5 Skiing Tips for Beginners from Alpine Elements

5 Skiing Tips for Beginners

Alpine-ElementsAlpine Elements are an Active Holiday specialist based in the UK who have been operating for over 18 years and take over 22,500 clients away to France, Austria and Greece every year! They are members of both ABTA and ATOL and organise winter and summer holidays with the ski and snowboarding holidays operating from their own hotels and chalets.

The recently published their ‘5 Beginner Tips for Skiing‘ which I felt obliged to pass on:

Choose the Right Resort

Different ski resorts generally cater for different levels and abilities of skier and snowboarder. Most large resorts will have terrain to suit all abilities but nearly all have a slight bias towards a particular standard. Pick a resort as a beginner that has a bias towards more advanced skiers and you could end up very frustrated, or worse, scare yourself silly and never want to ski again!

French resorts such as Tignes and Meribel are ideally set up for beginners, with a large number of gentle beginners slopes which are easy to access. If going in a mixed group however, it’s important to have the option to ski more advanced slopes for those in the group that have been before. Don’t forget also that you either want a resort that is lively with plenty going on in the evenings, or a more relaxing quieter option. Very often the apres-ski can make or break a holiday and determine whether you have a great holiday and would want to go again..

Get the Right Gear

Until you’ve been skiing and decided that you’d like to go again, it’s unlikely that you will have your own equipment. Most resorts that cater for beginners and have a decent set of learner slopes, will also have ski hire shops that can cater for beginners needs.

Atomic Ski

There are many factors when it comes to selecting equipment to hire for a beginner. Longer skis tend to be more stable, but won’t turn as quickly or easily as shorted skis. The boots also have to be a good fit and the right style – you’re going to be wearing them most of the day for the duration of the holiday, so they should beSalomon Ski Boot comfortable. Those with larger ankles and calves or a high instep will probably find a 2 piece shell style boot more comfortable than the newer 3-piece shells. There’s a post on ski boots selection here, but the hire shop is probably the best place for advice.

In the past it was also common place to ski without any head protection. Those days are long gone now and it’s generally frowned upon for skiers and snowboarders not to be on the slopes without a helmet. It is still of course up to the individual, but some resorts are considering making helmets compulsory..

Get a Teacher

It’s all very well having a friend or relative teaching you the basics of skiing, but unless they’re an expert skier or a trained instructor, they’re likely to pass on any bad habits that they have. I know, for example, that I’m a lazy skier and don’t bend and flex enough – I don’t think I would ever consider trying to show someone how to ski!

ESF Ski School

It’s so important for everyone’s safety and enjoyment that a beginner gets started in the right direction, learning all the basics to stay out of trouble, and very often only a qualified instructor can do this effectively.

Most resorts have a range of ski schools to choose from, from the local ski school (ESF in France) through qualified independents and even English instructors teaching locally (BASS for example). Lessons can range from intensive one-to-one tuition to groups of beginners at the same level, depending principally on your budget. Group lessons can be fun, but also frustrating if you don’t pick up the basics as quickly as the rest of the group, or if there are others there who have been before and make you feel slow to learn.

Keep Your Head Up

It’s easier said than done, but it is very important that the beginner learns to keep their head up at all times. It’s very easy from the start to keep looking at the skis to see that they’re pointing in the right direction or not about to cross over etc. As confidence and control grows however, keeping your head up will allow you to see not only obstacles in you way (other skiers for example) but also the terrain that you’re about to ski into.

Keeping your head up and looking down the slope also helps to keep your balance and of course take in the scenery..

Have Fun!

It might sound obvious, but skiing is supposed to be fun!

It’s very easy to get too self conscious and worry about falling over in front of everyone else, but everyone falls at one time or another. There’s a saying that I use every time I take a tumble -‘If you don’t fall than you’re not trying hard enough!’ At least that’s my excuse.

