If you have never been skiing before you are probably sitting there with a whole lot of questions in your mind, and there may be others that you haven’t thought of yet. Just ask away, and we’ll give you all the answers!
Okay, fair enough. Where can I buy ski equipment?
Woah! Hold on. If you have never been skiing before, we would advise you not to go splashing out a lot of money on equipment. For one thing you might decide that you prefer snowboarding after you have tried it at your resort, and then you have skis and poles that you are not going to use.
When you get to your resort you can rent skis, poles, and boots. By doing that you’ll spend less money and you just hand them back at the end of your week.
If you insist on buying, then any winter sports store will be able to help, and of course there’s always Amazon.
What do I need to wear?
Warm clothing! You need thermal layers next to the skin both top and bottom. Merino wool is good because it is breathable. Don’t wear cotton next to the skin. Then you need something like a sweater, shirt or T-shirt. You should also wear a scarf around your neck, and you will need warm socks. Merino wool is best for the socks, because cotton socks will not dry when your feet sweat, and you don’t want sweaty feet all day.
For a jacket you need something that is water resistant (yes, we know that sounds obvious). However, different brands have different levels of water resistance and you should try to get something 5,000mm or higher. You also need trousers or ski pants, again water resistant, and boots. Something such as a good hiking boot is fine, but you need soles that give a good grip.
You also need a helmet. You need to get one that fits properly, so either visit a store before you go, or in the resort. Finally, a pair of goggles will keep the snow off your face, and you will also need a warm, breathable, pair of gloves.
What about lessons?
If you have never been skiing before, you will most certainly need some lessons to get you started. If you happen to live near a dry ski slope you can practice on that before your holiday, but most resorts can provide instructors. Once you have got the basics you can get out onto the beginners slopes. The slopes are named green, blue, and black in Canada and the US. Green is for beginners, blue is for intermediate, and black is only for expert skiers.
How do I get a lift pass?
You can buy a lift pass within our package deals, and it is always better to buy before you travel. For one thing, you won’t have to wait in a long queue on your first morning, so you’ll be able to get straight out into your lessons (you can book those beforehand too), and for another thing you may well find that you can obtain discounts by purchasing early.
Where do I stay?
You can either stay in a hotel or catered chalet, which is probably the best bet if you have never skied before. All your meals are prepared for you, and there are warm and comfortable lounges and bedrooms, so everything is taken care of. You could also take a self-catering chalet which will save you money, but means that you have to do everything yourself. So you might have to be cooking dinner while everyone else is out apres ski. We know which we prefer!
Yes – what is all this “apres ski” stuff?
It is the sole reason that some people go skiing! After a hard day out on the slopes, it’s party time. Depending on the resort, apres ski bars start at between 3.00pm and 4.00pm where you can drink and party away to your heart’s content with your fellow skiers for a couple of hours before making your way back to your accommodation for the rest of the evening.
Many skiers like to have dinner and then go to bed early in order to be up on the slopes as soon as possible the next morning, rather than be out late clubbing. So apres ski enables you to have a few drinks and let your hair down before dinner rather than after.
Are the slopes very steep?
As we said above, the green slopes are for beginners and are fairly short. Your chances of slipping off the side of the mountain are not very high! In any case, instructors and ski patrol are on hand to make certain that these nursery slopes are safe.
What is the best time of year for a ski holiday?
In the US and Canada the season starts in late November and goes on until late April. If this is your first ski holiday you would also do well to avoid peak times such as Christmas and any school holidays because many families can only take their children during holidays so the slopes get very busy. It can vary from one country to another. In Europe there is usually enough snow between December and April.
Is it very cold in the mountains?
Yes and no. Bear in mind that you are up a mountain and there is lots of snow! However, the climate is dry and cold which is very different from wet and cold. In addition you are using a lot of energy so your body will warm up. As long as you dress sensibly in the right sort of gear, you won’t feel the cold.
What about safety?
Skiing is a sporting activity, and with any sporting activity there is always a small element of risk. However, as long as you wear a helmet, take notice of all warnings, and follow the piste signs, you will have a fantastic time on the slopes.