Tips For Planning Your First Skiing Holiday

November 30, 2023
Tips For Planning Your First Skiing Holiday, people skiing

While we’re all busy getting ready for Christmas, another exciting prospect awaits…ski season! If you’ve already booked a trip or are thinking of taking the plunge, I’ve got some tips for planning your first skiing holiday.

This time last year we were making preparations for Isobel’s first skiing trip. There’s a lot to think about so it’s good to get organised as early as possible. If you’ve never skied before then lessons are essential if you want to get the most out of your time on the slopes. A dry ski slope is a good place to start, and an artificial snow centre is even better if you have one not too far away. Luckily, we are about 25 minutes from the dry ski slope in Kidsgrove and 40 minutes from the Chill Factore near Manchester.

Six lessons enabled Isobel to perfect the snowplough technique, while a couple of sessions on artificial snow helped her to get the feel of being on the slope. (Snowplough skiing is the first technique skiers learn for controlling speed, stopping and changing direction. It involves skiing with the feet and skis in a V-shape.) You’ll also get to practice using the button lifts, so no embarrassing Bridget Jones type moments!

Tips For Planning Your First Skiing Holiday, Val Thorens ski resort

Where and when to go

European ski season runs from late November to April. Some resorts in France, like Val Thorens, are already open. December is relatively quiet so it’s ideal for beginners. Plus, you get to soak up the festive atmosphere. In January there’s more snowfall and temperatures are colder but it’s still relatively quiet. February is a busy month, with many families hitting the slopes during half-term. March and April are warmer months with longer days, but there may not be much snowfall. As the season winds down, the quieter slopes and softer snow benefits beginners.

Some ski resorts are better suited to beginners than others. You’ll want somewhere that’s easy to get to from an airport or train station. Resorts with extensive beginner areas are essential. Look for places known for their nursery or ‘bunny’ slopes that allow novices to refine their skills comfortably. 

Consider the type of lodging you want. Whether your preference is for a luxurious hotel stay, the cosiness of a catered chalet, or a self-catered apartment, ensure the resort offers proximity to ski lifts. If your group is looking to have lessons, make sure your chosen resort has a reputable ski school.

ski poles

What to buy before you go

Most first time skiers chose to hire skis, boots and a helmet. (If you fall in love with it and plan to go regularly then it’s worth investing in buying your own later on). However, there are some essential items that you should take with you:

It’s worth buying ski jackets and trousers second hand, especially for kids (look on eBay and Vinted). Children grow out of these really quickly so you’ll find plenty on resale sites. You can often find base layers in supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. I bought thermal leggings and a long sleeved top in Lidl last winter. You never know what you’ll find in that middle aisle!

Tips For Planning Your First Skiing Holiday, ski resort at sunset

Don’t forget the après-ski!

While the oft-heard phrase “après-ski” may evoke images of hot toddies and fondue, après-ski encompasses so much more. It includes everything from snowmobile rides and ice-skating to low-key board games, movie nights, and relaxing spa sessions. Of course, skiing burns a lot of calories so you’ll want to refuel. Whichever country you decide to visit, there’s sure to be delicious regional cuisine on offer. Enjoy!

Are you planning a skiing holiday this winter?

*Photos from Unsplash


2 responses to “Tips For Planning Your First Skiing Holiday”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Great tips! I hate the cold and snow so I would never willingly plan a skiiing vacation lol

    Curated by Jennifer

  2. Oh wow! I have never been skiing but it looks a lot of fun. I think knowing how I am, I would stick with the lounge and enjoy the area. But I do think it be fun especially this time of year.

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