So you don’t forget anything, here’s a list of head-to-toe protection equipment. You don’t have to wear any of it, but we strongly advise it when you’re heading out for an adventure in the snow.
- Helmet: We’re pleased to see so many more people wearing helmets these days. A fluorescent bandana and your hair flying in the wind is not a good look anymore! It might not be compulsory, but a helmet gives you real protection if you have a fall or collide with someone on the slopes. Technology has advanced, making helmets light, comfortable and breathable - and they look pretty cool, too.
If you’ve decided to spend the afternoon strolling the snowshoeing trails around Val Thorens, there’s obviously no need to bother with a helmet. But you might want to wear a hat. Did you know that up to 30% of our body heat is lost through the head ? And you’ll enjoy your adventures much more when you’re cosy and warm under your hat.
- Sunglasses/goggles: Did you know that the amount of UV rays increases by around 4% with every 300m of ascent? Val Thorens has around 30% more UV rays than a Côte d'Azur beach like Pamplonne, for example.
And did you also know that the sun glare is extremely high? Up to 90% for snow, compared to just 20% for sand.
Your eyes are in continuous contact with these rays (skiing with your eyes closed isn’t really an option). So you need to protect them really well and, just like googles, there are several protection categories available for glasses - depending on the weather conditions and activity. You’re advised to wear at least cat. 3 in the mountains - regardless of the activity. You’ll need cat 4 if your activity is on ice (a glacier walk, for example). If you’re still not sure, you can go to our article headed "Choosing the right goggles/sunglasses" to find the best advice.
- Sun protection for your face: Your skin is just as sensitive to UV rays as your eyes, and your face usually gets the most exposure with winter sports. So, it’s really important to apply sun cream to the most exposed areas before you head for the slopes, a spot of sunbathing on the terrace or a walk in the snow. The factor needs to be high enough for the right protection - at least 30, but ideally 50.
Lip balm is also a good idea – your lips dry out a lot faster in the cold, and some products also feature UV protection if you’re highly sensitive.
Cosy little extras:
- Glove-/foot-warmers: really handy when it’s extremely cold - or if you feel the cold more than most.
- A ski buff to stave off icy winds: protects your nose, lower face and neck from the wind. They come in plenty of styles and are easy to slip into your pocket if you get too hot.
- Inner gloves: if you’re a cold hands kind of person, they’re thin and light and slip inside your ski gloves for better insulation.
There are plenty of shops in the resort selling accessories. From technical performance to fashion statement - there’s something for everyone!
A small rucksack is a good idea for carrying your lunch and a bottle of water - the great outdoors really gives you an appetite. And don’t forget to take regular drinks when you’re in the mountains - you dehydrate a lot quicker up there and you might suffer cramps the next day if you don’t drink enough water!
So now you’re all set for a happy holiday in Val Thorens - in wind, snow or sun!