Club Europe supporting sustainability through WhoSki.com

A huge cheer for school ski trip provider Club Europe, for taking strong steps towards improving sustainability in its operations. Not only is it recommending WhoSki.com as the place to buy and sell secondhand ski clothing, it is looking at ways to reduce its environmental impact across all areas.

The company is the latest to partner with us to help keep pre-loved ski clothing in active usage for longer and make skiing more affordable.

As Club Europe says: “The idea is simple: reduce the quantity of new ski clothes that are bought and old ones that are sent to landfill, by enabling families to easily buy and sell pre-loved ski wear.”

What to pack for a family ski trip

KEEPING SKI CLOTHES ON THE PISTE

Club Europe will be helping hundreds of youngsters take a school ski trip this season. If even a fraction of those young skiers and their families buy and sell their ski clothing via WhoSki.com, they will potentially help keep a mountain of clothing out of landfill and reduce its carbon footprint by extending its active life.

WhoSki.com co-founder Nicola Davenport says: “We are delighted to be working with Club Europe, a school ski trip provider that is committed to sustainable business.

“Raising awareness of WhoSki.com as a secondhand marketplace for good quality ski clothing helps not only keep textiles in circulation but also raises the profile of sustainability in the wintersports sector generally. The more we all do to think #SkiGreen, the brighter the future for our mountains.”

Club Europe is recommending WhoSki.com as a first stop for buying specialist kit for a school ski trip, as well as the best place to sell on unwanted but good quality ski clothes that no longer fit.

Club Europe: Committed to sustAinability

Alison Wareham, Club Europe’s sustainability lead, adds: “As a responsible travel provider, we are committed to sustainability in our development, operations and marketing. Partnering with WhoSki.com not only helps the environment but gives families a small financial boost – saving money on ski wear and perhaps by selling their own unwanted ski fit, making a few pennies too.”

Read more:
School ski trip essential clothing

What to pack for a family ski trip

What to pack for your family ski holidays

Most of us heading for the slopes this winter / spring will be seasoned skiers / snowboarders, but if you’re a ski holidays first timer, what ski wear essentials should be in your suitcase?

No one wants to (a) over-pack OR (b) be under-prepared. If you’re not a ski parent, however, it can be hard to know what’s a must-have, and what you can cross off the shopping list. Here’s the children’s ski wear I recommend, after two decades of skiing with children (from age 0 upwards):

SKI WEAR MUST-HAVES:

  • warm, waterproof ski jackets and trousers or ski suit. You cannot ‘make do’ with non-specialist equipment here: waterproofing, flexible movement, pockets and padding will make for an all-round better ski experience.
  • mid-layer. This can be a simple fleece, but make sure it has a zip so the wearer can open and close according to weather and exertion.
  • ski goggles. More protective than sunglasses, less easy to lose, warmer for the face on a cold day or when it is snowing.
  • ski gloves. Absolutely essential as it’s miserable to have cold hands, oft expressed by highly vocal wailing. You might also want to throw in a pair of thin glove liners. Mittens are warmer and perfect for little ones. Kids’ gloves tend to get drenched on a daily basis and they are slow to dry, so taking a spare pair is recommended.
  • ski socks. Longer than normal socks with heat-retaining qualities and the right padding in the right places, two pairs of ski socks for a week’s trip will be enough, provided they go on the radiator to dry between wears.
  • snowboots. No child or adult should ever go to the mountains without a chunky pair of cosy, waterproof snowboots. They mean kids can play in the snow without getting frostbite of the toes, and adults can walk to the bar/supermarket/ski school pick-up point without slipping over. Wear them on the journey to cut down on luggage weight
  • slippers/Crocs. Aka footwear you can wear between bootroom and chalet/hotel room. The first sign you will see at the entrance to your accommodation will be: no outdoor footwear. Without slippers (ideally, something robust with a sturdy sole) your socks will quickly be soggy. Yuck.
  • Lip balm and high SPF sunscreen. Take a few small tubes of suncream with you and slip into pockets so you can top up throughout the day. Ditto for lip balms, which are easily lost.

