to keep you warm. Plus, a hat can cover up ‘helmet hair’ when it comes to lunch time and après ski!

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Advanced Extras:

If you’re a more advanced piste skier, Simon shares the extra bits he takes up the slopes on top of the basics listed above:

Foil blanket: Just in case you get stuck out for longer than you anticipate. It’s better to have it and not need it.

First-aid kit: As with a foil blanket, it’s a sensible companion to have.

Multi-tool: Things often need tightening, adjusting or fiddling with. Every lift station will have them but it’s a good idea to carry a small one.

Duct tape: You never know what might happen up a mountain; tears to clothing, bags, goggle straps, gloves - anything! If you can’t fix it with duct tape - you haven’t used enough.

For more ski tips and advice, visit neilson.co.uk