Here is a brief run through of essentials and tips for a great day up the hill. 

It’s cold, yep obvious one but underestimated by a lot of people. Layer up and avoid a cotton base layer, it will absorb and hold any moisture then get hit by a cold breeze and it’s not a good recipe. Invest in some kiwi merino to keep your core warm while allowing your skin to breathe. Needless to say Jeans are not a great idea.

You’re going to get a workout while sliding so a few stretches and a warm up lap to get you going is a good idea. You’ll be burning off calories so think about bringing a packed lunch or budget for on mountain meals to avoid you wearing yourself out and to get full value out of your lift ticket. A thermos with hotdogs or a chilli con carne is considered a delicacy in the car park or on the patio of the base building.

Avoid queuing for lift passes and rental gear, be it in town or on the mountain. You can purchase most passes online and top them up as you go (you can also use these passes in the café on most mountains to avoid taking cash). Rental stores can be a busy place so picking up your gear sorted the night before is always a good idea (no extra cost). Doing these 2 things will remove any stress in the morning.

Wear a helmet, simple as. It used to be the minority of people you would see but in recent years it’s come to be the norm in New Zealand which is great to see. Conditions can often be Icey and you can get caught off guard no matter how good you are, plus it will keep your head warm. Tip: Pop the kids scarf, gloves and goggles in their helmet like a carry bag!

Goggles are very useful, sure you may get away with sunglasses but be prepared for watery eyes and wet cheeks. We would always recommend taking into account the light conditions and thus having the right lens for the job, sure mirrored lenses can be useful but in low light they are not going to help you see the contrast in the snow. Having a rose, yellow or copper lens gives you more clarity when the light is not great while a mirrored lens reduces the glare when the weathers better. Different brands use different terminology and technologies but what is standard is the VLT or Visual Light Transmission percentage rating. The lower the number the less light it’s going to let through thus the darker the lens. A lens with a high VLT is going to enhance the light when it’s not great – you’ll see this in a Yellow or Rose lens for example.

Renting vs Buying – put time aside so you get the right gear for the job. Boots are where you should focus most of the time as happy feet is always the way to go. If you are going to do a lot of time up the hill you can work out the cost of renting against buying but also take into account the time that goes with picking up and dropping back rental gear. If you have the budget to buy your own gear you are going to be more comfortable and your confidence and skill will grow quicker. Tip: Keep plastic tubs in your car for each persons gear – it can get crazy back there in the boot with wet boots and outerwear.

Gloves are key to keep you warm and dry, again having a breathable material comes into play – sure a dishwashing glove is waterproof but if it cannot breathe you’re not going to have a good time. That breathability and insulation balance is key to keeping your hands dry and warm. The same principle applies to your outerwear, rockin a pair of trackies on the mountain is not going to end well. Tip: Tie the kids gloves together with elastic and thread it through the arms of their jacket = no lost gloves!

Have Fun!!