Things to Know If You’ve Never Been Skiing

With the huge event that is the UBSC ski trip rapidly approaching, thousands of Bristol students will be gearing up for a week of snow, sun and apres. No doubt for many students this signifies just one of the many skiing holidays they’ve ever been on, but for some - including myself - its a brand new experience. The thought of strapping on a pair of wooden boards and gliding down a mountain can seem like a daunting one, let alone getting to grips with things like ski passes, lifts and goggles, so I’ve asked around a compiled a list of the top tips to help get you ready for a brilliant holiday.

1. Consult a packing list

If you’ve never been skiing before it can be difficult imagining all the things you’ll need. This isn’t a normal holiday; you’ll need to think about thermal layers, neck warmers, gloves and ski socks amongst other things. For a comprehensive list of what to take check out https://www.skiclub.co.uk/info-and-advice/before-you-go/ski-packing-list#.VnfdZMaLSUk

2. Head to the gym

You don’t need to undergo any kind of rigorous training regime, but making sure you have a basic level of fitness will help to no end. Your quads in particular will be getting a workout, so try leg strengthening exercises before you go; for example, instead of lounging on the sofa to watch TV, try sitting with your back against the wall and legs at a 90 degree angle and holding for as long as possible.

3. Take sun cream

Having witnessed the horrific burns of my friends who went on the trip last year, skin protection is number one on my packing list. The snow reflects the sunlight, so the higher the SPF factor the better. Also, don’t forget lip balm with a high SPF - no one wants burnt lips!

4. Don’t be afraid of ski lifts

As a beginner, the firsts lifts you’ll use will be in the beginners section, so will be slow moving and low to the ground. The most common types you’ll encounter are button lifts, a small platform that goes between the legs, T-bars, which are like buttons but for two people, and chairlifts. Don’t worry about knowing when to get off; there’ll usually be a sign telling you to dismount, and the ground will flatten out.

5. Make sure your boots fit

If you’re going on the UBSC ski trip you will have already had your skis fitted, but if you get to Alpe D’Huez and realise they’re too big or small, make sure you change them - there’s nothing like a painful pair of boots to put you off skiing.

6. Take snacks

If you have a few spare pockets in your jacket or a small backpack, fill them up with snacks to munch on if you get hungry throughout the day. Remember skiing is an arduous physical activity, so you might feel your energy levels waning; especially if you’re hungover. Also pack a bar of chocolate - if you have a particularly hard fall, the sugar will help with the shock.

7. Don’t skip the lessons

As a beginner, its likely you’ll have arranged to have the beginners lessons. It can be tempting around day three to sack off the lessons and go and ski with your other mates on the slopes, but be warned - the slopes they’re likely to ski on are much harder than the ones you’ll be used to. If you’re not confident, stick to the lessons - or skip the slopes all together and head straight to apres!