If you're new to skiing – or you're about to go skiing with someone who's a novice – Rosie Paterson and Kate Green provide a guide that will save much pain for the newbies and provoke chuckles of recognition from the veterans.
Never buy kit for a first holiday; borrow from a friend in case you hate the experience, but avoid all-in-ones unless you’re good at contortions in small loos.
It’s not losing face to book lessons – you can meet your friends/ children/ boyfriend later. However much they love you, they’ll soon get bored waiting for you, plus it’s a ski instructor’s job not to terrify you.
Don’t be sniffy about wearing a helmet instead of a furry hat – far better skiers than you do. A helmet is warm, comfy, doesn’t blow off, is a handy place to put goggles and, anyway, it’s compulsory in Austria.
Don’t try too hard to look stylish or humorous – zebra prints are naff and joker hats with bells aren’t cool; really good skiers let their skiing do the talking.
Be truthful to the ski-hire people about your weight, as a correctly adjusted ski binding will prevent a nasty knee twist; they’ll see through your fibbing anyway.
Of all the bewildering instructions you’ll receive, the most important is to keep your weight forward; it may sound counter-intuitive, but it really does work. Think of it as a braking system.
Take out insurance with your ski pass; this is what you have to show to the nice men from mountain rescue who’ll arrive with the disturbingly-named ‘blood wagon’.
Tights inside socks inside ski boots can be painful on the toes; wear long johns instead and, if you suffer from poor circulation, try liners inside gloves and socks. Remember, however, that learning to ski makes you sweat.
The easiest way to get up after a fall is to lie on your back like a beetle and roll over.
Don’t cross your legs on a chairlift or you’ll fall flat on your face when you get off.
Expect burning thighs – small children can hold the snowplough stance for hours, but, for everyone else, it hurts; commandeer the bath and rub in smelly muscle balm.
Loosen ski boots before going down wet stairs to the loo in a mountain restaurant.
You’re not meant to sit down on a draglift; stand up straight and try to look casual, even if the damn thing is dangling between your legs. Don’t wave.
Never fiddle with your phone on a high chairlift; let the sad, solitary gloves and ski poles scattered below be a salutary lesson.
The brilliant thing about the Alps is that the higher you go, the less severe the hangover.
Never go up the mountain without sunglasses or goggles – if you do, you’ll soon have white spots dancing in front of your eyes, even on the greyest day – and apply suncream.
Try not to laugh hysterically when your expert friend goes base over apex; pick up their skis and poles for them – it’ll make you feel really good.
Water takes much longer to boil in the mountains; therefore, so do eggs – allow about 15 minutes if you want them hard-boiled.
Check menu prices at lunchtime – one restaurant in Courchevel will charge you €80 for a hamburger and €35 for a bowl of soup.
Never ask chalet staff to cook on their day off – it’s more precious to them than money.
Don’t try doing jumps with the children; they are far more flexible and balanced than you.
If your beloved says ‘Darling, it’s easy down here – you’ll love it’, don’t believe them.
Remember: the great thing about skiing is that it’s like riding a bike; you never forget, so things can only get better next time.
Looking for a good ski resort for beginners that’s also ? Try Saas Fee in Switzerland – search for holidays and accommodation.
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