Never in my life have I had a want, a hankering or a desire to stick two planks on my feet and throw myself off a slippery slope. Not even a morsel of my body has been inclined to do so.
Don’t get me wrong; the snowy scenery, the hot chocolates in log cabins, the permittance for living in my double-bobble hat, now that appeals to me. (Especially in the name of my love of Hygge) But a ski holiday would be wasted on someone with absolutely no intention to ski.
– An avid skier. 15 years of practice. Hundreds of slopes under his belt. And to my dismay a passion to do it over and over again.
I can’t quite remember how it happened, but one way or another I agreed to join the annual family ski holiday to Austria. (Though this did fall nicely in line with two of my new year’s resolutions: to keep on learning, and to face my fears)
And, boy am I glad I did!
Here’s my journey – a beginners guide to skiing. From crying at every thought of a ski, to grinning my way down an icy slope. (Overdosing on rescue remedy included)
UK Skiing Lessons
I decided to take some skiing lessons on home turf before throwing myself head first (hopefully not literally) into skiing. Also because everyone I was going away with had been skiing before they could speak, I at least wanted to know how to do up a boot and click into a ski.
I did a fair bit of research on different indoor slopes and types of courses but settled with The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. Mainly because they offered an intense 5-hour beginners lesson for only about £20 more than a 2 hour one. I can’t recommend this enough – you’re placed in a group of 10, all of whom can’t get a ski boot on at 10am, but are following each other in a neat snake down the main slope by 4pm.
(I also went for a 1-hour private lesson after that to banish any bad habits. Then dragged Matt along with a 3-hour evening lift pass so that he could check out my ability [and also because he was fairly jealous I’d been on the slopes before him this year])
All The Gear (no idea)
It’s fairly well known that skiing can get quite expensive. And looking at kitting yourself out with the clothing you’ll need before you even get there can be slightly daunting. The essentials you’ll need are:
- Base layer (either just a top or trousers too if it’s super cold)
- Light middle layer
- Salopettes (the super attractive warm, waterproof trousers)
- Ski jacket
- Ski socks
- Ski goggles
- Ski helmet
- Ski gloves
- Snood (optional)
- Snow boots (optional)
Yes, this may sound a lot. But rest assured there are easy ways around forking out.
For a base layer, I wore long sleeved sports tops which I already had = £0
For a middle layer, I wore microfleece jumpers I again already had for walking = £0
For salopettes, I added the Topshop Sno ones below to my Christmas list (a viable option as most ski holidays are likely to take place after the Christmas period) = £0
For a ski jacket, and my best trick yet, I headed to eBay. I found a few people who had done what I was trying not to do – spent lots of money on fancy skiing equipment, only to go on a weeks holiday and never want to go again. Luckily for me, this meant I landed a £160 jacket, worn for barely a week, for just £20. RESULT.
//shopsensewidget.shopstyle.com/#/?options=%7B%22widgetId%22%3A%225ac1ec92be7a4468e25c9d1b%22%2C%22version%22%3A1%2C%22pid%22%3A%22uid4864-40782808-96%22%2C%22size%22%3A200%2C%22columns%22%3A4%2C%22rows%22%3A1%2C%22url%22%3A%22https%3A%2F%2Fapi.shopstyle.co.uk%2Fapi%2Fv2%22%2C%22iframeHeight%22%3A275%2C%22iframeWidth%22%3A920%7DThe two optional items: a snood and snow boots, do come in handy but aren’t essential. The snood was great for keeping out the wind and snow on more bitter days, and the boots super warm for walking around the town after a snowfall. Both of which you could swap with a scarf and walking boots/sturdy shoes.
No not the Cameron Diaz type… though the snowy landscape was rather romantic.
My biggest blocker to skiing was the fear. Mind over matter has never been more relevant. I don’t like not being in control, and I felt that skiing would be me with two polished planks on my feet, set on top of a slippery slope and sent flying down to my death. This, unbelievably, was not the case. I had way more control than I imagined and could stop when, and where, I wanted.
This didn’t mean that I didn’t still freak out. As soon as we landed and I took one look at the mountains, I panicked. Getting up in the morning knowing I was heading up one, I cried. Matt putting me on a huge scary *read not at all that huge or scary* chairlift on my first afternoon, I cry panicked. So I reverted to my school days and turned to ‘rescue remedy’ – a calming flower essence. I’d drop some of the liquid under my tongue, as well as into my water in the morning, and then chew the sweets on the bus to the slope. It seemed to calm me down and get me in the right frame of mind to navigate the snow. I’m not afraid to admit that it’s probably completely psychological, but like I said – mind over matter.
I also then had a 2-hour private lesson on my third day. Whilst my instructor did make me look ‘through the window‘ of my skis down the mountain which I’d desperately been trying to avoid, it did boost my confidence hugely and meant that I enjoyed the rest of the holiday a whole lot more. beginners guide to skiing
Once I’d got the hang of it and didn’t have to concentrate on ‘weight down… up… down‘ so much I could actually admire the beauty of my surroundings. I had an absolutely wonderful time skiing down slopes I never dreamed I’d have the courage to, with 5 incredibly supportive family members around me, and I don’t think I held them up too much.
And hey, I even got a bit of a thrill from the chairlifts in the end!
Beginners Guide To Skiing | Share on Pinterest:
Beginners Guide To Skiing