There are a lot of things to consider when planning your first skiing holiday, which will include everything from your travel plans to how you will actually spend your time on the slopes. Here’s our guide for preparing for your first ski trip so you can be sure you will enjoy it.
Before You Leave
Going to the mountains is a wild adventure. You need to be well-equipped and protected against the sun, which will include UV protection on your sunglasses or goggles, lip balm and sun cream, and warm clothes and layering to protect you against the cold. You will also need to protect yourself against falls – a helmet is essential and back protection can provide additional protection for falls at speed. The tightening of your bindings has to be adapted to your level, age, weight, height and ability, so as a first-timer be sure to ask for help and advice from our teams in store who will be happy to help.
In terms of equipment, you will have the option to buy or hire. Hiring can be a good option for somebody experiencing skiing for the first time, but buying your equipment will be cheaper in the long run if skiing is to become a regular activity. Whichever option you take, ensure your ask for advice from experts as to what equipment is suitable for your level. The wrong boots or skis can really make progress hard and impair your enjoyment, so to get the most from your trip it is important to choose the right equipment for you. In particular I recommend buying ski boots. The right fit will not only benefit your performance but will also reduce blisters and unnecessary pains – it is a holiday at the end of the day! The cost of an entry-level pair of ski boots can be ‘paid off’ by avoiding the cost of renting for two weeks, so are a very worthwhile investment.
Preparing to go out on the slopes
Skiing is a long-duration sport, which might involve 5 or 6 hours on the slopes. You will work all the muscles in your body whilst skiing, so regular physical activity during the year will help you to cope with these demands, in particular cardiovascular activities such as cycling, running and swimming. As with every sport, it is important to warm up and warm down and to drink regularly throughout the day.
On the slopes
The best position for a skier is to have your knees bent, arms and upper body forward, with your skis and arms a hips’ width apart. The position will provide you with stability and reactivity. It is vital to be in control of your direction and speed, for your safety and the safety of everyone around you. The way to achieve this is to turn regularly enough – how often and how wide your turns need to be will be dictated by the gradient of the slope. If the slope is steep, you should look to make a lot of short turns, whilst is the slope is flatter, fewer but longer turns will allow you to keep in control of your speed and direction. Reduce your speed when approaching intersections and mechanical lifts and when stopping, make sure that you always do so on the sides of the slope and that other skiers can see you. All of this advice is given in order to reduce the risk of collisions, therefore allowing you to enjoy your beautiful holiday.
Attempting to teach yourself is a brave option, but the experience of a ski instructor can be very helpful. Not only will they be able to teach you about skiing technique, they will know the local mountains and the resort like the back of their hand, so they can provide you with some great tips which will help you to enjoy the entire holiday to the fullest. Instructors always have fun and interesting ways to help you progress quickly with exercises and funny games adapted to your level. Group lessons for your children is a good choice because of mimesis – your child will be learning from the instructor and from the other children as well. Private lessons or small groups for adults are ideal to allow for more attention and advice on technical corrections that can be made.
Ensure you stay on the slopes which are suitable for your ability and current fitness levels. Blue and green runs are designed for beginner and intermediate skiers, whilst red and black runs are suitable for advance and expert skiers. The weather and snowfall will also influence the type of slope to choose. When visibility is poor, going through the trees can actually improve the visibility. When the weather is warm, keep skiing in the high slopes in order to find more snow.
Finally, take the time to enjoy the landscapes whilst you are on your trip. The mountains are beautiful, and be sure to test the local specialties too in terms of the food, though be sure not to overdo it with the local drinks! There is lots to discover!
Now you are ready to ride, enjoy your holidays and see you soon in your Decathlon store!
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