Skiing is a fantastic way to spend your hard-earned holiday days, but it can be intimidating and cause some anxiety for first time skiers. SO, I’ve put together this post to help you survive your first ski trip. My mam has been telling my sister and I for years that a ski trip is the most fun type of holiday we could ever take. But, until I started my blog, I had never even thought about the slopes. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to try both snowboarding and skiing in recent years because of my blog (more about that in “recommended reading” below). It’s great to get away, hit the slopes, get some exercise and have an incredible adventure. Not to mention the “après-ski”! With some careful planning, a ski trip can be safe, exhilarating and pretty much the trip of your life. Now, here’s some tips for those first time skiers.
Tips and Trick For First Time Skiers
Choose the Right Destination
Resorts like the Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy are perfect for the pros. With a top elevation of nearly 3000 metres and a run that’s practically a vertical drop, it’s a heart-stopping experience that the professionals and serious skiers love to tackle. But, it’s not exactly a beginner’s paradise. For your first trip, you want somewhere with fantastic nursery slopes to get started, and some more complex, yet beginner friendly runs for later in the week when you find your feet. Somewhere like Meribel for novice skiers could be perfect. I had my first ski lesson in Finnish Lapland, which was wonderful because the slopes are small and not very steep, great for beginners. You also need to remember that while skiing will obviously be a big part of your trip, it’s not the only aspect of it. You’ll want to find a ski destination with all of the facilities you need. You may want to be close to a city or large town so that you can do some sightseeing/shopping, or maybe someone in your group doesn’t ski and you need a resort with plenty of non-skiing activities on offer. If you’re into nightlife and partying then you’ll need to do your research and find the resort with the best clubs/festivals.
It’s All About the Gear
One thing first time skiers often forget, or just aren’t aware of, is that it can actually get quite warm on top of a mountain when you’re doing all that exercise, AND the threat of sunburn is very real. So make sure you bring the right gear on your first ski trip. When skiing you’ll need waterproof clothes, including coats and ski pants. But, under these, you should stick to light layers that are easy to remove. I use yoga/workout leggings under the ski pants and just layer t-shirts and maybe a fleece jumper under the coat. No need to invest in super expensive ski clothing for your first trip. You can get some great bargain ski-wear in TK Maxx and Lidl/Aldi. You’ll also need plenty of sunscreen, gloves and goggles with UV protection. For your first time, it’s best to hire all of the proper equipment (skis, boots, helmet etc) from somewhere local to your hotel. If you book a package break, it should all be included. I remember the first time I tried snowboarding I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t understand how the boots worked at all. The guy in the equipment rental place genuinely laughed at me. He ended up having to put them on for me. Also, don’t forget to pack sun screen and plenty of chapstick. Muscle-rubs and anti-inflammatory medication will come in handy too as you’ll probably find yourself a bit sore after your first few days on the slopes.
Practice Before You Go
If possible, it’s a great idea to hit a dry slope, or indoor ski slope before you travel. This gives you a fantastic chance to get a feel for the equipment (no awkward fumbling like me!) and learn a little technique before you go. Then when it comes time for your trip, you’ll hit the ground running and start enjoying yourself straight away, without having to worry about those nervy first steps. I had so much dread before my first ski lesson but after about 15 minutes into it I had completely relaxed and absolutely loved it.
When you’re there, don’t just rent a pair of skis and head for the slopes. Take a lesson! Group lessons are most fun because there’s less pressure on you and you get to meet new people. I did a one on one snowboarding lesson and I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the group lesson I had for my first time skiing. Plus, lessons from a decent instructor will ensure that you learn the proper technique and are less likely to hurt yourself (or an innocent by-stander). And on a completely shallow note, the instructors are often quite good-looking, which never hurts.
Face Your Fears
Yes, it can be scary. But, that feeling won’t last. Trust me, once you get over the first lesson, you’ll be in love. Plus, it feels great to face your fears. The first time you go down a slope successfully by yourself without falling you’ll feel like you’ve conquered the world. AND you’ll have earned all those delicious après ski drinks and fondues etc. BUT, always make sure you have travel insurance that covers you for skiing, just in case!