SKI WEAR NICE-TO-HAVES:

  • handwarmers. Keeping one of these in your pocket for those super-cold ski days can make a big difference, although there will be years when you don’t need them at all. Good news though: they don’t go off, so save them for next season if unused.
  • sunglasses. I would never go skiing without a pair in my pocket, but my kids have been known to stick with goggles whatever the weather. One less thing to lose, too.
  • thermal underwear. I always made sure my young kids wore thermals – and sometimes that was all they needed under their ski suits – but for teens, not essential.
  • helmet. Essential to wear, but easy to rent. You only really need to own one if you’re a habitual skier. For children, make sure there’s a clip at the back to prevent goggles from pinging off. As with cycling and motorcycling, never buy a secondhand helmet: you don’t know what it’s been through, plus build technology has improved year on year so modern styles are safer than ever.
  • ski boots. As above: wait to buy them until your child’s feet have stopped growing/you move to the Alps/you’ve got the ski bug.
  • multi-packs of a favourite sweet snack. Slipping a packet of Haribos or a chocolate bar into a child’s ski jacket pocket provides a welcome energy boost for little ones between runs.

Got children’s ski wear that no longer fits? Pass it on via our preloved ski clothing marketplace. Looking for ski clothes for your family? Browse our peer-to-peer marketplace for high quality secondhand ski gear.

Boost your family’s mental health with #PMHD

You may spend a lot of time worrying about the mental health of your offspring, but how often do you think about your own?

Our charity partner stem4 has nominated today Thursday (January 27) as Parent Mental Health Day (#PMHD) to highlight that by looking after our own mental health, we can in turn improve outcomes for our children. It makes perfect sense.

The theme of the event is ‘balance’:  #TiptheBalance to Positive: Looking after Parent and Carer Mental Health, and comes with a free Zoom seminar at 7pm this evening (27/01/2022). Register here: https://bit.ly/stem4webinarsPMHD

We donate 25% of our commission on every sale through WhoSki.com to stem4, which is Wimbledon-based (as are we) and focuses on practical ways to improve teenage mental health through developing apps and support programmes.

This year’s #PMHD is a nudge for parents and carers to take a moment to reflect on the balance (or lack of it) we have in our lives, and take simple, positive steps that can bring changes.

You might find it hard to believe at times, but as a young person’s ‘responsible adult’ you are among their chief influencers – building on this position of influence can be a positive way to improve mental health for every member of your family.

Perhaps your next family ski trip might be a good time to put some stem4 positive mental health tips into practice? Combined Minds is among the highly rated apps the charity has developed to support its aim of fostering the development of good mental health in teenagers through enhancing early understanding and awareness.

What clothing is essential for a school ski trip?

For many people, the first time they even think about buying ski clothing is when their child is signed up for a school ski trip. You’ve paid for travel, tuition and accommodation, but how many of those items on the kit list do you really need to buy?

See above a genuine plea for help from a mum-friend just this week. The message thread continued…

ski trip message continued...

Hmm, yes: having the wrong kit could well be a factor!

No parent wants their child to be uncomfortable on the mountain, especially if you’re skiing with them (every ski parent will do everything they can to minimise small skier whingeing, right?), so making sure they’ve got the right clothing is essential.

If you’re not a ski parent, however, it can be hard to know what on that lengthy list of recommended school ski kit clothing is a must-have, and what you can skip buying or borrowing.