Relaxing while skiing rather than being tense and nervous also helps – easier said than done when the idea of a fall is playing on your mind, especially when you see fearless local children flying past you as if they were born with skis on. face it, if you go skiing for a week a year for 10 years, then you’ve probably got about as much skiing in as a local gets in one season…

Have fun and enjoy yourself and you’ll keep coming back for more.

 

 

Ski Prix Morzine Chalet Holiday Fully Booked

The Ski Prix Morzine chalet holiday in March is now Fully Booked!

Ski PrixAs expected, the last couple of places on the Ski Prix chalet holiday to Chalet Coeurs in Morzine have been taken and the chalet is now completely booked up.

There will be 11 of us travelling out from different UK airports to all meet up at the chalet and have a (hopefully) great weeks skiing. We have 2 of us flying out from Liverpool, another 2 flying out from Birmingham and the rest are flying out from Manchester.

The ages of the group members varies from mid twenties through to mid fifties and we have all abilities, from someone who has never even tried on a set of skis, through skiers and snowboarders with a couple of indoor snow slope lessons to more advanced (OK, intermediate..) skiers who have been a few times before. We’ve met most of the group at Chill Factore in Manchester for a few pre-holiday sessions and would hope to do the same again next year.

Ski hire has all been booked up along with the lift passes for everyone, so all we have to do is get out there on 20th March and have some fun! Some of our group will be having lessons from day one whereas a couple more will have a day’s ‘warming up’ and getting ski legs back before booking a few lessons for later in the week.

While we’re out in Morzine, we’ll be making enquiries for next years chalet booking to see if we can get an equally good deal for the 2016/17 season, not necessarily in the same chalet, but we’ll see… As soon as we get back to the UK we’ll be booking up the next trip and taking names of anyone who thinks they might be interested in joining us.

Hopefully next year we’ll be either booking one big chalet or two smaller adjoining ones, looking to take around 25 people away with us – the more the merrier. The whole point of Ski Prix is that we are a group of very mixed abilities and ages so that no-one has to ski alone, and the larger the group we have, the more likely we all are to have someone of the same ability to ski or snowboard with.

Either way, we’re all looking forward to the years holiday and just hope that the recent dump of snow hangs around for us!

If you’d like to register your interest in joining us for next years chalet holiday, with no obligation of course, please just fill in the quick contact for below:

How to Ski Powder Snow

How to Adapt Your Technique for Powder Snow

snowrockWith the recent fresh dump of snow over the Alps and in much of North America, Snow+Rock recently published and article on [The Hub] with some ideas on how to ski on powder snow.

The deeper the snow, the slower you go.

I’ve found out over the past few years that skis don’t work very well standing still and you have to be moving to get them to function. The deeper the powder snow, the deeper you sink and the slower you go, making any sort of turn hard physical work. If you keep your line straighter then your speed tends to be highr and the skis work better.

Soft snow makes it difficult to balance.

With softer going underfoot you need to spread your weight more and work both feet together, rather than putting too much pressure on one ski and sinking into the snow. By gently changing balance on both skis, the turn can be driven round, although the outer ski still does most of the work.

During the turn, skis sink into the snow.

The skis will sink into the snow during the turn, but this can be used to an advantage by driving the skis round the turn and then changing edge and direction when they rebound to start the next turn. Try to focus on getting the tips out of the snow between the turns and building a rhythm as you move down the slope.

Lots of mistakes?

Skiing in soft powder snow can make you feel like your making lots of small mistakes, but apparently even very good skier can make mistakes and adjustments in soft snow. Just keep going and look like you know what you’re doing!

Get out of stalled turns.

It can be easy to get stuck in a turn and ‘stall’, but a strong pole plant helps to re-centre and reset between turns and can be an important way to keep the rhythm of the turns going.

If you’re pretty good on the piste, these slight changes to the way you ski along with suitable skis can help good intermediate sliers to begin to enjoy soft snow. It can be helpful in the beginning to ski in chopped up snow between pistes to practice technique before heading off into the really deep stuff!

Don’t forget to go properly prepared if skiing or snowboarding off-piste. a full range of clothing and accessories is available from Snow+Rock.