Useful Ski Holiday Tips

STORY BY PowderSky 11th August 2017

Here is a useful guide to some ski holiday tips that we have picked up over the years – hoping that it makes your first ski trip that bit easier.

Get to a UK slope – even just knowing how to get your ski boots on, how to clip into skis and how to dress yourself is useful.

Watch Youtube – there are copious amounts of instructional videos on youtube, it’s well worth soaking those up before you go, right from packing to snowploughing.

Take layers of clothes – wearing 4 wooly jumpers won’t work, instead a few technical layers will perform much better.

Choose your friends – many people do go for the first time with friends that can ski – this is great because they know a lot about going skiing, they know about the right resorts and they can probably lend you some gear – but they also come with a hazard warning that while they want to be skiing the deep and steep, you are just beginning, so its worth ensuring everyones expectations are set before you go.

Choosing Resorts – choosing the right resort is also key, you need a good variety of nursery, greens and blue runs, that way you can build confidence and progress without getting bored on the one resort nursery slope that’s packed. We would also recommend sunnier resorts and resorts closer to airports…let’s face it, for your first trip having a 4 hour transfer and being bleak and cold all week might not get you back next time.

Insurance – do make sure you insurance covers you for winter sports and if it doesn’t get one.  Also when you buy your lift pass and they offer you insurance for a couple of € per day, take it, its worth being fully covered for insurance on the mountain.

Sun Cream – you will be amazed if you hit on a sunny day or 2, how sun burned you can get, so taking a decent quality sun cream is really important.  A small tube is fine as its likely only your face that will catch it, but the altitude and the reflection from the snow can easily end up burning you in just a few hours.

Lift Pass – if you are heading to some of the bigger resorts you can often save money by buying a smaller more localised lift pass – as a new skiers its unlikely you will be bashing out the kilometres of skiing, so save a few pounds by buying the local lift pass.

Piste Map – always carry a piste map, then if you do happen to get detached from your group, you can work out where you are and tell them.

CB Radio – mobile phone signal is often not great in the mountains so taking CB radios where you have permanent instant contact with your friends can be very useful indeed.

Safety – it’s well worth while learning about ski etiquette, rights of way and what to do in the case of an emergency – like any daily activity, its always worth having in the back of your mind what you will do if something goes wrong.

Slope Difficulty Rating – In most European ski resorts, pistes are graded by a colour system. That colour is denoted by poles that run either side of the piste.  You will often find a diamond or square block colour on the piste sign posts or at the bottom of a ski lift, showing what colour slopes are at the top. You will also find the colour of each slope clearly marked on the piste map.

What does each colour ski slope mean:

Green Slopes – slopes suitable for beginners

Blue Slopes – generally easy runs, but can have some steeper parts that are suitable for advancing a beginners skiing after a few days of lessons

Red Slopes – is an intermediate slope, often steeper or narrower than a blue run and is more for experienced skiers or beginners that are being taken with a guide or instructor

Black Slopes – slopes for very experienced skiers, they can be steep, icy and have some tight turns

Yellow Slopes – these are un marked and un-patrolled slopes

 

Other useful information for your first ski holiday

Don’t do too much, tired legs are ones that make you fall, so quit early get a swim, spa or a few drinks to relax into the evening so you are fresh for the next day.

Having the right skis and boots is essential,  Your boots should be comfortably tight (they wont feel like trainers or slippers) but they shouldn’t be pinching.  If your boots aren’t comfortable go back and change them.

Your skis shouldn’t be too long, so if the rental shop doesn’t have the right skis in stock for you don’t accept a ski that’s too long.  Your ski should come to between your chin and nose and no longer to start with.

Keep warm, and don’t let yourself get too cold, its much harder to warm up from freezing than ust getting a warm burst by the fire in a mountain restaurant.

Take some snacks, you will be amazed how hard your muscles and body will work when learning to ski, so a Mars in the pocket or a ham baguette squashed flat can be pretty welcomed at 11am!

Take some cash so when you stop at the mountain restaurant you can get your self a warm drink and something to eat, recharging is vital when you are skiing especially for the first time.

Make sure you enjoy yourself, you don’t need to be the next Franz Klaammer overnight, this is about having fun and having a great holiday and enjoying the fresh mountain air.  If you are tired, don’t be scared to say to your ski buddies that you are going to take a break or finish early for the day, that’s far wiser than pressing on to try and keep up with a crazy group and then taking a silly tumble.

A jacuzzi at the end of the day is nice for the muscles so take a swim and rest in a hot tub or sauna it will help with some muscle recovery time.

Be careful with your intake of alcohol – at altitude, booze can do some funny things and skiing the next day with a hangover can be pretty tricky!

Look out for other cool activities, it doesn’t have to be all ski-ski-ski…resorts have really invested recently in non-ski activities, things like snow shoeing, skidooing, spas, ice climbing, zip wires and much more is often on offer, so do consider taking the odd day or afternoon to explore the rest of the resort,

Sun Cream – you will be amazed if you hit on a sunny day or 2, how sun burned you can get, so taking a decent quality sun cream is really important.  A small tube is fine as its likely only your face that will catch it, but the altitude and the reflection from the snow can easily end up burning you in just a few hours.

One other thing that nmight help is if you check out our guide to ski terminology as there is a lot of jargon in ski, but don’t worry, most of it means – enjoy yourself!

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