Thousands of skiers and snowboarders flock to the mountains each year for their dose of mountain air and alpine antics. Ski holidays are still one of the most niche forms of travel, and it can be a confusing world to step into for first-time skiers. We’ve done our best to create a series of ski guides covering all the different sides to a ski holiday.
Before jetting off to the mountains, here are a few things to consider first. Don’t spend a fortune on new ski clothes! Hire your ski or snowboard equipment in resort and borrow as many ski clothes as possible from friends and family. Where you can’t borrow, find out where to buy cheap ski clothes. Ensure you have adequate travel insurance covering winter sports, medical, lost lift passes, broken rental equipment, and snow closures. Stay safe on the mountain by wearing a helmet and following safety advice.
To make your first ski holiday memorable for the right reasons, talk to one of our friendly ski holiday experts before booking anything. Ski holidays are complicated to organise, especially for large groups. Ski resorts and ski accommodations hugely vary, and you don't want to end up in a ski hotel 2 km away from the slopes or stuck in a ski area suited to experts. Discuss your group's makeup, requirements, preferences, and budget then our ski experts will find you the best package suited to your needs.
Once your holiday is booked – the countdown and excitement begin! Packing for a ski holiday is an adventure in itself, so we've put together a handy ski holiday packing checklist to help you cover everything. Families will benefit from our family ski trip packing checklist.
First-timers should always get ski lessons or snowboard lessons. This is the safest and quickest way to progress. Please don't get a friend or partner to teach you as they'll soon get bored of going slow and realise that this was a terrible idea. Both of you should make the most of your time in the mountains and with lessons you will be at a decent level after a few days to join the rest of your group.
A full week of skiing or snowboarding is hard work for anyone, so training before a ski trip will help take the strain off the first few days and maximise your enjoyment of your ski holiday. We've covered some great basic ski and snowboard workout plans in our ski fitness guide.
Travellers with a special diet requirement may find it challenging to find suitable food when on a ski holiday. Ski companies, hotels and resort restaurants are becoming more flexible and offering food choices that reflect the modern traveller. Make sure you discuss any dietary requirements with your travel agent when booking the holiday. There are various options and packages available to suit vegetarian and vegan diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, halal and selected allergies. We want to ensure that your holiday is the best choice for you by catering for any special diets.
Ski holidays don't have the healthiest of reputations. You are spending the week in the outdoors with fresh mountain air and exercising much more than you would at home, but alpine food is very carb and fats heavy, and ski trips are notoriously boozy.
Skier's habits are changing, and ski operators are starting to offer well-balanced options for the health-conscious traveller. It's easy to make healthier eating choices on a ski holiday. At breakfast, opt for porridge or eggs on whole-wheat toast instead of a fry up. Avoid afternoon cake and canapes before dinner. Don't be afraid to eat carbs, especially at lunch, to fuel you for skiing. Choose a sandwich, soup and bread, a hearty salad or share a plate of your favourite ski food with someone (portions usually are very generous).
Club Med ski holidays offer a wide choice of food options every mealtime, including healthier, veggie and gluten-free options. With a wide variety of fitness classes (yoga, stretching and Pilates), gym facilities and swimming pools, it is easy to stay active at Club Med when you are off the slopes.
With world-class headliners, igloo raves, fancy dress skiing, snowball fight competitions and bottomless brunches, it's not hard to see why ski festivals are the current hot ticket and a popular choice for first-time visitors. The best thing – no muddy fields or soggy tents to be seen! Ski festivals are the perfect mix of skiing at partying, offering some of the best ski slopes in Europe, the greatest après hot spots and the world's top DJs and artists. Ski festivals you must try are Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Snowboxx in Avoriaz and Tomorrowland in Alpe d'Huez.