/ first time skiing

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Mountain Spirit - on 13 Oct 2013
Hello.

This winter I plan to go skiing for the first time at a ski school in Scotland to learn how to ski.

Would it be a good idea to book a lesson at an indoor ski centre first and attending The London Ski and Snowboard Show?

In Scotland how long should I spend at the school?

Any other advice would be helpful to?

Bye

Savvas
Doug on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: If you live in London (suggested by your other posts) go to the Alps rather than Scotland, much more likely to get good snow & reasonable weather - Scottish skiing can be good but all to often there's limited snow, appalling weather & its crowded, none of which will help you learn. And I suspect going to the Alps will be cheaper.
Mountain Spirit - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Doug:

Hello Doug.

Thanks for your advice and your reply.

Where would in The Alps be a great place to learn?

Any English speaking ski schools you recommend?

Do you have any advice on ski fitness?

Bye

Savvas
davidbeynon - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

I really like the Aosta valley resorts. I learned at "La Thuile", and found the range of slopes ideal.

As for ski fitness, a good level of walking & cycling fitness will help but you will still find yourself using new muscle groups.
Mountain Spirit - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to davidbeynon:

Hello David.

I know about the Aosta valley from The Outdoors Show and checked out the website for Aosta and La Thuile.

La Thuile seems to be an ideal place to learn and according to many websites has a good range of slopes for everyone.

Do you recommend cycling and walking then?

Any other training you can recommend?

Is it true that you need strong thighs and a strong core for skiing?

I have been doing standing yoga poses and the chair pose (aka wall-sit) to build very strong legs for skiing and winter mountain stuff.

Bye

Savvas
ripper - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: definitely go for the alps rather than scotland - scotland can be good if the conditions are right but if you're booking in advance it's a big risk. Italy tends to be a bit cheaper than France/Switzerland/Austria and the resorts in the Dolomiti Superski area offer a combination of easy-ish pistes, lots of artificial snow-making capacity and lovely scenery. Or the Pyrenees might be worth a look - Andorra is probably still a bit cheaper than the big Alpine resorts.
mountain_bikerider - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Look at La Plagne for a great first time resort. So much accommodation so holidays can be found cheaper. If you have never skied before then a lesson or two at a snowdome will make the week more enjoyable. Once out there try and book into an english speaking ski school for the week (normally mornings or afternoon sessions)and have some fun. Ski school will move you up and down groups depending on skill level. As for ski fitness the fitter you are the more enjoyable it will be. Squats, lunges and leg work outs will all help ski fitness. I am sure there must be tutorials online.
Mountain Spirit - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to ripper:

Hello ripper.

Thanks for the advice

I am definately going to the alps this year for skiing.

I checked out the Dolomiti Superski area but I cannot find anything abouty the slopes and it is all in Italian.

What do you mean by easy-ish routes - I know a bit about the grading system for slopes?!

I am checking out the Andorra ski website at the moment.

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to mountain_bikerider:

Hello mountain_bikerider

Thanks for your advice.

I have checked out La Plagne and foe me a great contender for my first skiing session.

I have just found out that their is a Snowdome in East London.

I do squats and lunging yoga stances anyway along with standing leg yoga poses.

