Information for Ski Beginners
By Louise Hill from Delicious Mountain Chalets, Meribel
If you're about to go on your first ski holiday, you are in for the kind of treat that might just change your life! There is no feeling quite like the exhilaration that comes from skiing or snowboarding and, in many ways, the first couple of ski holidays can be the best. Skiing is a highly addictive pastime which appeals to the whole family and all age groups - so get ready for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Here are some tips which might help you prepare for your first outing on the slopes, as well as a warning about the three words you should never say while skiing.
Will I need to book ski lessons?
If this is your first ski holiday, lessons are pretty much essential. We can help you to arrange the right type of tuition for you and your group, so keep in touch with us about your needs.
Find out about ski lessons in Meribel »
You don't have to wait until you arrive in Meribel to get started with your ski lessons. There are many ski centres in the UK which aim to help beginners find their feet before they depart for their ski holiday. Click on the below link to view our map of UK ski centres and find a slope near you.
Find out about Skiing in the UK »
Beginner Ski Videos
What should I wear?
There is no substitute for proper ski clothing, so don't cut corners on your outfit. It doesn't have to be designer, it doesn't have to be your own (why not borrow some from friends?), but it does have to be warm and waterproof. You will need a ski jacket with a snow skirt (to keep snow out when you fall over), some salopettes (ski trousers), and thick waterproof gloves, as well the obvious hat, scarf and so on. Good thermals are also a must - these will be a purchase you won't regret, and they're so comfy you might even find yourself wearing them in the UK when you get back home.
Do I need my own skis?
In a word, no. If you have your own skis, then great - but you don't need to buy any if you don't. We work closely with local ski hire specialists who deliver the very latest ski equipment right to the chalet door. You use them for a week, then they collect them again. So there's no need to spend a fortune on your own skis, and no need to fight your way through the airport carrying them.
Which liftpass is right for me?
Meribel is in the vast Three Valleys ski area which offers enough skiing for a lifetime, let alone a one-week ski holiday. If this is your first ski trip, you will probably need no more than a local area liftpass, but talk to us about your ski holiday plans and we will help you select the right passes for yourself and your group. We will order and collect your liftpass for you.
Find out more about liftpasses »
Did someone say "sunburn"?
Yes, it can get very sunny up on the mountain, so be sure to pack some lip balm, sun tan lotion and ski googles. The snow acts as a giant mirror so, on a clear day, you can get burnt without even realising it.
How come everyone else is so good?
Be warned: you will spend much of your first ski holiday falling over. This is the same for everyone and it can get quite frustrating, especially when a group of 8-year-olds breeze past you with poetic grace. Don't be put off. Laugh about it, pick yourself up, and rejoin your group. When you get back to the chalet in the afternoon, don't forget to swap stories about the best crash of the day.
Will my other hobbies help?
A good level of basic fitness is a big help with skiing, so, if you're a fitness enthusiast, you'll be at an advantage, for sure. If you're sport requires you to use your legs a lot (e.g. cycling) then this will certainly help: your thighs are in for a serious work out. In terms of skill and technique, ice-skaters and rollerbladers may find they have a bit of a head start in skiing; skateboarders for snowboarding.
What can I do to prepare physically?
A bit of time in the gym might not be a bad idea: you are going to be working your legs very hard and in ways which you might not be used to. A few sessions with a personal trainer might seem like an extravagance just before your winter holiday, but they would certainly help. Otherwise, circuit training, kettlebells, squats, cycling and rowing will all help.
Three words you should never say on skis
The three words which are sure to precipitate a holiday-finishing accident: "Hey, watch this." Know your level and stick to it. Save the black runs and the backflips for next year.
Tips for Beginners
Everything from carrying your skis safely to wearing your bobble hat like all the cool kids do.
Online Ski Lessons
OK, so it is no substitute for real ski lessons, but if you just need a refresher or some ideas before your first proper lesson, this ABC of Skiing guide is surprisingly useful and genuinely worth a look.
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.
Eloise has dedicated her life to her love of skiing. Follow Me Ski is a very interesting read of of all of her snow related experiences.