Winter is a blessing for those who love snow and skiing. A winter ski vacation in Japan means picturesque views of glistening slopes, powdery soft snow, and incredible illuminations as a bonus. And if you are a thrill-seeker looking for skiing or snowboarding, there’s no destination better than northern Japan for making the most of the winter season.
With an abundance of snowfall received around January to mid-March; Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata, and other prefectures offer an unbeatable experience for beginners as well as experts who want to enjoy snow activities while also experiencing the beautiful scenery and delicious local foods.
While the seasoned ski bums would know about all the travel essentials they would need for their next ski vacation, we’ve rounded up a list of must-haves to prep you from head-to-toe for your first time on the slopes.
Needless to say, a proper set of ski wear, the right gear, and accessories should be on the top of your packing list. While there would be countless rental shops at major ski resorts that offer ski and snowboarding gear and wear for all sizes and ages, there’s also the possibility of rental shops not having your size, or everything being rented out during high season. It’s better to invest in the right kit to fit your needs if you plan to make your ski vacation an annual activity.
Wherever you ski, it’s more or less the same gear. Use this checklist when preparing your skiing kit:
A sturdy ski helmet
Anti-fogging ski goggles
High-performance ski boots
Waterproof gloves and glove liners
Skis and/or snowboards
Ski-wear: Insulated jacket, waterproof pants, and thicks socks
Ski and Snowboard bag
A balaclava or a ski mask is one of the best winter accessories out there. With all the ski gear that you would be carrying, and the multiple layers you would be tucked up in, wearing another neck warmer or mask to cover your face can be troublesome. But this cool breathable accessory effectively protects you from the harsh wind, dust, and cold by covering your neck, nose, and mouth; without causing any discomfort.
Since you’ll be spending most of your time outdoors on the slopes, you would need to be fully layered up to survive the plummeting temperatures. To stay comfortable as well as cozy, make sure you pack highly functional thermal clothing like the Heat Tech range from Uniqlo that is light-weight yet keeps you warm by generating and retaining heat from the body.
Ski gear aside, you need to stay warm at all times. When not skiing or snowboarding, you might want to spend your time exploring the local cafes, winter scenery, and indulging in other sightseeing activities. You would need a pair of knee-high or mid-calf snow boots such as waterproof UGGS that would make strolling on the snow-covered roads convenient while keeping your feet warm and dry.
Toiletries, Medicines & Accessories
While you would find many convenience stores around the popular ski resorts, most of these close early, which becomes a problem if you run out of your toiletries or medical supplies. So, pack along a small kit to include some essential medicines, bandages, and toiletries like sunscreen, shampoo, soap, etc. It’s always better to be prepared.
Power banks, heat packs, portable chargers, lip balms, and hand creams or moisturizers are some of the other things that you may want to add to your travel kit.
Japan has a unique love affair with cash, and even though the rest of the world has moved towards digital currency, many places in Japan especially the smaller businesses still follow a cash-only policy. The same is the case with many lesser-known ski resorts and rental shops that would prefer taking cash during your trip. That’s why it’s better to carefully budget all the cash that you would need beforehand to avoid last-minute trips to the ATM.
Prepare a lightweight daypack with all the essentials you would need for your time on the slopes to avoid wasting time rushing back to the ski resort. Your daypack can include several items like a wallet, torchlight, power bank, water bottle, a light snack, ski resort map, spare mid-layers, and more.
Overall tip: It’s always a good idea to start packing at least a week in advance and go over your travel bags a day before you leave to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything.
Make the most of your ski vacation in Japan while abiding by all the new social distancing rules. Happy skiing!
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