Packing Guide By Craig Murray

It’s not easy, working out what to pack for a skiing holiday or weekend away at the best of times. The club fields add another dimension as you have to most likely ski with a back pack into the hut, so all your contents must fit in one bag alone. Craig Murray, an experienced free ride skier and an avid club field goer has a few tips to help in these trying times;

1.  Dry your gear the night before
I’ve never been a fan of wet gloves & boots that instantly get cold, or moisture in your goggles fogging all day.
If you can organise yourself to have your gear ready to go, it’s a few less things to worry about on the hill.

2.  Know before you go.
Check the weather ( metservice.com ) and avalanche advisory ( avalanche.net.nz ). If you are planning on doing more than cruising in the ski areas, it’s super quick and easy to do in the car before you get out of reception.

3.  Find the right pack size.
It’s important you have a big enough pack to carry everything you need up to the lodge, but small enough it’s not going to be a hassle on the rope tows.
My standard for a trip is my 40L Patagonia Ascensionist back pack.

In that, I always have my avalanche (a shovel, probe & my transceiver) and backcountry gear, then enough room for whatever I may need for the trip, as long as I’m being a smart packer.
Another thing to consider when deciding on the right back pack; is having one that you can clip things to/ attach things to. Especially if they are wet & snowy. Things like skis, a water bottle, your helmet, an area to store the jacket, attach a hat.

4.  Pack smart
Have an extra layer for back up, mine is usually light, not taking up much space but warm. Eg. Micropuffer.
No unnecessary double ups, you are going skiing, not to lawn bowls, no one will care if you don’t have a new shirt to get changed into for lunch.

5.  Food and water
If you want to make the most of your day I’d recommend throwing in a full water bottle and some food. I never like getting dehydrated or hungry on those extras runs when it’s too good to stop.

6.  Headtorch
Just in case, you never know if there is going to be power or the hutt will be running on a generator that has some down time. Be prepared.

7.  Earplugs
It’s key when staying in the huts to have earplugs. You are never guaranteed a room with no snorers so again, be prepared!

8.  Suitable swimmers / boardies
Key especially when you are staying up at Mt Olympus!

9.  Get your clothing right.
Layering is important to ensure you aren’t getting too cold, too hot, or stopping often to change layers. I generally have my merino/wool base layer, followed by a mid layer, followed by a shell.  Merino and wool base layers are great because they keep you warm and dry, with the bonus of not having too much stink at the end of your trip. My mid layer is generally something I can take on and off easily, as well as ski in, because sometimes I like to shed my jacket instead. On my legs I just have merino/wool followed by shell pants with good vents.

Beating the limiting space of a backpack and ensuring have everything you need for the mountain takes a bit of planning but it does help knowing that you have the toasty warm hut waiting for you at the other end. Enjoy your time in the mountain & we hope this list helps you be better prepared next time you hit the slopes.

Images by Fraser McDougall.

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