Planning your first ski trip may be a bit overwhelming. There are several things you need to do, from comparing different ski holiday packages to choosing the right ski gear. Spending a few days in a winter wonderland should be equally fun and relaxing as long as you make sure you’ve got everything covered before your trip.
If you’re a bit anxious about your first ski holiday, here’s a quick guide to help you out.
1. Trail Grading & Difficulty
The first thing you need to look for when choosing a ski resort is the type of pistes (slopes) available. Normally colour grading is used to label the steepness of slopes. If you’re a beginner, choose a resort that has several green and blue slopes. Some resorts offer a mix of pistes, while others cater for beginners or more experienced skiers. Trail grading is relative – there is no official standard or measurement for assigning level difficulty so each resort assign their own ratings.
Some resorts have great facilities for beginners or those who are a bit unsure about their skills, including private and group lessons. Do some research – compare the prices and duration of the courses offered by different resorts and read the reviews about the resort and the pistes (specifically comments about the maintenance of the trails).
2. Ski Gear & Equipment
Make sure you have all essential ski gear for your trip – you will not be able to hire everything from the resort. Items that you will need to pack include goggles, gloves, ski jacket, ski socks and ski trousers. You can hire ski equipment, including poles, boots, helmet and skis, from the resort. Always check what ski gear and equipment is available for hire at the resort. You may also be able to buy some essential ski clothes and gear from there.
Don’t forget to pack thermal clothing and nice, comfy outfits for the evenings.
3. Time of Year
February is peak season for ski holidays, which means longer queues and busier resorts. If you want to save money and ski in a quieter environment, consider going on a ski trip in early December, March and early April.
There might be less snow at the resort before and after February, and the terrain might be a bit slushy, however if you are a beginner you might feel more comfortable skiing on quiet pistes. Navigating busy slopes can be a bit tiring and frustrating.
4. Location and Attractions
Not sure where to go for your ski holiday? The first things you need to ask yourself is whether you would like to pair your ski trip with other activities, such as sightseeing. Some resorts are located in very remote areas, far from historic towns or villages and other sites of interest. Also, ski lifts close early in some resorts, so you will have a few hours to kill every day.
While some people are happy to just sit by a fire or indulge in food after a day of skiing, you might want to consider whether spending each day at the resort is the right type of ski holiday for you.
Some resorts have a variety of cosy restaurants with live entertainment, as well as spas and shops. If this is your first ski trip, I highly recommend choosing a resort that is close to places of interest which you can explore if you get bored at the resort or want to do something different for a few hours.
Getting travel insurance is a must, especially when booking outdoor activities like skiing. Make sure you choose the right travel insurance package for your trip. Some basic packages do not cover ‘extreme sport activities’ like skiing, so you would need to pay an extra fee to cover any damages or injuries that may result from this activity. Some companies offer insurance for ski holidays, so make sure to shop around and compare different prices and coverage specifics.
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