Top tips in our essential guide for beginner skiers and snowboarders
Ski tips for beginners: the ultimate guide
What are the top tips for first time skiers?
Are you a beginner skier? Perhaps you’ve been persuaded to join your skiing friends or family, or maybe you’ve just always fancied having a go… We know that you’ll be full of questions, such as:
What do I wear on the slopes?
Will it hurt?
Do I need lessons?
Firstly – congratulations on making the first step! An enthusiastic attitude is the main hurdle when you learn skiing as an adult: most likely you’ll be well out of your comfort zone, be achey in places you didn’t know had muscles and will have an A-List style strop with your equipment, so an ability to think positive and laugh at yourself is the first step to success!
So why did you say ‘yes’ to a skiing holiday? It’s because NO OTHER HOLIDAY is as fun, as exhilarating, has such incredible scenery and gives you so much exercise that you can eat as much cake as you want without feeling guilty.
OK it sounds quite good (especially the bit about cake, right?), but what exactly is it like, going on a ski holiday? And what do you need to be aware of and prepared for?
Scroll down to find out the answers to your questions…
Skiing: what you need to know…
1) Preparation: how to get fit for skiing
2) What to wear for skiing or snowboarding
3) What to expect on a ski holiday
4) Ask an instructor: top tips for beginners
5) How to survive your first ski holiday!
1. How to get fit for a ski holiday
Firstly, let’s take a step back and talk about being prepared before you even arrive in the mountains…
Chris Maher of Ski Physio says:
“Being prepared means practising the activity you are about to do. This will help your brain’s reaction time and means that your muscles will cope better with the physical stress they are about to incur. This doesn’t mean some squats a few days prior to your holiday! Here’s how to prepare by topping up your normal daily physical activity:
- Start at least 6 weeks before your trip
- Add cardio-vascular work (cycling, cross-training) for endurance and leg strength
- Adding step-ups, lunges and squats will build muscles and improve fitness
- Pilates can be an excellent way to build core strength and flexibility
Skiing is an active exercise and as such the muscles involved will need to be ready so to avoid those sore legs and maybe even reduce your risk of injury. Time to get active!”
- Learning to ski will be much easier
- You’ll reduce the risk of injury
- It will hurt less!
2. What to pack and what to wear for skiing
Your flights, transfers, accommodation are all booked, you’ve been watching ski videos at every spare moment, but you don’t have a clue what to pack! All the lingo, all the weird layers… If you’ve never been on a winter mountain holiday before, it’s really hard to know what to put in your suitcase… You’ll definitely need clothes for when you’re not on the slopes, but what do you wear to ski or snowboard?
Q) What kind of ski jacket do I need?
A) You have two choices: a ‘shell’ (a thin, waterproof jacket which you’d wear over a warm midlayer) or a padded ski jacket (waterproof and with insulation)
Q) What is a ‘midlayer’?
A) Something you wear under your jacket and over your thermals! Usually a fleece or a light, technical fabric jacket or thin down jacket
Q) What shoes should I take?
A) Shoes or boots that are waterproof and grippy enough to cope with ice or slush. You could wear trainers or heels, but you’ll probably slip over or get very cold feet!
Q) What do you wear for apres-ski?
A) Your ski gear! Dancing in ski boots is the best way to do apres-ski. (You could go home and change, but that’s cheating!)
Click the button below to see our full ‘what to pack for a ski trip’ checklist with full explanations of all the ski gear you’ll need for your first time skiing.
Skiing: what to wear
- Ski jacket and pair of ‘salopettes’ or ski pants
- Neck warmer and ski gloves/mitts
- Thermals and a fleece or midlayer
- Fitted ski socks
- UV protection sports sunglasses or ski goggles
- Rucksack with high SPF suncream, lip balm, refillable water bottle
3. What to expect on a ski holiday in a catered chalet
A catered ski holiday is the most stress-free way to enjoy your first time skiing – with no shopping, cooking or cleaning, it means you’ll have time to relax after learning to ski or board!
Our catered chalet service includes:
- Afternoon tea
- Evening meal
- Wine with your dinner
We can also add low-cost:
- Transfers from a local airport
- Equipment hire including helmet
- Lift passes
“Drink plenty of water! It’s easy to get dehydrated when exercising and at high altitude, so top up regularly.”
4. Top tips for beginner skiers and snowboarders
Remember we said at the beginning that a positive attitude is the most important thing you need as a beginner skier/snowboarder? This is something that we discovered on chatting to the instructors at Sweet Snowsports. We asked Mark to answer some common beginner’s questions…
- Which is easier, skiing or snowboarding?
- Will I be any good?
- Will it hurt?
- Do I really need lessons?
We also discovered that pacing yourself (on and off the slopes) and not letting your friends take you to places you don’t feel happy is vital to growing your confidence on skis.
“Always pre-book your ski lessons, don’t let your mates convince you to ski a red run on your first weeks skiing and – most importantly – don’t forget to smile!”
– Mark Birch, instructor at Sweet Snowsports
5. How to survive your first ski holiday!
If you’re mentally prepared, have kept up some exercise prior to arriving, have packed everything you need and have booked lessons with a ski or snowboard instructor, then you’re already well on the way to having a great first experience on the snow.
We have some tips on 5 things to avoid on your first skiing holiday if you click the link below – it includes staying hydrated, getting a lesson, wearing a helmet and avoiding putting yourself in danger as well as the boring (but essential) topic of insurance!
With the sensible stuff all ticked off, here’s to a week of:
- Falling over more times than you can remember
- Laughing til you cry
- ‘Whizzing’ down a green run at 5 mph
- Getting hotter than you ever thought possible in minus temperatures
- Linking your first two turns
- Getting on – and off – a chairlift
- Eating fondue and sipping genepi
- Dancing in ski boots
- Filling your instagram feed with endless white peaks
- And… learning to ski!
Still got a question?
“Don’t hesitate to pop me a quick email or pick up the phone if you’re feeling nervous – we have been looking after first time skiers and snowboarders for many, many years and because we’re a small company, your holiday is really important to us. We’re here to help, so please ask away if you have any more questions!”
– Clare, Director of Ski Magic
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