What to expect on your first skiing or snowboarding holiday

So it’s that time of year when everyone in your group is back to talking about the ski season and this time you are REALLY joining in. You know where you are going in the world, you’ve worked out the travel arrangements and lift pass stuff. You’re about to book some lessons at your local snow-dome and you’ve read up on what gear you are likely to need to buy or hire and you’ve asked Santa for some help in that department.

Next stop – ‘What can I really expect when I get there and should I go for skiing or snowboarding…..?’

OK, lets answer the latter first. Think about your other hobbies or sports you’ve done before or currently love. If you surf or skateboard then a natural option on the slopes would be to head for snowboarding. If you love roller blading or ice-skating then skiing is probably the best for you.

However, its worth considering how long you are going on holiday for within this decision too. If you are just heading over for a long weekend, with or without a few lessons before hand, then it may be worth sticking to skiing – there’s a huge amount of bum bruising to be had learning the art of snowboarding, so unless you’re happy being the group clown and can really cope tantrum wise with the prospect of spending most of that weekend time on you backside then don’t do it! Skiing, in general is a bit easier (on the bum) so you might well have better memories this way and enjoy the Apres Ski more so as a consequence – no cushion strapped to your backside in the bar….

So, that’s the first decision made.

Next – what you can expect?

    • Its a huge amount of fun!
    • Its a great way to get fit/stay fitter – its big time calorie burning stuff!
    • Make sure you’ve got an instructor that you can understand…. really.
    • Learn to fall over & get back up properly – you’ll be doing it alot, so pay attention here!
    • You might need some patience.
    • Lifts – all sorts will get you to the top, but don’t panic about them, go with the flow.
    • Check out that view when you get there – clean, crisp air too!
    • There’s cafe’s up on the slopes… stopping for a hot choc/hot wine is part of the day.
    • Don’t hit the bigger runs until YOU are ready, you’ll make friends whichever slope you are on and there’s always someone worse than you…!
    • You’ll question your sanity – check the view again and remind yourself its a sport for determination at first.
    • You will ache – everywhere… shoulders, legs, back… take muscle rubs/soaks/arnica gels.
    • The Apres Ski is often just as good as the main feature. Take warm clothing and be prepared.

Extra tips:

Its a great idea if you’ve really committed to the sport and bought boots etc before you go to wear them round the house & garden a lot. Get your legs used to them and the muscles working accordingly, it could give you a head start for when you reach the lodge.

When you do get out pay attention to your legs – when they reach that stage of feeling wobbly its time to pack up for the day. Fatigue in your legs can result in sloppy skills and you could be facing knee issues as a result.

Watch out for key seasonal weeks/weekends. Christmas/New Year/Half Term and, if the calendar works, Easter can be really really busy. Its a bit like Oxford Street on Boxing Day at times so if you are new to the sport and can’t cope with people buzzing past you all the time, then maybe steer clear…

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Get out on the slopes, go your own pace, don’t get pushed into runs you aren’t totally confident of.

Smile, lots – you are in some of the best places Mother Nature created and at times it will feel like you are on top of the world!