12 February 2013

How to Survive a Ski Trip

Whether it is France, Canada, Japan or India, there are certain essentials required to survive a week/season skiing.

I know people who have skied since they could walk, and also people who class themselves as keen skiers after a week on the powder. Apart from their ability, nothing distances these people from what need on a ski trip and the advice they need to survive the cold. So here are what I consider the essentials for any skier or snowboarder...

  • Ski jacket 
  • Salopettes 
  • Ski gloves 
  • Goggles 
  • Thermal top and trousers 
  • Thick walking/ski socks 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Suncream/sunblock 
  • Good shoes (moon boots, gum boots, wellies etc.) 
  • Beanie/hat 
  • Scarf/neck warmer 
  • Helmet 
If you’re skiing as part of a university trip, a ‘lads’ holiday or a backpacker holiday, the above are vital items to take. If you plan to ski a lot you may already have your own snowboards/skis but for a beginner or even an advance skier that just skis once a year, I would advise renting gear. It’s much cheaper, you don’t have the hassle of carrying it round the airport and you don’t have to keep up with the maintenance. However, if you’re doing a ski season it may be worthwhile looking in rental shops for old stock. If you’re a skier for example but want to try the odd bit of snowboarding then see how much last season’s stock is, it may be cheaper than renting skis and a snowboard.

No ski trip is complete without après-ski. Europe is big on après-ski, not too sure about Canada or New Zealand, but I know Japan is keen for it as you get a lot of foreigners. Drinking is a big part of the ski life in my opinion. You get to meet a ton of people, and they always have bits of advice on the best runs, or the best bars.

Food-wise - If you’re going for a cheap/uni holiday maybe take your own food such as dry pasta or pot noodles. Firstly, you’re barely in your room as you’ll be skiing or drinking, so best to grab quick food. Also, most people buy bread at resorts and tend to take sandwiches up the mountain rather than keep coming back down for lunch.

General ski advice - Never ski alone. I’d say this is acceptable if you’re skiing on a busy mountain, so if anything did happen then there are a lot of people around. You have to be confident to be any good at skiing or snowboarding, obviously don’t be stupid and go on an advanced run on your first day as a beginner, but don’t just stick to the beginner slopes. Some people don’t wear helmets, I know beginners that don’t but advanced people that do. Always take a route map. Always take a phone, even if you buy a cheap one just for emergencies. And last but not least wrap up! I get quite warm skiing but it’s best to bring a fair few thermals then decide you’re too warm rather than the other way round.

May all seem like obvious stuff but it could help you get through a ski holiday. Make the most of it, ski or snowboard until your muscles ache, as usually you are just there for a few weeks, and overall enjoy!

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