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Tips for First Time Skiers – Preparation at Home

If you're hitting the slopes for your first skiing holiday then check out our top tips for first time skiers.

A little background information and an expert heads-up will help you to enjoy a truly awesome ski holiday, rather than feeling, quite frankly, ‘piste’ off with it all and wishing for sun more than a slope!

Get Fit First
Skiing is tough on your body so try to get yourself a little bit fitter. Nothing too major, although if you wanted to hit the gym don’t let us put you off, but get those leg muscles ready. Simple things, like avoiding the lifts and escalators and taking the stairs.

Do some simple leg stretches each day:

  • One leg at a time, raise your body weight up onto the ball of your foot, and lower – do this 20 times on each leg, three times a day
  • Hop on each leg, again, 20 times on each, three times a day
  • Stand on the edge of the stairs and lower each leg, one at a time down, so only the ball of your foot is on the stair – 20 times on each, again, three times a day
  • Squats will help build up your thighs, which are worked hard when skiing. Do 20 squats, rest and repeat three times, do this three times a day.

Each of these exercises is quick and easy – you can do them whilst waiting for the kettle to boil – and you’ll be very grateful once in resort.

Booking Your Accommodation
As a skiing newbie the best advice is to book into a catered-chalet, ideally one that is booked with your flights and transfers all together, with the same company, so you’ll feel more ‘together’.

Book a catered-chalet and you’ll not only benefit from breakfast and hot dinners each day (and usually wine included too), you’ll also benefit from the experience of the chalet staff – avid skiers – and other guests. It’s a hugely friendly environment, and they’ll be able to tell you all about the best bars, ski hire, mountain restaurants for lunch etc., and even advice on nursery slopes.

Skiing, whilst exhilarating, can also be exhausting, so the last thing you want to do is to worry about self-catering. Hotels are a good option too, but the sheer family-friendly feel of a catered-chalet puts first time skiers at ease, instantly.

Practice Makes Perfect
Get yourself off to a dry-slope ski centre here in the UK and have a go before you travel. Even if you only learn the basics over a couple of lessons, you’ll find you are way more confident on the slopes. The differences between dry slopes verses real snow is that it’s harder on dry, but means you can master slowing down and stopping well, whilst things are faster on real snow.

When To Buy, Borrow and Hire Equipment
While the chances are that you will love, love, love skiing, just in case you don’t, try to borrow a ski outfit from a friend rather than buy one. Failing that, look into second hand suits online or even shops like TK Maxx that have high-quality ski wear at this time of year.

Do not buy or borrow skis – don’t buy, for the same reasons as before, and don't borrow either because skis are bought with height and weight borne in mind - if you are taller, shorter, heavier or lighter than your friend they’ll be no good.

Hire your skis, ideally arranging before you go. Once in resort, head to the ski hire shop and you’ll be fitted with boots and skis that are just right for you, what’s more, if they’re not, you can get re-fitted and swap them.

Pre-Book Ski School
If you can, ensure your place at a ski school by pre-booking a day or two before you travel. Some tour operators offer this add-on at the time of booking. Alternatively, if you are booking your ski trip as individual components, research independent schools.

Lessons are offered at various levels, from total beginners to refresher courses. They’re actually really good fun and also they are a nice way to meet new friends.

This is the first of a series of posts on ski holidays. Check out the second of the series: In resort tips for first time skiers.