Your First Skiing Holiday

Your First Skiing Holiday

 

Your First Skiing Holiday

Beginners Skiing Classes

Skiing holidays may be far from your mind at the moment as summer is well and truly underway – we hope you have a great holiday.  We’ve published this now to give you food for thought and so you’re prepared before the peak autumn booking period.   

If you’ve been thinking about a skiing holiday but have been daunted by the prospect of organising one we’ve put together a guide to your first skiing holiday to keep you on the right track.  In no particular order you should consider the following:

 

Dates – if you haven’t been before you don’t know what it’s like and the first thing to look at is dates.  New Year and February are peak periods for European skiing holidays so if you can avoid these you’ll find yourself in less congested airports/hotels/lift queues/ski classes.  If you do need to go at these times remember that not all European holidays are the same so if you’re in the UK and trying to avoid school holidays you may find yourself surrounded by European neighbours on their school/national holidays. TIP – pre-Christmas, after 6th January to the end of the month and March are usually good times for first skiing holidays.  In March the weather is also usually warmer and you’ll probably benefit from fresh snow falls at this time.

Resort – this is very important if you’re new to the sport.  Higher resorts can have steeper slopes so beginner’s areas may be in the valley.  I learnt in the Zillertal and was fine for three days on the valley’s baby slopes but moving up to the top of the mountain seemed to render my legs useless.  Go for a resort, if you can, where baby slopes are at the top – this usually means the other slopes are gentler for when you progress.  Also choose a resort where you can get easy access to the slopes with free parking or a free ski bus.  It’s no fun travelling for half an hour each way per day!

Ski Clothes – you don’t have to buy the most expensive gear in the shops/on the web but  jackets and trousers for skiing should be waterproof and windproof. 

You’ll also need waterproof gloves and we recommend a fair amount of insulation – just because ski gloves look bulky doesn’t mean they’re warmer than their thinner counterparts.    

You will be moving and active but remember the air temperature can be pretty cold on the mountain so layers are important.  Thermal underwear with a long-sleeved T-shirt and a fleece in between are usually enough under your jacket/trousers.  You can always take things off if you get too hot but you can’t put things on if you don’t have them with you.

Get some proper ski socks – they’re designed to fit inside the boot and to help your feet breathe.  Your football/rugby socks are not designed for ski boots and may cause you problems after a day or two if they start rubbing.

Skiing goggles and sunglasses are essential – the reflection from the snow can be quite strong at times so make sure your eyes are properly protected.  Goggles will also protect you from wind/snow in a way sunglasses can’t.  Even on a dull day you can easily underestimate the power of the UVAs and UVBs. 

Don’t forget the sun and lip cream either!  You’ll know best which brand suits you – just go for a higher protection factor to counteract snow reflection.

Ski helmets have been a big trend over the last few years and we can’t recommend them enough.  You can either buy one or rent along with your skis/poles/boots in resort the first time.  Take a warm hat for other times – fleece or wool is best.   

Boots/Skis & Poles.  At ski hire don’t be afraid to tell the staff it’s your first time – that way they can give you the skis that best suit you.  Also make sure you tell them your correct height and weight as this is important for the binding setting (the bit that keeps you in your skis).  Take your ski socks with you when trying boots and don’t be afraid to take the time to get the pair that best suit you.  Skis boots are very different from anything else you’ve worn so they won’t necessarily feel right first time so make sure you can change them free of charge if necessary. We recommend hire over purchase for your first time – you can always get your own gear when you discover how much you like skiing.

 SkiSchool– we consider this a must for first timers.  You may have tried a dry slope but real snow is different and the local knowledge of your ski instructor should keep you out of trouble if you follow their advice.  The other advantage of an instructor is they can point out if you’re going wrong, correct and develop your technique with exercises and guide you through the area safely. Your instructor should tell you the safety rules but if you want to crib up early check out FIS Skiing Rules.  If you don’t want to join a class but do want to progress quickly you might also like to consider private lessons.  We estimate 2-3 days of private lessons (either with you travelling companions or on your own) is worth at least a week of ski school.  TIP:  Don’t rely on your friends who can ski – get proper instruction at the start to keep you safe.

 LiftPass– These allow you access to the lifts in your ski area and something else to budget for.  Have a chat with your tour operator about what’s available to book for your chosen resort.  We recommend you leave your ski pass in your jacket all week – there should be a zipped pocket where you can keep it safely.  Lift passes are usually key card based and read automatically as you go through the turnstile so you don’t have to keep taking it out of your pocket.

 Accommodation – this depends entirely on what you’re looking for and what your budget is. Aim for accommodation where you can easily store your skis and boots at no extra charge and also where you’ll be comfortable.

Apres Ski Remember, it’s not just about thew warming Gluhwein/Tea with Rum/Hot Chocolate once you get down from the slopes for the day.  It’s good fun to try evening entertainments such as toboganning, inner tubing, horse drawn sleigh rides and saunas.  Ask your holiday company about what else you can do to fully experience the mountains on your first skiing holiday. 

 Skiing is a great sport and well worth the time and trouble at the beginning to get a good grounding in the basics.  As your confidence increases we’re sure you’ll soon be enjoying the slopes like so many people do each winter and we look forward to seeing you ‘at the top’ very soon.  For queries and advice on any aspect of a first skiing holiday please contact guests@activityholidaysaustria.com and we’ll be pleased to help.  Speak soon!

 

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