Before you make the long journey out to the mountains of Europe it is easy to try out skiing or snowboarding much closer to home. The indoor slopes across the UK, such as Snowtrax in Dorset, provide a great opportunity to discover your passion for snow sports. If you’ve never seen snow before then you can get your first taste here before splashing out for a big holiday. With both gear rental and lessons available these indoor snow domes are a great starting point.
Skiing for beginners
Get all the information you need to prepare for your very first ski holiday
If you’ve just booked or are thinking of booking your first ever skiing or snowboarding holiday, there might be a chance you’re feeling a little apprehensive – and that’s absolutely fine.
Sure, gliding down a slippery mountain strapped to a board or two does sound a little daunting. Trust us though; in practice skiing is huge amounts of fun and is easier than you might think. And like most things in life, it’s made even easier with a little forward planning. Follow our guide on skiing for beginners to make your first foray onto the slopes as fun as possible.
Try it first & get to the right place
All ski resorts have skiing and snowboarding slopes for beginners, but you’ll have a lot more fun if you go somewhere that offers a wider range of easy runs. This way, you won’t get bored going down the same green run over and over. If you’ve got kids in tow, make sure to pick a resort where it’s possible to ski in and out of your accommodation. Walking long distance in snow boots is hard enough for adults, let alone junior skiers.
If you’re taking little kids for their first ski holiday, Avoriaz is ideal. The resort is completely pedestrianised, making it much safer for kids to explore, has numerous snow gardens and playgrounds for the little ones to get acquainted to skiing in a safe area, and has the Aquariaz water park for some slippery fun of a different kind. It’s also got access to a huge ski area of 650km that extends into Switzerland, so it’s hard to imagine getting bored. You can also ride around the town in a horse-drawn sleigh, which is fun for everyone.
The sister resorts of Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d’Huez are both renowned for having excellent facilities for beginners, regardless of age. Alpe d’Huez has a high density of green slopes, giving beginners the chance to ski a great variety of slopes without testing your ability too early on.
Les Deux Alpes caters well for kids of all ages, with the Domain’s own baby snow device – a snowboard with handlebars, a saddle and a handle for parents to hold on to – making it possible for children as young as a year old to take to the slopes. Older kids can hurl themselves off a ski jump into a giant air bag or ride ice gliders and snow Segways. Les Deux Alpes also has a family-friendly attitude to après, which means the kids can join in the fun once the skiing is done for the day.
Get kitted out
When it comes to packing the right clothing, leave nothing to chance. Our packing guide has a list of everything you’ll need but, in short, there are two things you need to prepare for: cold and wet. Snow is both of those things and, as a beginner, you’ll end up sitting in snow quite often over your first few days.
Looking fashionable is great, but don’t sacrifice practicality for it. Get a comfortable, warm and waterproof ski jacket and salopettes and stock up on ski socks too. Ski gloves are hugely important as well, and, again, make sure these are warm, comfortable and waterproof.
Make sure nothing rubs or itches either.
Before you even set foot on a mountain, it’s imperative to have the right equipment, especially as a beginner. Don’t borrow skis or a snowboard from someone else. Your height, weight and ability will determine the equipment you use, so it’s essential to hire your own.
Read our guide to sizing to find out the right way to measure skis, snowboards and boots, but if you’re hiring your equipment from us, our dedicated staff at the resort will ensure that you head out with the right gear from the off. At Club Med, we carry top brands, such as Rossignol, and all equipment is hired and stored right at the resort, to make life much more convenient.
We strongly advise beginners and kids to wear a helmet on the slopes as well.
Skiing is exercise, and exercise is a lot easier when you’re in shape. Prepare your body for a holiday of twisting and turning by starting an exercise regime in the run-up. Follow our exercise guide or look up dedicated exercise videos online to condition your body. Skiing and snowboarding is a lot of fun for beginners but it’s also hard work, so getting fit will make it much easier and help you get the most out of your time on the slopes.
Getting fit in advance of your holiday will also help to prevent any injury and speed up the recovery time of sore post-piste muscles, which everyone gets from time to time.
As a first timer, you’re going to need help from a professional to learn the basics and thankfully ski school is included on a Club Med holiday. Watching tutorials online can help you before you get there, but there’s no substitute for being out on a real slope, guided by a ski instructor. Club Med ski and snowboard schools run from Monday to Friday, starting at 9am, breaking for lunch and then heading out again in the afternoon. Lessons cater for everyone from beginners to black runs, so you can keep learning as your skills progress.
If you’re a parent who’s taking children for the first time, we’d recommend sending them to ski school so that they start off learning from accredited instructors. Our internationally qualified ski and snowboard instructors will give your children a fantastic introduction to snow sports. They will quickly develop good skiing or boarding technique in a safe and fun learning environment.