Having spent all my holidays thus far in sunny climes, my packing list has usually been pretty straightforward – but I have no idea what to pack for my first ever ski trip.

As I’m learning to ski, I’ll be hiring ski boots, poles and skis, so that’s covered, but I’ll need all my own mountain gear, not to mention an après-ski outfit or two. Though I don’t quite understand it, I’m told people get sun burn on ski trips (really?), so I’m going to have to add sunglasses and suncream to my packing list, along with all sorts of other balms and creams to help ease the aches and pains. Then there’s the whole question of footwear! Oh, where to start?

After many conversations in the pub with my various ski enthusiast friends, it’s time to get organised.  Starting from the top down, here’s what I’m packing.

My ski gear packing list

The top bit: Helmet, woolly hat, snood, goggles, sunglasses, suncream (there’s a debate about whether to take sunglasses or goggles; ever the diplomat, I’m taking both).

The middle bit: 2-3 thermal vests, 2-3 long-sleeved thermals, 2-3 fleece jackets, (I’m told nothing cotton is the key here, strictly man-made fibres or ‘technical’ fibres like bamboo or merino wool only), a short waterproof and windproof jacket with a snow skirt, 1 small back-pack, 2 pairs of ski gloves (as I will fall over, and I will get wet, my brother delights in assuring me).

The bottom bit: 2-3 pairs of thermal leggings, ski trousers, 3-4 pairs of ski socks (I’m told real ski socks are important, as they’re made of special micro-fibres and stretch over the top of your ski boots), foot warmers (these sound great and can be picked up in Decathlon for just a couple of pounds).

Buying your ski kit on a budget

So, I have my ski holiday packing list, now to assemble it! If you’re skiing on a budget, as I am, there are several ways to gather together your ski kit without breaking the bank. As well as raiding several friends’ wardrobes, I’ve been frequenting TK Maxx and Aldi, where I’ve managed to pick up some ski socks and proper base layers. Good old M&S has been handy too, for basic thermal layers, and Decathlon for the foot warmers and a few packs of energy bars.

The only downside to this hunt and gather approach is that you end up with an array of clashing, brightly coloured ski kit (I have turquoise trousers and a bright red jacket). So, as well as not being able to ski, I’ll be highly visible in the process. Great.

Though most of my time will be spent on the mountain, I will need some non-ski outfits too. I’ll be looking so comical on the slopes, that it would be nice to regain at least some poise in the evenings.

Holiday packing list: Off the slopes

Clothing: Shoes with grips for coping with snowy conditions, an extra jacket, scarf, gloves, warm hat, 2-3 evening and travel outfits, swimwear (I’m hoping for a spa), trackies for lounging in the chalet.

Miscellaneous: Plug adapter, mini speakers and MP3 player, travel insurance and printouts of travel docs, arnica cream (for all those bruises), painkillers, chocolate and energy bars, aftersun and lipbalm, bottle opener (oh yes).

It feels good to have my packing list taken care of, at least there’s one thing within my control as a first-time skier. Looking back over the list though, one thing is becoming clear… I’m going to need a bigger bag.