You"ve decided to go skiing so what is the worst that can happen? Hopefully you will never find out! We have a wealth of information on how to make sure your holiday is a safe one, most of it from first hand experiences, so we will do our best to make sure you are prepared for you winter holiday. You have probably heard stories about what can go wrong but if you"re careful and pay attention while on the slopes, there"s absolutely no reason why you won"t have a wonderful and safe experience.
If you take a tumble down the slopes there will probably be plenty of kids about that are ready to put the finishing touches to the human snowman - and enjoy doing it. But to make sure that your bank balance doesn"t also suffer at the end of the day, make sure you have adequate winter sports travel insurance. It"s an absolute must have.
It"s very easy to become dehydrated while skiing so fill up a water bottle before you leave your accommodation or buy a bottle and bring it with you. Drink regularly during the day to keep you going.
Although it"s hard to admit it - we don"t know everything. Take some lessons and learn the basics. It will make for a more rewarding and enjoyable experience. Lot"s of people take ski lessons every year - it"s a great way to meet new people, improve your skills and see parts of the mountain you probably wouldn"t venture to on your own. Besides which, the instructors aren"t half bad looking!
Remember the rhyme "Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning sailors warning"? Keep it in mind. Listen to the local forecasts. Many hotels will have a daily weather report available at reception but if unsure, ask. You don"t want to get stuck up the mountain in the middle of a blizzard. If in doubt, or you are nervous about the changing weather, then call it a day.
If you fall - ignore all the kids streaming past like professional skiers and let yourself slide (as gracefully as possible) to a stop before trying to rise. This way you can get up like nothing happened!
Give your body a bit of a work out before you hit the slopes. This is especially important for less experienced skiers and beginners who generally use a lot more energy than those who are comfortable and confident on the slopes. 10 to 15 minutes of stretching before your leave your room in the morning before hitting the slopes will also stand to you and may avoid you walking like John Wayne by day 2 of your holiday.
Use lots of sunscreen. While the usual warnings stand about the dangers of the sun you also need to keep in mind you don"t want to have a red face and panda eyes by the end of the holiday! You might blend in while in-resort but you"ll get some funny looks back home.
You know what they say - the more the merrier! Wear layers so that you can keep the heat in while up the mountain but don"t forget - clothes do still come off as easily as they go on. If you are too hot and you need to lose a layer then go ahead. Just don"t lose too many!
Your skis or board should only be serviced by a professional. After lying in your attic for 12 months, it"s worth paying a few quid to ensure your binding are set right as they may have been knocked out on the flight home last year or maybe you"ve gained a few pounds in which case, they will also need to be readjusted. Sharp edges are also a must to avoid an embarrassing wipe out on your first turn of the holiday.
Make sure you know where you"re going when you head out for the day. Either that or bring someone with you that knows the area well. Always carry a piste map and ensure you know which piste you need to come down at the end of the day. Stories of people finding themselves in a village 10 miles away from where they are suppose to be at the end of the day aren"t uncommon. Although sometimes funny, it"s best to be at the listening end of those tales!
Don"t drink and ski. If you drink too much then you may start to think you are more like Superman than a normal human being sliding down the side of a mountain on a pair of skis. You need to be as much control of your skis as you would if driving a car except there are no seat belts on the slopes. Exercise the same caution as when driving to avoid any unnecessary trips to the local police station, or worse, the hospital.
It"s always nice to meet people but maybe not so nice to hurtle into them at 50mph. You know what they say about first impressions....
So watch out for others on the slopes as well as other obstacles. It would be equally uncomfortable (and maybe not as interesting) to end up in a close embrace with a snow cannon or a tree!
If you"ve had enough and feel the need to drop into a bundle for a rest then do it off to the side of the slopes. You don"t want anyone ruining your quiet time by using you as an obstacle to practice their jumps over. This may be fun for them but not so much for you!
If you start to feel like a downhill speed racer.....or the aforementioned Superman.....then slow down! Skiing at the speed of light is not what you are aiming at. You want to be able to stop without too much effort rather than starting to panic and feel the need to start looking for obstacles that can help slow you down.
Don"t bite off more than you can chew. You know how good you are - as well as how bad. Where possible, try to ski with people of a similar ability or with someone who"s prepared to match your pace. You shouldn"t feel the need to continually play catch-up in difficult terrain. After all, you are supposed to be enjoying yourself.
If you feel yourself getting tired then it"s time to call it a day. It is a holiday after all so rather than pushing yourself harder than you need why not go enjoy an early dinner or a few drinks in one of the many après ski bars!