Skiing is an exhilarating sport, blending action, adventure, and scenic beauty. If you want to experience some of the thrills for yourself but don’t live in an area where there are natural slopes, venturing abroad is likely on your agenda.
Should this be your first time skiing on holiday, then there are several key aspects to consider in order to fully prepare yourself. Fret not, as we’ve come up with four essential steps to help orchestrate your first skiing holiday.
Choosing your destination and resort
For your very first skiing endeavour, it’s recommended that you choose a beginner-friendly resort. Just about all resorts have a designated nursery slope or two to help you master the art of stopping, but you’ll also want a variety of green slopes to allow you to practise turning.
Green slopes typically have wider pistes and are more shallow, meaning you can test your snowplough turns without the fear of advanced skiers flying past. However, don’t feel like you’re missing out by sticking to these green slopes as they can be great ways of exploring your surroundings, often taking you from the top to the bottom of a mountain.
When it comes to countries for skiing, France is up there with the best. While it’s tough to choose just one, Alvoriaz is among the best for those at a beginner level. Nestled in the Portes du Soleil area, the resort is free from traffic and has runs that are both wide and gentle.
Another great French resort for beginners is Le Gets, regarded for its plateau featuring all the terrain you could need when starting out. With various magic carpets, rope tows, and wide-open pistes, there’s always something to help you move around.
Borrow don’t buy
As you’re still testing the waters, it’s probably best to rent your skiing gear. If you’re not yet fully invested in the sport, it’s a waste to spend your money on equipment that won’t see the light of day after your trip. This also means you won’t need to deal with general wear and tear, repairs, or waxing like you would if you owned the gear.
When flying with ski equipment, you’ll generally be charged for the extra baggage and this can vary between airlines. While it may take longer for the resort to provide you with a set of skis, the convenience is unparalleled and you have the luxury of changing them at any point during your stay.
It’s always worth taking along your own ski clothing, as rental stores and resorts only tend to stock equipment. You can usually pick these up at a reasonable price from an outdoor clothing store and they can be worn once you return home during the winter months. Just make sure that the clothing is both insulating and waterproof.
Getting to your resort
While transport options are usually included in package holidays, more people are now choosing to organise their ski trips independently, due to having more variety.
By arranging dedicated ski transfers to your resort, you remove the stress from your journey. This is particularly beneficial if you do bring along your own ski equipment or are travelling as part of a larger group. Transfers also tend to be better value than local taxis and public transport services.
Most airports will also have a regular public bus or train service during peak season to take you to your destination. While this option can be great for those on a budget, they often take significantly longer to reach your destination and you have the challenge of carrying your luggage.
As an alternative, you can hire a car, which some prefer due to having increased flexibility. It’s important to bear in mind that the roads in these areas will be prone to extreme weather conditions. Therefore, you must check the regulations on winter tyres and snow chains in your country of choice.
Learn the basics beforehand
Before heading off on your skiing adventure, it’s best to get to grips with the basics. Doing so can help you feel more confident and reduce the risk of injury. There are many indoor and dry ski slopes around the UK that are great for practising these skills.
You should also be aware of the physical demands of skiing and the toll it can have on the body. It’s essentially a full-body workout requiring endurance, strength, stamina, and the use of different muscles at different times. Therefore, it’s worth toning up the muscles that you’ll primarily be using when skiing.
Cardio exercises such as cycling, running, and stair climbing for 30 minutes each day can greatly improve your fitness. Combine this with ab exercises, wall-sits, and weighted squats and you’ll be in a much better position for your trip. If you have any previous injuries that you’re worried could worsen, consult with a professional to come up with a programme to help prevent this.