Your first skiing holiday can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re taking your family. We ask the experts from the ski Scandinavia teams to share their advice on how to ensure you look like a pro, whether it’s your first skiing holiday or your tenth.
1. How to book your first skiing holiday
The first part is booking, and it’s a good idea to do a bit of research into where you’d like to go and what kind of service levels you’re after. We highly recommend booking your first ski trip (especially your first family ski trip) with a travel agent or direct with a tour operator. They will help ensure that everything goes smoothly and will be on hand to answer questions, book ski hire and arrange lessons and more.
2. Arriving at the resort
You’ll arrive at the airport, check in, fly to your chosen country and on arrival you’ll take your transfer to resort and check into your hotel or apartment for the week. A good tour operator will coordinate all of this so it is as smooth and stress free as travelling can be.
3. Getting your ski equipment
Once you’ve checked into your hotel and settled into your room we suggest you head straight for the ski hire shop. Ski equipment is best booked in advance. It can be tempting to leave it until you get to resort to search for the best price, but in reality most shops will have the same prices and if there are deals to be had your tour operator will have negotiated them directly. Also, if you book through a tour operator there will be someone on hand to help you with choosing and fitting your equipment. You should check with your fitter but generally ski boots should be snug but not uncomfortable and should hold your foot and ankle with a minimal amount of movement. Modern skis should be between chin and eye height and will be fitted to your boot and weight. They use your weight to ensure your ski comes off under the right circumstances (you fall) but stays on while you are skiing. You should make sure you have your (and the rest of your group/family’s) height, weight and shoe size – ideally in cm’s, kg’s and EU size – to help your ski fit go smoothly.
4. Lift passes
You should book your lift passes in advance for the same reasons as your equipment. Lift passes are usually the same price for between 6 and 8 days so you can ski on your arrival and departure days if your flight/transfer times work out. Most lift passes these days are electronic and you just have to place them in your pocket and a sensor will read them and let you through the barrier. There are often different prices for adults and youths, and children (below 6 or 7 years depending on the resort) don’t need a lift pass as long as they are wearing a helmet (which is compulsory for children in most resorts).
5. Ski school
Chances are, if this is your first skiing holiday, then probably you are a beginner skier and ski school becomes an even more important part of your holiday. You (and especially any children in your group) will be spending a large portion of your day in ski school, so it becomes important to choose the right lesson types for you. You can choose between group lessons or private lessons. For group lessons it is worth checking the class size and language(s) spoken by the instructor as well as the start point, some tour operators run their own group lessons and this is usually worth investigating as they can offer perks over regular classes. Private lessons are just for you, and can help you if you want to improve quickly, need to improve your confidence or want to refine a particular part of your technique. Private lessons tend to be the more expensive option so consider this carefully.
Make sure whoever is booking your lessons knows what (if any) skiing experience you have so that they can match you to the right group/instructor. If you have any phobias, confidence issues or physical limitations make sure you chat to your booking agent about this, they may have advice and be able to help you in choosing the right options for you.
6. Not just skiing
A winter holiday doesn’t have to be just about skiing. There are often lots of other things to do in resort, from husky sledding to snowmobiling to relaxing in your hotel pool. Make sure you investigate your options to ensure you get the most from your time in the mountains. A tour operator, if you booked with one, will also be able to tell you what’s available in your resort.
7. Après Ski in Scandinavian Ski Resorts
Après ski in Scandinavia is a bit different to the European Alps. The prices for beer are still a bit (ahem) higher than you’ll be used to back in the UK, but in Scandinavia the price in the mountains is the same price as everywhere else. There are a few resorts and times of year that are renowned for a party atmosphere, but generally prices and a different attitude to drinking means that traditional Après ski is focused on the weekends.
If it’s family after ski that you’re in search of, then look no further than Scandinavia. Most resorts have a comprehensive family orientated activity programme, with loads for children and adults to get involved in. You’ll also find hotel bars with eyelines to the play room and other great touches that mean both you and your family can relax after a day on the slopes.
8. What clothing will you need for skiing?
Thermals (top and bottom), fleece, waterproof jacket and trousers, gloves, goggles and a scarf (preferably of the tube type) are all essential to your skiing trip. Skis/snowboard, boots, poles and a helmet can all be rented in resort. If that still seems like a lot to you for your first trip then have a chat to your tour operator about options for renting clothing. Also, remember that for your first trip the £15 set of thermal underwear from M&S will do just as well as the £150 set from Snow and Rock. If you have any friends or family that ski, or have done in the past, consider asking to borrow certain things, maybe not gloves or thermals, but a jacket or pair of ski trousers shouldn’t be too big an imposition.
No matter where you ski, there is a big temperature difference between December and April so make sure you check out the conditions you can expect and get suggestions about what to bring. Remember multiple thin layers are better than one big layer, and it’s always preferable to be wearing too much and take off a layer than be cold and uncomfortable.
If you’re looking to book your first (or 10th) ski holiday then why not speak to the Ski Scandinavia team to see what we can offer. Give us a call on 0207 199 2015 or contact us here for personalised recommendations. If you want to know more about skiing in Scandinavia why not explore our other blog posts, or find out more about our brands.