Bye

Savvas
earlsdonwhu - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Look at smaller resorts than La Plagne etc. You would be paying a lot for the lift pass but won't have the skills to exploit the vast terrain/ many lifts.
Alex Pryor - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:
I agree. Go for a smaller resort to save money on lift pass.
You don't need a big area for your first week.
It is difficult to recommend specific resorts - there are so many to choose from.
But the tour companies usually give each resort stars for suitability for beginners etc. Look out for that.
I'm working in Ellmau and Going in Austria this winter, they seem pretty good for beginners.
Andorra could be suitable for you, or if you really want to save money maybe Bulgaria would be suitable, but check with others, I've never skied there.
Good luck!
Get as many lessons in as you can on indoor slopes. You won't have to start from scratch in the Alps, you'll be in a higher ski school class, and you'll be able to do so much more skiing when you get there.
lenny weber - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
You could try the Pyrenees, that's where I first skied. The altitude and long runs of the Alps aint necessary when you begin, also it'll be cheaper and just as much fun.
A need to know is how a ski works, how it turns. A ski has a side cut, a waist, when it turns the ski is at an angle to the snow, the wait of the skier forms an ark and the ski follows that radius.
To initiate a turn your wait must be in advance of the centre of lateral resistance of the ski. This means leaning forward, getting on your toes, this is where the poles come in because leaning forward down a long slippery ski run is so counter intuitive. So turning right means that as you lean forward you plant the right pole to the right of the right ski tip while transferring your weight to the inside edge of the left ski and vice-versa, so in a sense you ski round you pole.
If there are snow covered mountain roads used by skiers to, or access other parts of the resort, you could spend some time on these because they are not so tiring as the pistes, because the generally have a very easy gradient, so give you plenty of time moving on skis.
Yes of course there's my special method of ski self improvement. When knackered and taking a break at the SIDE OF THE PISTE! Or having, say a coffee, watch the good skiers, get a feel for what they doing, it does help.
Most of all, make sure you have comfortable boots.
Alex Pryor - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
I think this might all be a bit complex for a complete beginner, who maybe needs to perfect the snowplough first.
Also, I think it may be illegal to ski down roads in ski resorts, and if not could be disconcerting when a bus comes round the bend.
AG - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: you should also check out the milky way area in italy (sauze d oulx, sestriere, claviere etc). Bardonechia it also a good beginner area and quite cheap.
Graham6664 - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
Hi,
You do not mention numbers of people going, I assume you are not going alone. With regards to ski school, it is more expensive but far more cost effective if you book private lessons, most resorts have many companies offering this, if you share this with whoever you are going with ie. a two to one pupil instructor ratio the cost is obvoiusly halved. Beginners ski school will consist of a lot of standing on a nursery slope waiting for your turn to go maybee 100 yards before you fall. If lucky in a two hour lesson you will get 15 mins tuition. with a private lesson you will get two hours of tuition in a day, my son learnt more in a day in a private lesson than he did in the entire week the previous year. Its a little more expensive but worth every penny, just my opinion but I would certainly reccommend learning this way.
Have a great trip where ever you go.
Graham.
PS Flaine is a great resort to learn, not much charm but huge ski area.
paraffin on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

You might want to try Norway - great ski culture, good snow, approachable people.

But beware of the Trolls
earlsdonwhu - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Alex Pryor: I thought that the new teaching with clients on shaped skis pretty much avoided snowploughs.

I admit it is pretty useful when in all sorts of gnarly conditions but the days of spending ages on snowploughs and then even longer on stem christies, before worrying about trying to get skis together, have gone.


To the OP.... just go to a smallish resort where you can get instruction in English. At busy times eg school holidays this may be tricky to find. Andorra generally has lots of Brits working out there. However, there are loads of options and unless you get a specific individual who comes recommended, it is always going to be a bit of a lottery. If you are vaguely coordinated and used to a snowy mountainous environment ( which you can hurl yourself down) you will have a good time. Getting mileage is important to reinforce / practise what the lesson covered but you don't need a huge piste area. Do invest in plenty of lessons. I and most Brits don't get enough -- despite having skied for at least 3 weeks most years for over 30 years, I know that I would have become proficient much faster with lessons. Also ingrained errors don't get established.
Mountain Spirit - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Hello.

I am checking out as many countries and resorts as possible.

There is so much choice.
earlsdonwhu - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Have fun. The research before a holiday adds to the experience! In reality, you can go to a great resort but if the snow is crap then you won't enjoy it as much as if you had gone to a supposedly crap resort but had brilliant snow!

Hope it all pans out.
Then, when you are hooked, you can start to spend lots of time and money on ski gear!
Mountain Spirit - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Graham6664:

I think I am going alone.

None of my family immediate family are skiiers or interested - although my brother and his partner have snowboarded in France.

I think I will go with the private/ 1:1 lesson idea.

I have checked Flaine out and seems as good as any resort.

Thanks.

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

Hello Leny.

This is very interesting and I will keep it in mind for the indoor lessons as well as the outdoor slopes.