Here’s what I recommend, after almost two decades of skiing with children (from age 0 upwards):
MUST-HAVES:

  • warm, waterproof ski jacket and trousers or ski suit. You cannot ‘make do’ with non-specialist equipment here: waterproofing, flexible movement, pockets and padding will make for an all-round better ski experience.
  • mid-layer. This can be a simple fleece, but make sure it has a zip so the wearer can open and close according to weather and exertion
  • ski goggles. More protective than sunglasses, less easy to lose, warmer for the face on a cold day or when it is snowing.
  • ski gloves. Absolutely essential as cold hands are a source of misery for many. You might also want to throw in a pair of thin glove liners
  • ski socks. Longer than normal socks with heat-retaining qualities and the right padding in the right places, two pairs of ski socks for a week’s trip will be enough, provided your child puts them on the radiator to dry between wears.
  • snowboots. No child or adult should ever go skiing without a chunky pair of cosy, waterproof snowboots. They mean kids can play in the snow without getting frostbite of the toes, and adults can walk to the bar/supermarket/ski school pick-up point without slipping over. Wear them on the journey to cut down on luggage weight
  • slippers/Crocs. Aka footwear you can wear between bootroom and chalet/hotel room. The first sign you will see at the entrance to your accommodation will be: no outdoor footwear. Without slippers (ideally, something robust with a sturdy sole) your socks will quickly be soggy. Yuck.

NICE-TO-HAVES:

  • handwarmers. Keeping one of these in your pocket for those super-cold days can make a big difference, although there will be years when you don’t need them at all. Good news though: they don’t go off, so save them for next season if unused.
  • sunglasses. I would never go skiing without a pair in my pocket, but my kids have been known to stick with goggles whatever the weather. One less thing to lose, too!
  • thermal underwear. I always made sure my young kids wore thermals – and sometimes that was all they needed under their ski suits – but for teens, not essential.
  • helmet. Essential to wear, but easy to rent. You only really need to own one if you’re a habitual skier.
  • ski boots. As above: wait to buy them until you’ve got the ski bug.

Looking for ski clothes for your child’s next ski trip or school ski trip? Visit the WhoSki.com shop for pre-loved, good-as-new ski clothing at a fraction of the RRP.

Got children’s ski clothing that no longer fits? Pass it on via our preloved ski clothing marketplace.

We donate to charity on every sale.

Should we all be wearing a ski helmet?

I swapped my cosy ski cap (with fold down earflaps) for a ski helmet about four years ago for fear of being hit by another skier or boarder on the piste. These days, it’s unusual to see skiers or boarders not wearing a helmet.

That’s a huge change in slope safety mindset from just a few years ago: studies show that in some US and European resorts, 70% of us now habitually wear a ski helmet. They are not compulsory, although some resorts and ski schools do insist that infants and children wear a helmet on the piste.

In Canada, helmets are mandatory for those learning to snowboard, as well as for those teaching boarders and skiers.

Head injuries

Few parents would disagree that helmets for child skiers are essential, but should you wear one yourself?

Accidents involving high-profile skiers like Michael Schumacher and Natasha Richardson have helped convince many to swap beanies for helmets, although Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he sustained his injuries. Actress Natasha Richardson died from bleeding on the brain after she fell and hit her head while skiing (no helmet).

Benefits of wearing a helmet

As a chilly skier, I was pleased to find that a helmet is much cosier than a hat, it’s less likely to fall off (obviously), doesn’t itch and means you can keep your goggles on your helmet rather than have them taking up valuable pocket space. And as for those helmets that incorporate visors? Swoon!

Vents mean your head doesn’t overheat when you’re tackling a gnarly slope or the sun comes out, so for me my helmet is definitely a keeper.

The only question is how long can I go before buying a new one? There are some seriously desirable styles out there.

Ski helmets and injury

From the point of view of protection from injury, does wearing a helmet make a difference?

The NHS advises that the chances of sustaining serious injury when skiing are low. But if you are unlucky enough to have an accident, research published in June 2018 concludes (unsurprisingly) that wearing a helmet does help protect from head injuries. (btw, the publication Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Journal, where this research is published, has a fascinating contents page namechecking everything from wild boar to venomous snake bites via fire ants and ultraendurance nutrition.)

Scientists who have studied the effects of helmet use by skiers and snowboarders advise wearing a helmet in order to reduce the risk of a potentially serious head injury.

