Skiing is a sport which most people would like to try. But many don’t. Some get as far as a dry slope in the UK, but nowhere near the mountains. After all, there are so many reasons that might be off-putting. In our handy guide, we advise you on all the basics, so you know exactly where to start.
1. Do I need to be fit?
Skiing is a sport and a general level of fitness helps. The old adage is ‘get fit to ski, don’t ski to get fit’. The truth is you will enjoy your skiing much better if you have energy and muscle strength. The good news is you can build on this with ski fit exercises. The fitter you are the less likely you’ll suffer from injury or fatigue.
2. Do I need expensive kit?
It really is unnecessary. The best thing to do is start asking around to borrow kit as soon as possible. The key items are ski trousers and a ski jacket, waterproof gloves, decent socks, and goggles. You can hire skis, poles, boots and helmets in resort. Decathlon superstores are highly recommended for ski clothing which is of decent quality but is inexpensive. Shop in the Autumn, as stock will run out after Christmas. TK Maxx is also worth checking for clothes, especially ski trousers. If you can get to London, the Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show is well worth a visit to pick the brains of exhibitors who fly in from all over the world.
3. When should I go skiing/boarding?
Winter sports lovers choose dates carefully. The middle of December brings low prices, but the risk of poorer snow. Christmas and New Year are great fun but amongst the most expensive times of the season to ski. January brings lower prices and cold weather, often with fantastic snow. February is the most popular time to travel with good snow and some sun, resorts in full swing, and of course half-term. Avoid half-term if you can, as the slopes are inevitably busy. March and April bring under-rated Spring skiing – sunshine and snow and long afternoons appreciating local food and drink.
4. What if I hate it?
Choose your resort carefully. Pick a resort where there is a heart, and things to do other than skiing. Many will offer indoor pools; spas to relax in and shopping. Half or full day excursions or activities such as snowmobiling are often available.
5. Is Insurance expensive?
You must have Winter Sports on your policy, but typically it isn’t too much extra. Don’t skimp though. When you need it, you really need it.
6. Where should I go?
As a beginner, choose ski resorts which are quiet and welcoming. You want to be surrounded by like-minded skiers, rather than being in competition with advanced skiers. Take the pressure off by going somewhere inexpensive, fun, and quick and easy to get to and home from.
The Balkans are highly recommended for beginner skiers. There are a number of reasons why:
- They offer unbeatable value.
- The Post Office has named Bansko as the best value ski resort in the world for the second year running.
- It’s not only about the skiing/boarding.
- There are so many other things to do such as a skidoo safari or snow tubing, or visits to historic sites and nearby towns of interest.
- The vibe is relaxed not competitive.
- You will be amongst like-minded beginners or intermediates.
- The tuition is in English.
- You’ll love the Bulgarian tuition. Instructors in the resorts speak good English.
- Everyone is welcome from babies to oldies.
- There are age-related discounts for the young and old, and everyone is welcome, no-one is excluded.
- It’s non-Euro.
- Your après-ski beer and food are amazing value.