6 things they don’t tell you about a ski holiday
Ski holidays are great fun. They are a brilliant way to do something different as a family – you can all learn a new skill together that keeps you fit and takes you to some extraordinarily beautiful places. But if you have never been before there can be a lot to remember. So here are some top tips for the key things you might not have been told about going on a ski holiday.
1. It isn’t as dangerous as you think
For every million Brits who go skiing every year, as many as 17,000 will come home on crutches. That is actually a very small percentage – just under 2% – of those who go away.
When you’re learning, you will need to get used to falling. Most of the time, though, you will land on your backside and (with all the layers of clothing you will have on) you won’t really feel it. The best way to view it is that falling is a sign you are learning and making progress. So embrace it!
2. It might not be as cold as you think
We have already mentioned all the layers you tend to put on when you go skiing, but what we haven’t mentioned is that you may not need them all the time.
Depending on the time of year and your destination, you could be facing a variety of different climates. Check the forecast and climate trends before you go and that should help you make a decision on what to pack.
Skiing is great exercise, so you will sweat as you would when you do any other form of exercise. Keep that in mind.
3. How the piste system works
All prepared pistes in a ski resort are colour coded to help you understand the difficulty of them and how steep the terrain is. The European system is easy to remember; with green runs designed for beginners, blue runs the next hardest, red runs for more advanced skiers and black runs for experts.
In North America, it is slightly different. Again, the beginner runs are green. Blue is for intermediate level skiers. Black diamond runs are challenging, steep runs and Double Black Diamond runs are extremely tough and steep and should only be attempted by expert skiers.
4. Watch out for ice
Skiing in deep, fluffy powder is a joy. You can turn your skis easily and carve your way down the mountain. But you will only get those kinds of conditions if you have had new snowfall overnight.
When fresh snow hasn’t fallen for a while and the temperatures have dropped you will get patches of ice forming at the busier parts of the resort. Often you will find them around the on and off ramps of ski lifts or at the bottom of major runs.
Just as in your car, stopping or turning on ice is not to be recommended. So do your best to avoid the ice!
5. Deep snow is tricky, too
Like ice, deep snow can be difficult for new skiers. It’s not easy to relax and go with the flow when skiing through fresh, deep powder. While this might sound surprising you’ll discover that soft but harder packed snow is the easiest to ski while ice and deep powder take more practice.
6. Ski lifts can be hard work
It can take a day or two to get used to ski lifts. As simple as they look, beginners often struggle for a day or two to feel entirely comfortable. Most resorts will have button or pull lifts, which go between your legs like a seat and pull you up the mountain. Or chair lifts, which you stand in front of before being swept off your feet. It is worth reading a short guide on ski lifts before you set off.