Growing up I was quite lucky that I had lots of holidays however skiing was not one of them. My family never skied and my school wasn’t one to take kids on ski trips. I wasn’t so bothered, I always thought skiing wasn’t my thing and had no interest in trying it out. Until I met my boyfriend who loves to ski. I’m a pretty easy and outgoing person who loves to try anything new, especially when it comes to fitness so I thought why not? ‘Don’t knock it till you try it kinda thing’.
My first tip if you’re going on a ski holiday for the first time is to have a couple of lessons before you go. This isn’t essential but it will save you time when you get there as you’ll know the basics and won’t be stuck on the baby slope for a day or two.
I had lessons in the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. As a complete newbie I didn’t know what to expect, however I did learn quite quickly that skiing is all to do with confidence. If you panic and freak out you’ll fall over. Yes fitness does play a part but you don’t have to be crazy fit to be able to ski. You also don’t need loads of lessons before the holiday, as long as you can turn and stop yourself, then the rest you can practice on the real slopes!
As a first time skier its hard to know exactly what you will need to take. Unless you want to treat yourself and buy fancy clothes I would recommend keeping it simple and don’t worry about spending too much on your first trip, just incase you find that actually after one holiday skiing isn’t your thing. Some resorts do have equipment and clothes you can hire so maybe compare these prices to kit that you can buy at home such as jackets and trousers before to see what the best option is.
Essential kit to take: Thermals, good socks and decent gloves for the snow. All these can be found in high street shops. Rather than buying new ski trousers and a jacket I just used waterproof trousers and a jacket that I use when I go walking. As long as the trousers fitted over my boots and wore leggings or thermals underneath I found they were fine. It’s also a good idea to take some ski goggles or glasses, I found mine in Decathlon, which were affordable and comfortable.
Knowing what to wear can also take a bit of trial and error with keeping warm. You can actually get pretty toasty whilst skiing especially when the sun is out, however on a very chilly snowy day you can also get a little cold if you’re not wearing enough, especially sat on the long chair lifts. It’s best to find what works for you depending on the weather.
Listen to others
Yes skiing can be fun, however it can also be very dangerous. No matter how quickly you learn or how fast you progress, you’re not going to suddenly become an expert or know everything on your first trip so its important to listen and take advice from others, especially when it comes to safety such as using the chair lift correctly.
Take your time
It’s so easy to get frustrated on the slopes when you can’t seem to get things right or keep falling over. Practice makes perfect and like anything it will take time.
Don’t feel intimidated by others
As a PT I hear all the time of people feeling intimidated by others in the gym. Even though I understand this, I’ve never actually felt it myself… until I went skiing. There were a few people like myself and groups of children learning, but generally there were lots of people who looked like pros and knew exactly what they were doing! It was so difficult not to feel intimidated and look stupid in front of these experts whizzing past me! However I had to remember that a lot of these people were probably locals who have skied for years and for my first time I felt I was doing pretty good anyway.
Scared? Don’t look down the mountain
One comment an instructor said at the indoor slope on my last lesson was ‘If you’re scared, the worse thing to do is look down the mountain, instead, look across at the next point of turning’. On the first couple of days I had to remember this as looking down a steep slope was scary and sometimes felt impossible that I could ever ski down them. I did, slow at first but I did. You have to forget how steep it is and focus on the turns, even if you have to go at a snails pace with the widest snow plough! Soon enough you’ll pick up the confidence and skill to go faster and turning easier.
So if you’re thinking of doing something different and want to try skiing then just go for it! Stay warm, have fun and simply enjoy being in the mountains!