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Ski & snowboard equipment guides

Ski and Snowboard equipment is an integral part of mountain sports as they are key items to help you get safely down the slopes. Whether you are looking to buy your own equipment for the first time or are doing some research into the best equipment to rent we have written some detailed guides to help with your decisions.

Ski and Snowboard equipment is essentially broken down to these main elements: Skis and poles, Ski boots, Snowboards, Snowboard boots, helmets, goggles, and clothing. We would say that each of things are the key essential must haves whether you are a skier or a boarder. Most of the above can be pre booked with your ski holiday through your holiday supplier, where these are not possible to book, we will be more than happy to assist you in arranging these independently.

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Skis

Choosing the right skis for you all depends on the type of skiing you will be doing and terrain you will be hitting. Alpine skiing is the most common type of downhill skiing, standard length skis with normal ski boots and poles are the equipment required and these are usually broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced standard. The length for standard downhill skiing should be somewhere between your chin and nose.

Cross Country skiing requires ski boots that are a soft shoe opposed to the downhill hard shoe and the heel is not secured to the ski allowing for the flexibility required to cross country Ski.

Freestyle skiers will usually opt for to use twin tip skis which makes it much easier to ski backwards as well as forwards. There are also different types of skis for off piste skiing, telemark skiing, ski touring, ski jumping and ski racing.

View more on the different types of skis

Ski boots

Ski boots are arguably the most important piece of equipment, you will be spending most of your day in these, so it is highly important these are comfortable. You want a relatively snug fit and to be able to wiggle your toes, when trying on boots in a hire shop you are best starting off with a shoe size down from your normal size.

If your hire boots are uncomfortable or causing you pain do no hesitate to go back to your shop to swap for a different boot until you find the right fit. If you are buying your own boots these are usually moulded to your individual foot shape offering a higher level of comfort, we would highly recommend purchasing your own boots if you are going each year.

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Snowboards

Choosing the right snowboard for you again all depends on the type of boarding you will be doing and terrain you will be hitting. Snowboarding categories include, All Mountain, Freestyle, Big Mountain and Carve. The length for a standard snowboard should be around chin height, if you are a beginner this may be slightly shorter as you become comfortable with transferring your weight from your different edges and for easier turn making.

View more on the different types of snowboards

Ski helmets

We highly recommend that you never ski or snowboard without a helmet, although in most places they are not compulsory why would you not want to protect your skull? No matter how good a skier you are you never know who else is going to come hurtling into you, or whether you are going to hit a hidden rock and take a tumble. There are many different types of helmets available with lots of different adjustable fit systems and tech features.

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Ski goggles

Not everyone likes to wear goggles, especially in the later sunnier season, however we would always recommend taking a pair to protect your eyes from the snow, wind, and the sun's UV rays. There are different lenses available for goggles for different weather conditions and it is important that your goggles fit on your face with your helmet on, you do not want a gap between your goggles and your face.

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Ski clothing

Ski clothing is not widely readily available for renting so we recommend bringing your own, you can always borrow ski clothing from friends if it is your first time and you do not want to splash out on the right gear.

The main items of clothing that are required for skiing are:

  • Waterproof Ski Jacket
  • Waterproof Ski Trousers (Salopettes)
  • Waterproof Gloves
  • Ski socks
  • Thermals
  • Neck warmer
  • Warm hat

View more on ski clothing

Ski & snowboard equipment FAQ:

If it’s your first-time skiing, trying to remember everything you need can be a daunting experience. Here is a list of all the essentials:

  • Ski jacket
  • Salopettes
  • Ski socks
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Thermals
  • Sun cream
  • Neck warmer
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses

Yes, you can rent skiing equipment. It’s advised to pre-book online to guarantee availability and the best prices. Most shops rent out the basics for skiing such as skis/snowboard, boots and helmet.

The cost to hire equipment varies on the resort and quality of the product, but you can usually get 6 days hire of the basics (ski/snowboard, boots & helmet) for £50 - £80.

The cost of ski gear depends on the quality and condition of the ski gear you are trying to buy. At the time of writing, you can get a new set of beginner skis and boots for £170 ay Decathlon. This is the lowest end, but you can pay well in the £1000s for top-level ski equipment.

The technology in ski equipment changes rapidly, so it is only worth investing in skis if you’re going to get away on several ski trips a year, to get the most use out of them. If you are only skiing once a year or less, it’s not worth investing in ski’s as you’ll get better quality and more for your money just renting a pair of skis. Many skiers invest in a pair of ski boots and then hire skis in resort.

You can purchase skis online or go into a ski shop such as Snow+Rock or Ellis Brigham to speak to an expert. Beginners need a more flexible ski than someone with experience as this makes it easy to learn and control the ski when first starting out.


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