Information for Intermediate Skiers
By Louise Hill from Delicious Mountain Chalets, Meribel
Pushing Through the Intermediate Plateaux
This article is aimed at intermediate skiers who have left ski lessons behind and are confident in cruising blue runs and the occasional red. A common frustration among this category of skier is stagnation: after a few ski holidays, some intermediates will find themselves saying, "I've been doing that for a while now, I've somehow got stuck on the intermediate plateaux and I don't quite know what to do about it!" So here are our top tips for intermediate skiers who are looking to stretch themselves.
Skiing is for fun
First off, we should note that there's nothing wrong with staying at the same level. If your aim in a skiing holiday is to have a good time, not to be the next Olympic champion, you shouldn't feel that you have to ski steeper and faster each year. If you are enjoying skiing at the same level then carry on. This article is aimed chiefly at intermediates who are perhaps enjoying their skiing a little less than they used to and who are looking for new skiing challenges.
Learning can be very Gratifying
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking lessons are purely to get you up to a certain level. For the vast majority of skiers and snowboarders, learning something new and finding new challenges can be very enjoyable, so there's no reason ever to stop. After all, ski lessons are available for all levels. You could join half-day lessons, giving you the chance to meet other people in your situation while adding a focus to your Meribel ski holiday. Alternatively, a few hours of private lessons at the start of your ski week can give you some new challenges and something to practise, too.
Good ski lessons can also make your out-of-lesson time much more enjoyable and challenging. They might prompt you to ski new terrain (of which there is no shortage on a holiday in Meribel and the Three Valleys) and give you new ideas to stop you getting stuck in that rut of going up and down the same slopes in the same manner. Suddenly what seemed a fairly routine blue piste now becomes an interesting challenge as you try to master the perfect turn with each change.
Try Something New
Some people love the experience of being a beginner skier more than anything else. If that's true for you, then why not try a new option? If you've always skied, then snowboarding or telemark skiing both provide new challenges. Or you could try hiring blades for a day (short skis that are very easy to use on the pistes), they can be great fun for a change for a day.
For the more advanced skier who feels stuck in a rut, then perhaps the answer is to try some new terrain. As such a modern and expansive ski resort Meribel offers a world of variety. Groomed pistes, moguls, off-piste, snow parks and more. If you tend to ski groomed pistes only, then why not make it your aim to try some new terrain this year. Perhaps a private lesson for a few hours to introduce you to this new challenge could be just what you are looking for.
Buying you own Ski Equipment?
Some people think that buying some shiny new skis will help you push through to that new level. Well, alas, it's not quite true. These days you can hire very good skis, and with the cost and hassle of bringing your own skis to the Alps each time it's rarely worth buying your own. Your own ski boots, by contrast, can be a very good investment indeed. Having your own ski boots which are properly moulded to your feet really can help both with your comfort and your skiing, so perhaps that could be an option for those looking to get their own toys.
Vary Your Holiday
Let's be honest, the vast majority of us, myself included, don't take full advantage of what's on offer in most ski resorts. There's no need to spend all week purely skiing, there's a world of other activities to try.
Why not try dog-sledding for a few hours? Or, if you like getting out into the wilderness, then why not take a half-day to go cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing. In a very short amount of time you can find yourself away from everyone and everything, blissfully absorbed in your own mountain wilderness.
This year instead of a skiing holiday you could make it a Mountain holiday and try everything the mountains have to offer? When you start looking you'll find the list is almost endless...
Tips for Intermediate Skiers
Alf Alderson gives advice on overcoming the intermediate plateau.
Sometimes it helps to share your questions, ideas or even frustrations with other skiers. A good outlet for this is available in the form of ski forums online. Here you will find other intermediates who will empathise while offering their own tips based on past experience.
Ski Centres in the UK
Dry-slope lessons are a great way to get started with skiing, and are just as useful when dusting off your forgotten skills from last year. Here we have a map of UK ski centres to help you find ski lessons in your local area.