Packing for winter mountain fun
The official "European Division 1st Aid Pack Required Items List" is a compilation of what every Patroller's 1st aid pack needs to contain, but we know it is also sometimes useful to have a general packing list for any ski trip. We've all been on the ski trip that incurred some grief or expense due to a last minute essential that was forgotten on a kitchen counter or in the garage.
In reality, one of the reasons we love skiing with other National Ski Patrollers is that we're a generally well provisioned crowd. So if you do forget or lose something on the hill, odds are a fellow Patroller has a spare that will help keep you safe and warm until you can secure a permanent replacement. For everyone who likes to ski prepared, here is the European Division recommended ski trip packing list:
- First Aid Kit (Small one for personal use, or your full patrol bag)
- Phone/Camera in a waterproof bag/container
- Ski Insurance documents, and copy/photo of documents on your phone/camera
- Identification (Passport/License) and copy/photo of documents on phone/camera
- Sun Block (small size to keep in your jacket)
- Lip Balm and a spare (The free NSP lip balms are great for giving out!)
- Spare socks (light and/or heavy)
- Two pair of gloves (lightweight/heavyweight or same weight in case one pair becomes wet)
- Helmet, they're warm and fashionable while offering great protection!
- Hat or two; sometimes you take a break from skiing/boarding but still want to stay warm.
- Emergency blanket
- Snacks (granola, energy bars/gels, fruit, sugar candies)
- Hydration (water, juice, sports drinks)
- Rescue gear, particularly if you're going off-piste, touring or in avalanche zones
- Transponder, probe, shovel, walkie talkies (cheaper than phones and no roaming charges!)
- Snow Chains for your vehicle (sometimes required on the roads)
- Tools appropriate for your equipment
It is hard not to love being in the mountains on those beautiful sunny days with fresh powder and plenty of room to ski. The mountains, the Alps particularly, may not always be that accommodating. Some days the weather will transition from beautiful to bitter (or vice versa) at a moment's notice, and there is no substitute for being prepared. Be it an emergency thermal blanket and some snacks while you're hunkered down, or a pair of sunglasses, sun block and a light layered jacket for suddenly sunny days, being prepared for the full variety of possible weather helps ensure you'll have a safe and enjoyable time on the hill!