How to prepare for your first ski holiday from SNO ®
Skiing’s seriously rewarding, super fun and will likely become the best holiday of your year – and a successful first ski holiday leaves you happy, proud and hungry for more. If you're keen to learn to ski, have a look through our beginner's skiing guides for useful info on what to expect and how to get off to the best possible start. It's all downhill from there… 😉
Your first ski day might seem daunting, as others sweep down pistes with seemingly unachievable ease. But every skier was a beginner once, when skiing to the bottom of that nursery run was the greatest challenge and biggest achievement. They'll also admit that, despite the initial fear of the unknown, skiing is easy with the help of a good ski school in a great beginner resort.
Beginner skis for men, women & children: One of the classic mistakes when buying or (we’d recommend) renting your first set of skis is to imagine that more advanced/expensive ones will make you a better skier… The truth is usually quite the opposite for learners and early intermediates. When choosing between beginner skis vs. intermediate skis, go for whichever best describe your ability. Beginner skis may not carve with the pinpoint accuracy that an advanced skier would like, but they’re much more forgiving for your first turns. Choosing advanced skis on your first ski trip will make learning harder and less fun, so go with the right equipment for your current level, rather than the level that you aspire to.
Beginner ski clothing: You don't necessarily need the latest Moncler and high-tech base layers to enjoy yourself on the mountains. There aren’t many companies in Europe that rent out ski clothing, so borrowing from friends and family is your best bet to save money. If you know people who ski and they're not away when you are, ask if they’ll lend you some ski clothing – most probably it’s something they have sitting doing nothing for 50 weeks of the year. Use your own sports clothes if you have them, rather than forking out for new mid and base layers. Pay particular attention to the top waterproof layer on your torso and legs. While the old ski onesie might be having a comeback, it's probably not your best bet for keeping dry and warm on the snow. If you’re buying a new jacket and salopettes or snowboard pants, it’s possible to buy second hand or in discount stores.
Beginner ski boots: Even if someone’s a similar size to you, don't borrow their skis or boots! Most resorts have a number of ski rental stores where a specialist will match you with skis and boots carefully selected to suit you, taking into account your weight, height, shoe size and ability. If you're not sure of your height or weight, it's a good idea to jot these down before your holiday to make things easier in the shop but don't panic if it's too late – they can measure you there.
Boots are possibly the most important thing to get right – if they're too big, your feet will slide and you won't have control while boots that are too small can be seriously uncomfortable too. You want to be able to wiggle your toes but have your heel held firmly in the back of the boot. Boots should be done up tightly (but not so much that you restrict blood flow!). If your boots aren't comfortable, don't hesitate to talk to the shop staff and keep trying ones on until you're happy. Salopettes or ski trousers go outside the boot rather than being tucked in (keeping you warmer and dryer) and some even have a clip that can hold them onto the boot.
Don't worry when walking in your ski boots seems weird, you'll notice that everyone walks a bit strangely around the ski resort! Some boots have a ‘walk mode' which can make wandering around the resort a bit more comfortable (just don't forget to put them back into ‘ski mode’ after).
Skiing’s a fantastic form of exercise that tones your stomach and leg muscles and burns calories while you enjoy a fun, exciting activity in a spectacular setting.
If you like to be well prepared, regular exercise for a month or two before you set off helps get your body ready for the slopes.
Whether you immerse yourself in hard-core gym sessions or simply switch your daily routine to taking the stairs instead of the lift, cardio and muscular training can make things easier on your body after a day of skiing.
Like any exercise, it's also worth warming up every day before you ski with leg and arm stretches. Swinging your legs back and forth, lunges and arm rotations are a good place to start.
Do book ski lessons.
Do speak to your instructor about anything you don't understand.
Do make friends with the people in your group and arrange to practice with them.
Do get to know your piste colours.
Do savour the amazing feeling you'll get when you ski down your first slope!
Don't be intimidated by the confident skiers who zip down the slope with ease – they were beginners once too.
Don't give up at the first hurdle, pick yourself up and try again.
Don't let your friends teach you to ski or teach yourself.
Don't look at your feet – look ahead!