I watch better climbers at the indoor walls and it does improve my climbing.

Bye

Savvas
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Don't wish to pi$$ on your parade but Flaine is not a good resort for beginners. (All resorts say they are - they lie.) Val Thorens or Alpe D'Huez are much better.
David Bennett - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: +1 for Aosta, although I would recommend Pila as a great place to learn. The instruction is great, pistes we'll maintained and did I mention it is cheap..... Best exercise for skiing is skiing, there is no substitute for lessons and mileage in the UK whether on plastic or indoors.
earlsdonwhu - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: They may have suitable slopes............ until a white out when a few trees can be reassuring. As ever it's compromises.
Mountain Spirit - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Hello Rob.

I am checking out those resorts - Val Thorens and Alpe Huez - at the moment and they seem to be descent.

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to David Bennett:

Hello David.

I like the Aosta valley to.

I thought Pila was an intermediate - mainly red runs - resort!

Do you know if The Beckton Snowdomne is open yet?

I know there is a dry slope centre in Guildford.

Bye

Savvas
David Bennett - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Hi, yeah the piste map does make it look like an intermediate place. The further you go up the mountain the steeper it gets, but only when you take the couis lifts is it any more than moderate. However the instructors there know how to link all the steeper sections or all the flatter sections so they make up routes suitable for their groups. When I was there there were complete beginners who coped fine. Overall it is quite a small resort with few queues. Can get a bit icy and exciting on the final couple of hundred metres into town at the end of the day.

Can't advise on ski slopes for you since I'm based in the midlands and use those in Manchester, Castleford, Tamworth and Telford.
Mountain Spirit - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to David Bennett:

Hi David.

I think the nearest to me is Milton Keynes or The Snow Centre in Hemel Hampstead.

There is a lot of research to do before booking a trip.

Bye

Savvas
lenny weber - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Alex Pryor:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
> I think this might all be a bit complex for a complete beginner, who maybe needs to perfect the snowplough first.
> Also, I think it may be illegal to ski down roads in ski resorts, and if not could be disconcerting when a bus comes round the bend.

I wish some one had told me how a ski works when I began, would have saved a great deal of time. As for skiing roads, I obviously meant those on the mountain not used by traffic during the season,. Sigh!

avictimoftheDrpsycho - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)

> I am checking out those resorts ... they seem to be descent.

A good start then.


ads.ukclimbing.com
karinbradbury - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Hi. I work at the slope in Guildford. It is a really good idea to have lessons in the uk before you go, because you can then spend more of your holiday skiing rather than falling over on the nursery slopes. Plus we all speak very good English, so it's easier to get the finer points across. People who learn on a dry slope tend to learn better technique, and therefore start off with a better base to build on. You can learn on an indoor snow slope, but 1:1 tuition is very expensive, and actually the surface on a dry slope is more uniform than snow, so I think it's easier to learn the basics on. Once you've learned the basics, then go and try them out on an indoor slope! The slope is called Christ's College Ski Club, look us up on Google!
Mountain Spirit - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to willexodus:

Hello Will.

Thanks
Mountain Spirit - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to karinbradbury:

Hello Karin.

Thanks for your advice.

I will book a session there and see what happens.

Do you Marcus Boal?

I did a very little bit of dry slope skiing when I was at secondary school on a geography field trip.


Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to karinbradbury:


Hello Karin.

Do you know Marcus Boal I meant?

Bye

Savvas
karinbradbury - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: No, I don't, who is he?
Dogwatch - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to karinbradbury:
> Plus we all speak very good English, so it's easier to get the finer points across.

There are hordes of British ski instructors in the Alps too.

> You can learn on an indoor snow slope, but 1:1 tuition is very expensive, and actually the surface on a dry slope is more uniform than snow, so I think it's easier to learn the basics on.

Hmmm to that. Dry slopes are significantly less slippery than snow which, paradoxically, makes skiing harder.

To the OP, the main British skiers' forum is Snowheads. There's not a lot of beginner chat there but you could try http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewforum.php?f=11

Dogwatch - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

>
> I am checking out those resorts - Val Thorens and Alpe Huez - at the moment and they seem to be descent.

