Fear of making an idiot out of yourself is one of the single biggest turn-offs for beginner skiers. But skiing can be one of the most rewarding holiday experiences there is – and it’s quite cheap as far as holidays go. Still, if you’ve never set foot on the slopes before, it can be intimidating. So, here are our top 4 tips to help you prepare for your first ski holiday.
Don’t Buy: Borrow
Even if you want to look an absolute knock out on the slopes your first time (and maybe distract from your less-than-perfect technique), you should resist the urge to buy a full set of ski gear. Seriously, even if you find a stunning ski suit that just makes your knees weak, put away the credit card this instant. The golden rule of ski wear for beginners is simple: don’t buy; borrow. That goes for the gents too I’m afraid. The reason for this is simple – ski gear is expensive. The last thing you want is to decide that after a few days on the slopes that skiing really isn’t for you (as some people do, though we can’t figure out why), and be stuck with a bunch of kit you’ll never wear again and a fairly hefty bill. So borrow as much gear as you can – gloves, hats, fleece, goggles, sunglasses, ski helmets. The only things we suggest buying yourself are thermals and socks (for hygiene reasons, plus who likes to borrow socks?!).
Book A Chalet – Not A Self-Catering Apartment
One of the reasons skiing is such a popular holiday sport is that it can be fairly cheap – particularly if you book into self-catered accommodation. However, if it’s your first time, we don’t recommend this. A ski resort is a pretty baffling place, and if you’ve never experienced it before it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed and miss things. In a catered ski chalet, you get not just breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks all laid on for you, but advice about the best placed to go and the relief of being able to drop onto the sofa at the end of the day, meaning you can focus more on the skiing and the experience than cooking or yourself. If possible, opt for a chalet company run by a British company, as many will be able to help with flights and transfers as well.
Don’t Take Help From Friends
A lot of beginner skiers will go on trips organised by friends and family who can already ski, with well meaning members of the party offering to help them learn the ropes. And while they may have the best will in the world, don’t let them be your ski instructors. Seriously, we can’t stress that enough. Pretty soon they’ll get bored of teaching you the basics and drag you on to a more advanced slope with the dreaded ‘you’ll be fine’. If by some miracle you don’t injure yourself, you are providing a hazard for other skiers, not to mention that the experience will probably leave you so freaked out that you never leave the chalet again. No. The only way to learn to ski properly is to book onto a ski school, or get yourself a personal instructor for dedicated teaching. This way you can learn safely, at your own pace, while your friends jet off to do their own thing.
Get Fit First
The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of pounds on a ski holiday, only to find yourself too exhausted to get out of bed on the second morning. While the individual moves of skiing might not be too intensive on their own, repeating them at altitude over and over definitely is. The only way to truly prepare for your ski trip in advance is to get fit long before you hit the slopes. You can do this by training on dry slopes (which gets your technique perfect as well), take up Nordic Walking (which mimics a lot of the movements of skiing in walking form) or simply hitting the gym. Even if you’re not a gym bunny, you need to do some work to strengthen up your legs and your cardiovascular system in advance.
At Spice we run several ski holidays every single year, for beginners all the way up experienced skiers. Our beginner’s ski trips are perfect for those who have always wanted to try skiing, but have never been able to pluck up the courage. All the members who attend are in the same boat as you, and with qualified ski instructors to teach you, you can all enjoy falling over in the snow together. To find out more about our ski holidays and local ski trips, see our holidays page or get in touch with us today.