However, many ski helmets are not made of materials that will prevent brain injury if a so-called rotational injury occurs whereby (as explained in a very informative article in the Telegraph here), the brain rotates inside the skull following a collision.

Keep a look out for changes in helmet design and technology that offer increased protection from this kind of injury. (Good excuse for a headwear refresh!)

Find out more:

Ski Club GB advice about wearing a helmet

A factsheet from the charity Headway lists the symptoms of concussion and what to do if you suffer a blow to the head

Could our kids be next gen ski champs?

Some 1.5 million Brits take a ski holiday every year and, if you’ve been to an Alpine resort in the school holidays, you will know that includes a helluva lot of children. So are we getting to the point where our ski kids will be good enough to compete with the snowy nations like Canada, France, Switzerland and Norway?

Recent generations have seen increasing numbers of British children learning to ski from an early age, and it is that early exposure to the enjoyment and challenge of winter sports, combined with Team GB backing,  that is starting to manifest itself in professional success on the piste.

Traditionally, we have done badly in the Winter Olympics: not surprising given our lack of infrastructure as well as a deficiency of accessible, reliably snowy mountains.

2014 Olympics: UK wins first medal on snow

Things started changing in the last couple of Winter Olympics, however, with the UK’s first medal on snow won by boarder Jenny Jones in 2014, followed by two more snowboarding medals at Sochi last year.

Meanwhile, alpine racer Dave Ryding finished second in the parallel slalom at the World Cup in Oslo on New Year’s Day,  fourth overall at the World Cup in Italy on 23 December, and came ninth at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Ryding is our most successful World Cup alpine skier EVER.

British Nordic skiers making tracks

We’ve also got a number of Nordic skiers who are making progress in World Cup events: Andrew Musgrave took a podium place in the 15km World Cup race at Toblach in December 2018 and finished 7th in the skiathlon at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He recently scored a top 10 place in the gruelling Tour de Ski 15km classic.

These successes are now the focus of a vision from Performance Director for GB Snowsport Dan Hunt – the Dave Brailsford of winter sports. He is ambitious, aiming for the UK to be a top-five nation in ski and snowboarding by 2030. He was quoted in an article in The Times this week. “It feels like British cycling in 2006,” Hunt explained. “We may not have mountains  but we have sporting intelligence.

“This is where I get excited. What we are really good at, better than anyone else in the world, is shutting a gap of about 0.3 seconds.”

British downhill No 1 Dave Ryding agrees, telling The Times: “To be a top-five nation you only need one person to do well in each discipline. I won’t be around in 2030… but the younger generation is stronger than I’ve ever seen it.”

Get your ski kids involved

So if your child wants to take their skiing that bit further, how to support them? These links should help:

British Nordic (cross country) skiing: https://www.britishnordic.org/

Snowsport England: https://snowsportengland.org.uk/get_competitive

GB Snowsport: https://www.gbsnowsport.com/

And if you need to kit them out, or pass on their no longer needed ski, remember that buying and selling via WhoSki.com is the eco way to keep down costs and keep ski clothing out of landfill. 

Kids Ski Wear

Kids ski wear that lasts: we like!

Perfect Scandi brand ski kit for kids 1, 2 … and 3?

Nice to see a new (to us!) kid on the block in the children’s outerwear market: Swedish brand Polarn O.Pyret.

If anyone knows how to keep the little ones warm and weatherproofed, it’s the Scandis, right? So it was lovely to see that they are about to launch their new range of ski jackets, ski trousers and ski gloves, in practical unisex reds, camo and black/white.

Warning: it’s going to be limited edition, so keep your eye on their website to be in with a chance of grabbing a set (jackets £105; pants £85; age 2-12). Sounds costly? It’s tough stuff, built to last two children or more. And that means high re-sale value, so remember to recycle via Whoski.com when you’re ready to pass on your children’s outgrown ski clothing..

As Polarn O.Pyret agrees: “Handing down or selling is better for the planet… and for your pocket!”