I'm not really the right person to recommend beginners resorts since although I'm far from expert, it's a long time since I was a beginner. However Val Thorens is very high, which in the Alps is good for snow cover in early and late season but also means it can be nasty in bad weather e.g. vulnerable to strong winds, no trees. Wouldn't leap to my mind as suitable for beginners.

I'm fond of Alpe d'Huez but it's south facing, which means late in the season especially, slopes near the village are liable to be rock-hard in the morning and slush in the afternoon. Also, read what http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/france/alpe-dhuez/6760489/Alpe-dHuez-piste-guide.html has to say about beginners slopes.

Every single resort will claim to be great for beginners, doesn't mean it is so. Whatever you do, don't go to Val d'Isere, which is fantastic for intermediates and experts with deep wallets but completely wasted on beginners.

My top tip is find people to go with. Even if you don't know them well. Skiing is ten times the fun with other people.


hang_about - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
Going on your own pushes the price up a lot as most places charge a hefty single room supplement. If you're flexible on time and location (and are outside of school holidays) then booking last minute can get you some great deals. I've had trips to Canada for 300. You can come unstuck if there's a snow drought, but I've never had a problem.
Gael Force - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Dogwatch: Val d'Isere is good for beginners.
Sir Chasm - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Gael Force:
> (In reply to Dogwatch) Val d'Isere is good for beginners.

Aye, apart from a complete lack of easy pistes home.
John Stainforth - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Another NO vote for Scotland, I'm afraid (it's where I first starting skiing BTW) but a big YES vote for getting really good instruction right at the beginning. My preference would not be for English instructors BTW: most continental ski instructors have been skiing all their lives are generally vastly betting skiers.
Dogwatch - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Gael Force:
> (In reply to Dogwatch) Val d'Isere is good for beginners.

In what possible way? It's one of the most expensive resorts outside Switzerland for accommodation, food and night-life. It has tiny nursery slopes and the ones that there are are also a transit zone for skiers returning to the village centre. There are zero easy runs back to village level (and the ones marked easy are not).

I go to Val d'Isere quite often. I love it but it's for confident intermediates and above.

hang_about - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Gael Force:
> (In reply to Dogwatch) Val d'Isere is good for beginners.
Not really. It's a fierce and narrow run back to the resort which funnels in the whole hill. It would be a stiff red anywhere else. For a first timer the Pyrenees is quite good - wide open pistes and plenty of gentle stuff.

Rob Exile Ward on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to hang_about: I'd agree with that. FWIW I think Val Thorens is good - snow sure, and plenty of interesting wide easy slopes to start with, and more interesting pistes to graduate to - though it can be cold. Its where my kids learned to ski, really. And Alpe d'Huez is probably even better, even wider and gentler!

I've found books a good source too, I've enjoyed learning a bit of technique - e.g. rolling your ankles on a gentle slope to turn with minimal effort, or learning forward aggressively in moguls - and then reading the theory to get some sort of coherent whole, so it all fits together.

Lito Tejada Flores had a great book, the main points of which are worth re-iterating - 1) you're nearly always turning, 2) you're nearly always skiing on just one ski, 3) there was a 3rd but I can't remember it!
Gael Force - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Dogwatch: It was fine for my kids to learn, plenty of easy runs, some of which are high which is important. Don't see what price has to do with it, all French resorts are expensive.
Only the English obsess about run colour, snow quality is more important.
karinbradbury - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to Dogwatch: Yes, there are significant numbers of British instructors in the Alps, and I'm not going to go any further into that debate, apart from to say that whilst the instruction is generally very good, it is nearly always more expensive than the local ski schools. And whilst the local instructors probably have been skiing for years, an awful lot of them will have come from a racing background, which doesn't necessarily mean they are any good at teaching beginners.
Dry slopes are less slippery than snow, which means that to be able to ski on them you need to learn correct technique, which is surely what everyone wants to learn ideally? It is very easy to 'cheat' on snow, to do stuff that works at a certain level, but isn't particularly good technique and prevents you from progressing beyond a certain level without having to relearn stuff. My point about dry slopes having a more uniform surface was mostly in relation to indoor snow slopes, which have a tendency to get very chopped up, so that not only do you have a slippery surface to contend with, you also have a lumpy bumpy one. I know for a fact that Hemel slope schedules their beginners courses for the morning wherever possible precisely so that beginners can cope with the snow conditions.
Mountain Spirit - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to karinbradbury:

Hello Karin.

