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Top tips for your first time skiing

Monday 4 January 2016

I’ll be honest, I had no burning desire to go skiing. Really, it just wasn’t something that I had much interest in. I saw it as a middle class activity for those who wore Barbour and who’s Dads liked golf and had a cocktail cabinet.

However a month ago I found myself in Val D’isere saying the term “Blue Bird Day”, drinking Vin Chaud and finding myself very comfortable indeed. Needless to say my outwardly view was wrong, and I may have caught the skiing bug. Yes, you may say “I told you so”.

I had so many ideas in my head about what skiing would be like, and most of them were wrong, so I thought I’d put together a some tips for your first time skiing. Thing’s I’d have liked to have known, and some little nuggets of info from one newbie to another.

 Don’t get a hotel, get a host.

You may have heard the term Chalet Girl, or the more correct term Chalet Host. Well they are going to be your new best friends. Going Skiing is incredibly complicated and has so many moving parts. Having a host means some and potentially all of these parts of are sorted out for you. This may sound like some luxury granted only to those of fortune, but it’s incredibly common in skiing.

Not only are your meals all prepared and cooked for you- do you really want to have to eat into your ski time by shopping for groceries? Transport around the resort is covered, to and from the airport and someone incredibly knowledgeable of the resort is on hand to ask about the nursery slopes and even the best bars.

Again only having been once, I only have one recommended company, but Powder White really were nothing short of amazing.

Ski Wear- Let’s be realistic

Once you know where your staying you’ll want to prepare what you’re going to wear when skiing. For your first time I can guarantee you’ll be over thinking it. I came out of Snow and Rock looking like I was going on an arctic expedition for a month. So let me break it down a little for you.
Now it all depends what time of year you go as the weather gets colder and the wind harsher. However you do not need to spend a fortune on gear. I’ll tell you right now, not everyone is dressed up to the nines. There’s a lot of plain, discreet clothing.

Also I bought very pricey base layers as I was so paranoid about the cold and yet because they were so thick, I ended up being so warm I had to cast off my mid layer. My thermals were from Icebreaker however M&S thermal come up time and time again as being amazing and are a third of the price.

Now the outer layer, everyone wants to looks super stylish on the slopes, however the prices can get a little silly. I found Bench was a good mid-point on price and style- plus my jacket and trousers from them were made of thinsulate- and all the little accessories, I found Roxy to be the best for.

Inside wear- It’s very casual.

You may see all the celebrities in their moon boots and Ushanka- if you don’t know what that is, it just proves you don’t need to wear one- however again, everything is very casual. Even going to a club, everyone is just in leggings or jeans and a jumper. Just embrace it.

I recommend getting some snug layers to wrap up in and maybe a pair of furry boots. I got all my knitwear from George at Asda, including this cardigan wrap which was so warm and looked so stylish, and this quirky popcorn jumper, which I went clubbing in. They have some fantastic pieces at the moment, and at a steal of a price, you won't mind if they get some snow on them.

Get some lessons with as small as group as possible.

Skiing is such an individual thing. For some reason I still can’t fathom, I took to skiing with relative ease, however others in my group struggled to get down a baby hill without landing on their bum. In a group of 20, it can ether go that the fast learners don’t get to grow or the slow ones get left behind. I had a group of 5 (two of my group above didn't need lessons) and it was just perfect. I could ski well in theory, but my technique was off, and my left leg would sort of trail behind- apparently a sign of weak muscles. I got the attention I needed to try and correct this individual point.

Let go of fear... and embarrassment

The first time I put on my skis it was the weirdest sensation. My calves were doing things I didn't think possible, and essentially the idea of sliding down a gradient on two planks just sounded stupid. my advice though is to just roll with it. Just let go of any fear, and just go for it. Fear is what will hold you back and more than likely cause you to fall. You see a huge drop in the slope coming towards you- do not panic. Panic will make you fall. To go into it with a 'whats the worse that can happen?' attitude. If you fall, you fall, but you'll know to try something different next time.

Oh and to go  with that, don't be an idiot and try to look 'cool'. Let go of any attitude you have about not wanting to embarrass yourself. Trust me I saw those women- yes sadly it nearly always is women- and I just pitted them standing there all aloof. 

Take a rucksack.

Honestly this will be a life saver. I didn’t and I found my pockets filled with heavy random crap that I wished I could have just stowed away neatly on my back. Yes, you’ll want to take your phone for some photos, maybe you have a go pro and selfie stick too. Then there’s maybe a bobble hat, and sunglasses for when you’re having lunch. Maybe you brought water? Ski jackets have big pockets, but all that bulk gets very annoying.

Bring deep heat

I can tell you right now, after your first day of skiing, taking your ski boots off will be the best feeling ever. Your calves will hurt like nothing you’ve felt before. My advice is take some deep heat, and when you’re in your chalet, get that stuff on ASAP. It’ll make it much easier for day 2.

Après Ski- It’s very casual.

Again, think chilled. I’m not sure at all why I was so panicky. I was trying to plan my bar outfit beforehand, learn some cool ski terms when chatting to all the fancy skiers and got my knickers in a right twist. Seriously, Après Ski, is just having a few after skiing drinks with your friends. It’s really nothing to spectacular. A couple of Vin Chaud and then we headed back to the chalet. Oh and yes, you do go straight from the slopes in your ski gear.

But partying is a big thing

Around 11:30-midnight that’s when the party kicks off. Again, dress code leggings and a jumper, but the clubs do get absolutely rammed. However there is no pretentious crap, girls standing around batting eyelids and posing to get the attention of some footballer. Here, everyone just wants to dance, drink and have a good time… and then still ski at 9am. Stamina.

Watch some videos beforehand

You'll just understand what it's like far better. Like mine for example...

Honestly, I came away from skiing absolutely in love. All my rather stupid thoughts about skiing were just wrong. It is absolutely brilliant. I can't tell you how much I loved it. You could definitely say I've caught the bug.

If your unsure whether it is for you, try a long weekend. I only went for 4 days, so it's not exclusive for a week. Make 2016 the year you try something new.


  1. Great post! I'm going for the first time in Feb and this has been so helpful! :) xx


  2. Hey! Fab post, a really enjoyable read! I would make a couple of little comments. To try and get rid of the pain of the boots you can try rubbing vaseline or suncream all around your feet each morning before putting your socks on, this is a good way to prevent blisters and after a few days you won't need to anymore!

    I would dispute the backpack as a beginner. I qualified as a ski instructor under the Canadian system and we were told to encourage people, particularly beginners, not to wear backpacks. While extremely convenient they can completely throw off your posture and then you can learn bad habits! Instead just stop regularly for water so you don't have to carry it!

    Such a good post though!