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Are you thinking of embarking on your first ever snow holiday? Skiing and snowboarding are among the most popular winter sports for obvious reasons. There’s no greater feeling than opening your curtains in the morning to views of fresh powdered snow, glorious sunshine and snow-capped mountains.
However, if you’re hitting the slopes for the first time, here are five things you need to do to avoid getting seriously hurt:
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1. Know the best time to book
It’s definitely worth being organized with your ski holiday because booking 12 months in advance will secure you excellent deals in fantastic locations.
Not only will you be able to get the best accommodation by booking this far in advance, but you’ll also have access to money-saving deals on flights, lift passes, ski hire, and much more. To save even more money, booking your holiday for the early and late seasons will often be discounted even further, and you’ll find a lot fewer people on the slopes. Do bear in mind though, that this is also when you’ll find the least amount of snowfall.
2. Invest in some lessons
Before even thinking about hitting the slopes, you really should invest in some lessons. You don’t have to book loads, just enough to teach you some basic skills so you don’t seriously injure yourself on the slopes.
Indoor slopes are hands-down the best places to learn how to ski or snowboard, and you can take group or private lessons here. Private tuition will get you individual attention from the instructor so you can progress faster, but group lessons are more affordable and give you the chance to meet others on your level.
3. Get into shape
To really make the most of your ski holiday and squeeze as much time out of the slopes as possible, you’ll benefit from getting fit beforehand. Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic ways to get fit and for good reason: because they’re absolutely knackering sports!
It’s really important to focus on cardio and muscle-workouts. Try to start your exercises six weeks before your trip. Running is a great exercise for improving your cardiovascular fitness, and a great exercise if you don’t want to splash out on a gym membership too.
Focus strength exercises on your legs. Think leg-presses and squat jumps
4. Kit yourself out
If you’re a first-time skier, you should really think about hiring your ski clothing, or even borrowing them from a friend or family member. It’ll save you a lot of money.
For your outer layers, get your hands on a good-quality ski jacket and pants. As a beginner, you’re going to fall down a lot, so to keep warm on the mountain and, more importantly, keep dry, these two items are a must.
For your under-clothing, layers are your best friend. Get yourself some thick ski socks, thermal leggings and thermal tops. The more layers you wear the better: if you get too hot, just take off a few layers and put them in a day rucksack. You’ll also need to invest in some ski goggles to protect your eyes, and some thick, waterproof gloves or mittens.
You can hire your skis/board, poles, boots, and helmet from the resort itself. It’s also vital that you wear a helmet as a beginner.
5. Travel insurance
Even a simple crash on the slopes can add up to thousands of pounds’ worth of damage, and for every million Brits who go skiing each year, 17,000 will come home on crutches! So, as a beginner in particular you really need to invest in some travel insurance.
On-piste rescue costs an average of £445, and repatriation by land and air costs, on average, between £7,000-£12,000. Not to mention the thousands of pounds it will cost you if you need intensive care, or even if you lose your luggage. You can see a more in-depth article on the costs of getting injured on a ski holiday in this infographic. Don’t risk it, get travel insurance!
Most importantly though, enjoy yourself! Make the most of the adrenaline rush, the gorgeous scenery, the indulging in delicious food (guilt-free) and the magnificent atmosphere.