Newcomers to skiing often find their first trip out on the slopes a little daunting, so it makes sense to try to have a few lessons before tackling the real thing. Most ski resorts provide instructors who will make recommendations about gear as well as equipment, to ensure skiers stay safe and avoid injury, while having a great time. Here are a few of the basics to be aware of.
Rent the equipmen
As a beginner, there is absolutely no need to purchase lots of new, expensive equipment as it can be hired at the resort, and the experts there will ensure everything fits well and is in top condition. Usually it’s possible to get discounted rentals when you have had lessons or purchased a ski pass. Although there are unisex skis and snowboards, many women prefer the lighter variety as these help them adopt the correct body positioning for safer skiing.
Rent the clothing
Ski helmets, boots and clothing can also be rented. Helmets are essential to protect your head in the event of an accident and a parka and ski pants will keep out the cold and the wet. In some resorts it is mandatory for children to wear a ski helmet, and it is best to use the resort’s rental helmets, as ski helmets are not the same as, for example, cycle helmets. Wrist guards are a good idea for those who may also want to try snowboarding. It’s a good idea to bring ski socks and thermals as a base layer for underneath other clothing, as their wicking quality will repel moisture, keeping it away from the body. Bringing a couple of thin fleeces for wearing underneath a parka is also useful.
Neckwarmers or scarves will keep out the cold and silk or fleece is a better choice than wool, which can sometimes be slightly abrasive and scratchy. Remember to tuck scarves well in so they don’t flap about or get into the eyes when travelling downhill.
Be sure to research the best slopes for beginners and always start on the nursery slopes to perfect techniques, especially turns, before proceeding to the bigger, faster ones. Make sure goggles are of good quality as they are needed to protect eyes from ultraviolet rays and the glare created when the sun shines on the snow. Wraparound goggles are particularly effective.
Beware the sun
With all the right gear on it’s very easy to forget that the face is still going to be exposed to the elements and even on a cloudy day it’s possible to get sunburned unless the skin is protected. This is due to being at high altitude. The sun is reflected off the snow so a good quality sun cream should always be applied – preferably one that will last all day. Lip balm should also have a high sun protection factor (SPF) and many are available in a convenient size combo tube that will fit into the pocket of a ski jacket.
Finally, because accidents do happen, make sure your travel insurance cover includes winter sports and then you can thoroughly enjoy the ski experience.