So it’s getting to that part of the year again when you think about a winter ski holiday. Which slopes will you fly down this year?You’ve started to do your research and the little gem of excitement has lit up inside you, dragging you towards the slopes like an excited Cocker Spaniel pulling on its owners lead.
But what kind of things do you need to do to prepare your mind, body, spirit… and bank account for a magical winter wonderland? Don’t stress! Take a read through this and get yourself piste ready; whether you are planning your first, or tenth adventure.
1) Location of your Winter Adventure
You know you want to go. The question is however… where do you go? There are an endless number of amazing resorts to ski in Europe and the World these days, so it can be a bit of a mind boggling experience to find the right place for you.
Do your research and get inspired. Are you a beginner on the slopes or a seasoned veteran?Do you want a chilled out vibe, or a full on party atmosphere?
If you’re a keen adventurer and like flying down mountains at break neck speed on ski or board all day every day, the three valleys in France could be for you. It is one of the largest piste areas in the World.With just one pass and over 500km of runs you can explore until your legs just can’t go any further and cry out for a post piste massage. Here’s a list of some of the highest rated resorts to look at:
– Val Thorens: At 2,300 metres it is the highest resort in Europe and has won multiple “best resort” awards recently. Great slopes for all abilities and ski to door accomodation.
– La Plagne: Family friendly and a huge ski area. Do something different and enjoy some fantastic bobsleigh runs here. Home to around 400km of runs to keep everyone happy during your visit.
– Alpe D’Huez: A stunning resort that enjoys usually stunning weather throughout the season. It is also home to one of the longest runs in Europe, the Sarennes, which measures up around 16 kilometres!
2) Winter Holiday Budget
So how much does a ski holiday cost? You could be surprised. First of all, it is important to think about the kind of break you want to take, and the amount of money you have to spend on your trip.For example if you are keen on a champagne jacuzzi lifestyle for a couple of weeks you probably need to invest a bit more into your stay than taking a self catering, cheap but extreme thrills week.
Another thing to mention; don’t forget the extras! Taking a trip at this time of year you have to account for additional things like equipment hire/logistics, airport transfers and lift passes to name some.
3) Equipment List
The thing about jetting off in Winter? It is cold and there’s tons of amazing snow to play in. You need to pack your suitcase accordingly. If you are a slopes virgin, take this packing list as a rough guide of items you shall need when you depart to the mountains.Clothing
– Ski Gloves (Waterproof)
– Everyday Gloves
– Waterproof jacket for the slopes
– Thermals/Base Layers
– Scarf/Neck Warmer
– Things to wear going out/at night i.e casual shirts, polos, jeans, dresses, skirts or tops etc.
– Snow boots or walking shoes
Equipment (Most can be rented – Check what you can and can’t hire at resort)
– Snowboard/Skiing Boots
– Poles if needed
– Water bottle
– Flight details/boarding pass
– EHIC Card if travelling in Europe
– Insurace with Winter Sports Cover
– Equipment Hire booking/details
– Accomodation details
– Credit/debit card for spare money
– Mobile Phone
– Swimming gear
– Travel adapter
– Magazines or books to read
– Sun cream or stick
Of course if you are looking to document your journey there’s fantastic DSLRs and action cameras available that help you capture memories with great shots and footage of the mountains, people and places you come across. But bear in mind where you are going to store them if you are flying down a slope!
|Get ready for scenes like this.
4) Refresher or Beginner Ski and Snowboard Lessons
Something I have done every season since my very first skiing experience is to refresh the memory before taking a trip. Getting yourself onto an indoor slope, of which there are many in the UK, is a good idea to shake off the rust and build your confidence.
Even if you are quite a seasoned skier or boarder this is well recommended. Breaking your muscles back into shape with a session or two in advance of your vacation prepares them for the kilometres of amazing piste you will traverse. In addition it strengthens them again and reduces risk of injury, aches and pains.
For the newbies an indoor or dry slope is a fantastic way to learn and build confidence. You always end up horizontal a few times at first. Taking lessons ensures that you can enjoy spending more time upright when you arrive at your destination and hit the runs.If you can, book at these places in advance. There are plenty of offers available during the summer months for advance bookings later on in the year. If you fancy going then it always seems quieter then too!
5) Ski & Snowboard Preparation Exercises
So you think you have every single thing covered? Make sure your body is fully prepared! Skiing and snowboarding are two sports that use a lot of muscles that don’t encounter much stress in every day life.
If you can give some spare hours to get to know these parts of the body better and work on them you will definitely be thankful when you are away, and have spent the last 5 hours straight flying down hills.
Skiing? Your knees and hips are two excellent places to look at. TIP: A quick chat with a trainer at your local gym (most gyms offer free intro sessions) and you can have a training plan prepared to get you slope ready.
The huge advantage of this is that your plan is prepared by a expert, and ensures you are doing the right exercises for you.
How about snowboarding? Knees and hips are still good areas, but core and overall leg strength and flexibility are brilliant areas to focus on too.
Winter holidays are amazing from the first showers of snow to the last runs of the season, don’t miss out.