Thinking of taking to the ski slopes this winter?

Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities and fun for all ages, my neighbour is in his late 70’s and still enjoys his annual trip to the Alps for a week’s skiing. So if you are thinking of taking up the sport for the first time you may find this article has a few useful tips. We are intending to review various ski resorts in future posts but hopefully you will get some valuable information from reading this to help you in choosing the best ski resort for yourself in the meantime.

Learning to SkiChoosing a Ski Resort

Probably the most important factor regardless of what level you’re at is choosing the right resort and the best time to go. For the beginner we would suggest for your first ski holiday you look at resorts closest to you, in terms of travelling distance, rather than a long haul destination. You may also want to consider a resort with plenty of other activities on hand just in case skiing, ends up not being your forte.

In my experience the slopes on the better resorts in Europe tend to face South or Westerly direction giving them more sun when it’s out that is. Northerly slopes that get very little sun are more prone to ice and along with Easterly slopes exposed to colder winds.

Altitude is another important factor with low lying resorts snow can often not be relied upon especially early and late in the season but the slopes are generally more suited to beginners.  As opposed to higher resorts where the snow can be more relied upon but the skiing is can be more limited for beginners, usually more challenging.

The skiing areas of a resort or piste are graded according to difficulty with Blue being best suited to beginners, Red for intermediates and Black for the experienced skiers. Ideally when you are starting out you what a resort with plenty of Blue runs and a selection of Red and maybe the odd Black for you to experience at you progress.

Tips:

  • Some resorts offer free nursery lifts which are a real cost saving!
  • Check the cost of Ski School fees and Lift Passes as they do vary!
  • Look for a resort with the skiing on your doorstep, ideally straight from/to your hotel

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Best time to go skiing

We have covered choosing a resort but when is the best time to go? The ski season in the Northern hemisphere starts from the end of December and usually carries on until late March or early April depending on the snow conditions each year. The peak time is typically late January to the end of February, early March.

My personal favourite time to go skiing is in March especially if the year has seen some good snow fall, as the weather particularly in the Alps and the Dolomites tends to be starting too warm up and you can usually get some nice sunny days.

If you’re on a tight budget you may be tempted by the cheaper prices offered at the start and end of a season but you should always take into account the snow conditions when you book and or the likelihood of there being any good snow in the resort when you arrive. This can be a problem especially towards the end of the season in low lying resorts or South facing slopes as the snow begins to melt or early before the snow has arrived.

Tip: Try to avoid the school half term holiday in February as many European countries have the same week and the slopes are very busy!

Essential clothing and equipment

The right clothing is essential for your safety and enjoyment of any winter sport and you will need to purchase or borrow at least the following:

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  • Ski Jacket
  • Salopettes (waterproof trousers)
  • Ski/thermal socks several pairs of various thicknesses
  • Suitable hat and Ski helmet (compulsory in some resorts for younger skiers)
  • Waterproof/ thermal gloves.
  • Thermal underclothes and or plenty of layers of clothing to wear under your jacket and trousers
  • Suitable waterproof shoes or boots for walking and in the evenings etc
  • Goggles and Sunglasses
  • Sun cream and lip protector (yes you can get burnt!)

It’s not really necessary to buy your own skies and boots especially when you are first starting out as these can all be hired in the resort.

Note: Ski Insurance with sufficient cover in the event of an accident is also essential

We hope this guide has given you some useful information on choosing the best resort and the best time to go skiing in Europe or the Northern hemisphere, for our readers in the South please adjust the seasons etc. accordingly.

For more information on skiing holidays and the latest special offers please contact World of Transport Travel who will be happy to assist in planning a ski trip with you. Additionally if you are considering getting a group of friends or family together we can help you find the best deals and discounts available.

Wottravel QuoteLinks: Ski Mayrhofen

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