He is a friend of mine who lives in Guildford and knows your dryslope Ski place.

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Hello.

Any ideas?

Some people say Mily Way are in Italy and some say Alpe d'Huez.

Bye

Savvas
LastBoyScout on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Go to France/Italy - cost less for a week there than a long weekend in Scotland (when we tried costing it up a while ago) and better conditions.

Taught a friend of mine to ski at Les Houches - short transfer from Geneva, hire a car/use bus to get up to Chamonix resorts for more scope.

My wife learnt to ski last year in Sestriere - great resort for all abilities. She went from total novice to skiing the women's Olympic downhill course with 3 mornings of ski school and lots of practice.

La Thuile also good - and you can ski into La Rosiere. I've heard the awful long drag lift back has been replaced with a chair lift now, which is much better.

Everywhere will have English speaking instructors.
Mountain Spirit - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to John Stainforth:

Hello John.

Would you suggest me having instruction on a dryslope and then going to an indoor snow centre before going to a resort?

What is your duggestion for a first ski trip?

Bye

Savvas
LastBoyScout on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

My wife had a 2 hour lesson at Hemel before we went, so knew the absolute basics, then 3 mornings of ski school in Sestriere, spending the afternoons skiing with me and my family to practice.

I know others that didn't have lessons before - it really will depend on how well you pick it up. At one end of the scale, prepare to be physically and mentally exhausted until you do - crashing, getting back up and chasing skis is hard work!

The last run down to the village at La Thuile can be a nightmare at the end of the day, as it's a red that funnels the whole resort through (or was when I was there). The good news is you can get the cable car back down and avoid the crush.
Mountain Spirit - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to AG:

Hello.

I have checked out the areas in the milky way area and most of them seem to be for intermediates.

Which do you recommend?

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Hello.

I think it will be Europe for sure now.

Dryslope skiing In Guildford and then either Hemel Hampstead or Milton Keynes Snowdome.

Bye

Savvas
Gael Force - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: The Snowdome at Trollford is excellent, on the left under the bridge.
Mountain Spirit - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Gael Force:

Hi.

Do you mean Telford?

Are you calling me a troll?

Why?

There is a ski and sbowboard centre in Telford.

Mountain Spirit - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Can anyone advise me a good tour company to go with please.

I know Nielson, CrystalSki, Inghams and DirectSki.

Bye

Savvas

Gael Force - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Ski Tiroll
Mountain Spirit - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Gael Force:

Hi.

Are you talking about the resort in Austria?

It is spelt Tyrol.

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Thank you Earl.

Ski gear costs a BOMB!

I checked on the Ellis Brigham Website and instore after my Ice Climbing session.

Bye

Sav
Mountain Spirit - on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Hello.

Sestriere looks descent for beginners and ideal for intermediates.

Is Cervinia a good beginner resort in Aosta?

I hope i pick it up really well.

How good is the Hemel centre?

Bye

Savvas
ads.ukclimbing.com
SARS on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

My advice: snowboarding ;)

Skiing is great, but I made the switch to snowboarding last year and know where my future lies!
OwenM - on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
>
> Is Cervinia a good beginner resort in Aosta?

Yes.

Dry-slope or snowdome it really doesn't matter which but either before you go would be good.

Mountain Spirit - on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to SARS:

Hi

How about both :)

I want to do ski mountaineering, ski touring etc. as well as ski on pistes!

Bye

Savvas
Mountain Spirit - on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to OwenM:

Hello Owen.

I found out that from several websites.

I think I will do dry-slope and snowdome.

Bye

Savvas
mountain_bikerider - on 28 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Try TK MAXX for ski gear. it will be in there soon and some good kit at much reduced prices.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.