/ first time skiing
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PS Flaine is a great resort to learn, not much charm but huge ski area.
You might want to try Norway - great ski culture, good snow, approachable people.
But beware of the Trolls
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.
I am checking out as many countries and resorts as possible.
There is so much choice.
Hope it all pans out.
Then, when you are hooked, you can start to spend lots of time and money on ski gear!
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.
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.
I am checking out those resorts - Val Thorens and Alpe Huez - at the moment and they seem to be descent.
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.
Can't advise on ski slopes for you since I'm based in the midlands and use those in Manchester, Castleford, Tamworth and Telford.
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.
> 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!
A good start then.
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.
Do you know Marcus Boal I meant?
There are hordes of British ski instructors in the Alps too.
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
> 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.
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.
Aye, apart from a complete lack of easy pistes home.
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.
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.
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!
Only the English obsess about run colour, snow quality is more important.
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.
He is a friend of mine who lives in Guildford and knows your dryslope Ski place.
Some people say Mily Way are in Italy and some say Alpe d'Huez.
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.
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?
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.
I have checked out the areas in the milky way area and most of them seem to be for intermediates.
Which do you recommend?
I think it will be Europe for sure now.
Dryslope skiing In Guildford and then either Hemel Hampstead or Milton Keynes Snowdome.
Do you mean Telford?
Are you calling me a troll?
There is a ski and sbowboard centre in Telford.
Can anyone advise me a good tour company to go with please.
I know Nielson, CrystalSki, Inghams and DirectSki.
Are you talking about the resort in Austria?
It is spelt Tyrol.
Thank you Earl.
Ski gear costs a BOMB!
I checked on the Ellis Brigham Website and instore after my Ice Climbing session.
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?
My advice: snowboarding ;)
Skiing is great, but I made the switch to snowboarding last year and know where my future lies!
> Is Cervinia a good beginner resort in Aosta?
Dry-slope or snowdome it really doesn't matter which but either before you go would be good.
How about both :)
I want to do ski mountaineering, ski touring etc. as well as ski on pistes!
I found out that from several websites.
I think I will do dry-slope and snowdome.
Elsewhere on the site
Over the years I've been asked many times about work as a Rope Access technician, often by Instructors and Guides working for... Read more
The Christmas Gift Guide at Outside.co.uk Check out our top selection of Christmas Gift Ideas for climbers,... Read more
Halifax-based John Colton (see his UKC Gallery here) has an art exhibition in Courmayeur, Italy (the Italian side of Mont Blanc)... Read more
Make the most of this months HALF PRICE OFFER on the Five Ten Guide Tennie Mid!! Designed as a hybrid approach and... Read more
2012 saw the release of the beautiful first volume of definitive Yorkshire Gritstone climbing, produced by the YMC with Robin... Read more