Top tips for beginner trips

19th August 2016, by Chris Gill

Are the nursery slopes convenient?

Are the nursery slopes convenient?

So you’re off on your first adventure to the snow, but the planning process can feel quite daunting. There’s lots to consider after all; when to go, which resort, what to take and how to learn …?

Here are ten thoughts to simplify the decision-making:

  1. Choose your dates carefully: Christmas, New Year and February peak weeks are generally busy and more expensive. January is a good time for quiet slopes, fewer queues and lower prices.
  2. Go to a small, friendly resort where you’ll quickly feel at home. Look for gentle nursery slopes at village level, rather than at the top of the mountain.
  3. Look for resorts offering free beginner lifts and/or special lift passes. You won’t be venturing far during your first week, so a full area pass is an unnecessary expense. You’ll often find good package deals early or late season too.
  4. If possible, go somewhere that offers alternatives to skiing for those afternoons when you feel like a change – or for the rest of the week if you give up on day two.
  5. Consider your budget: North America and some Alpine resorts are great places in which to flex your credit limit, but miserable places in which to economise. Lift passes, lunches, tuition and rental equipment all cost. Eastern Europe is a cheaper alternative and less primitive these days, but many people will be happier in a small, modest Austrian or Italian village.
  6. Try a catered chalet. These offer good-value alternatives to hotels and offer a cosy, friendly environment. Hire the whole place for your group or make new friends by taking a room in a shared chalet. Self-catering is flexible, but could cost you more if eating out every night rather than actually catering for yourselves.
  7. Rent your equipment: The skis/board and boots that are suitable when you start out will not remain suitable for long. Rent in your resort, so that you can chop and change as necessary.
  8. Borrow clothing, or buy cheap kit, in case you never ski again. If you do buy gear, go for jackets that you would wear outdoors elsewhere.
  9. Have a lesson or two before you go. Indoor snow centres can be great fun, and it will give you a head start when you come to tackle the real thing.
  10. Consider an alternative to the main ski school. British-run or similar outfits often run smaller, more personal classes.

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