If you follow my Instagram, you might have noticed that I went skiing just before Christmas, the bulk uploads may have given it away a little. I was convinced by my friends to join them on the annual university ski trip, and as a first time skier, I had my reservations. My family seem to prefer warmer holiday destinations and in recent years we have stuck to visiting family as going abroad isn’t cheap! Skiing was definitely something on my bucket list, so eventually I caved and booked onto the trip. Now I’m back I thought I would share with you five things you should know before you go skiing.
Get Yourself Some Lessons
We all hope to take to a new skill like a duck to water, but how likely are you to be a natural at something that involves attaching long, thin bits of carbon to your feet and flinging yourself down a mountain? I was under no illusion that I would be any good, however, I didn’t book lessons. Why you might ask? A friend offered to teach me. Big mistake, huge. No tea, no shade here at all, but just because you can ski, doesn’t make you a good teacher.
She tried her best but was unable to cope with the stress of two beginners not understanding her seemingly simple instructions – you try and stand up with poles and skis stuck to your feet when you’ve never done it before… yeah, not easy. That lesson lasted all of an hour before we were left to our own devices and another friend offered to take us the next day to show us the basics.
Luckily the second friend, a children’s hockey coach in her spare time, was able to whip us into shape and even had us controlled turning by the afternoon of the second day. I thank her so much for her help, I can actually ski now (snow plow turns and stopping), and she saved me a pretty penny, but a professional is much more qualified to deal with your inability to do even the simplest things.
Do A Joint Food Shop
Our accommodation was completely self catered, and as students we were not going to be able to afford eating out for every meal. Before we left England our room of five did a shop for all the possible dry food things we could need: pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes etc. It was a squeeze to fit everything in our bags, but our bank accounts thanked us. The coach also stopped at a supermarket before we reached the resort where we picked up perishables, meat, fruit and veg. For 6 nights with 3 meals a day we spent £25 each for the week, not including drinks up the mountain, après and a group meal at the end of the week though.
Cooking together saved a lot of money, all in all I know I spent close to £750 in total (if I get my full deposit back). Separate meals would have meant I spent a lot more, and many arguments over the use of the tiny kitchen were saved by this method. We largely went for university meals, spag bol, chilli and fajitas.
Borrow Don’t Buy
Some people love to buy up everything they can when they start a new hobby, I would have loved to have bought a whole skiing outfit, but with custom ski boots starting at around £100, it was a solid no. Luckily, I have a whole host of friends and family who have been lucky enough to ski/snowboard before who could lend me what I needed. I rented my boots and helmet and borrowed goggles, salopettes, ski socks. The only things I bought were ones that could be used again: thermals, a fleece and gloves. My nan also saved me a load of money by finding a ski jacket, in my size, in the charity shop she volunteers at – £7.50 was a bargain.
If you can’t borrow off people, there may be the option to hire a jacket and salopettes, maybe even check eBay/sales; as it was my first time, I did not need everything to be new and shiny. Also, the less I packed, the less I had to drag to and from the coach in the thick snow. My arms still ache from this.
Try Naprès as Well as Après
I’m not sure if it was the resort, or just the experience as a whole, but après wasn’t everything it cracked up to be. Imagine Eurovision costumes and singers on a stage, I don’t want to say ruining, but ruining your favourite club songs – the redeeming feature was that this all occurred on the side of a mountain and the views were incredible.
Avoriaz only had one après bar: La Folie Douce, and I felt I only needed to do this once, instead turning to naprès. We would aim to ski early from around 9:30am, break for lunch at 1pm (ish) and then finish by 3pm. Unsurprisingly, 3pm saw us crash and roll into bed for a couple of hours rest – it’s actually more tiring than you think!
Accept Arguments Will Happen
Going away with anyone, friends or family, there will always be tension when you’re stuck in a tiny apartment with them for around 20 hours a day. It didn’t help that 4 out of 5 of us had also travelled on the 20 hour coach journey and had minimal sleep. Everything got a little fractious, anything could cause a rift. Just of the top of my head I remember disagreements over: who had the key, where we would meet, who snored loudly, who kept their phone on loud at all times… you get the picture.
Sometimes it was just easier to not go après and have some time alone, or to ski away from each other. I don’t think we realised how testing it would be in an apartment with one room, a lounge/diner/kitchen and separate toilet and bathroom with one mirror. Somehow we managed it, everyone made it home and we’re all still talking.
I really did enjoy my first time skiing, even after the rocky start to learning – tears and tantrums did happen but when we saw how far we had come it was all worth it. I haven’t taken on anything higher than a blue so far, though I am keen to go again in the future. I also am planning a skincare must haves post soon, because my god skiing skin is some of the most problematic I have ever had to deal with. Hopefully my things you should know before you go skiing round up has helped if you’re lucky enough to have booked, or are looking to book a skiing holiday!