Gemma, from our Ripon store, has been snowboarding since 2004 when she went on a university ski trip and was instantly hooked. So much so she signed up to be a seasonaire in the French Alps before joining the Mountain Warehouse team. Since then, it’s been her mission to get staff and customers interested in the sport. Here, she lets us in on her top tips for first time skiers.
Before you Go
- Take plenty of socks with you so you have spares and enough for wearing with snowboots in the evenings. Wearing socks you have worn all day is not pleasant!
- Pack pain killers and deep heat for the morning after your first day on the slopes as you will have used muscles you didn’t know you had!
- Don’t forget to take your insurance details with you- very important if you have an accident.
Before You Hit the Slopes
- Do a few basic stretches before you go out to warm the muscles, this might sound a bit silly but it will stop you getting cramp and strains throughout the day.
- Always check the weather forecast and pay attention to any avalanche warnings. Do not go down a piste that is closed even if you have been down it the day before, the conditions can change overnight.
- Don’t wear cotton next to the skin as cotton when wet (you are likely to sweat a bit!) will make you very cold.
- Put suncream underneath your nose and chin so you don’t get burnt from the glare off the snow – this is really painful!
- Put your mobile phone in a pouch, attach it to your jacket and put it in a zipped pocket!
On the Slopes
- If possible avoid skiing/boarding in a backpack as it affects your balance and posture if you are a first timer.
- Take a piste map with you- not only do these show you where the skiing and boarding runs and lifts are but marks out first aid posts where you can get help from ski patrol if needed.
- To protect your eyes always wear sunglasses even when just wandering about the resort.
- Take a chocolate bar in your pocket, it’s ideal for an energy boost whilst out on the slopes.
- After a day on the slopes your skis/board are likely to be quite wet. To dry them put a towel over a radiator and put you boots upside down on the towel so the heat goes up into the boot. They will dry out overnight and be nice and warm for the morning. Do the same with your ski gloves.
- Try not to go out in your ski jacket in the evening so it can dry out. If you do go out in your ski jacket take out your lift pass because if it gets lost you’ll need to buy another and this can be expensive. Just remember to put it back in the next morning!
- Always take a spare pair of gloves for walking in the resort in the evenings as it’s too cold not to be covered even if you are only walking a short distance.
- Never let drunk people walk home by themselves! Trenches, taking freezing melt water down the mountain, run along the roads and they are often not clearly marked. It’s easy for people, after sherry or two at the ski lodge, to fall in as they are not familiar with the layout. Falling in trenches or stopping to rest (and falling asleep in the snow) can easily lead to hypothermia and, worst case, even death.
At the End of Your Trip
- Give your ski/snowboard instructor a small tip at the end of your weeks lessons. They don’t get paid a huge amount and would really appreciate it!