Skiing / Snowboarding holiday advice for absolute beginner please!

Home Forum Bike Forum Skiing / Snowboarding holiday advice for absolute beginner please!

Viewing 29 posts - 41 through 69 (of 69 total)
  • Skiing / Snowboarding holiday advice for absolute beginner please!
  • Gotama

    If you go to France I’d suggest asking for an english instructor, there’ll be plenty around. Whilst some of the french guys are good, there are too many that spend a great deal of the day poncing around. And as someone else said less hours with a private instructor and you’ll learn a lot more than the standard ski school group.

    Resort isn’t really that important, in fact i would suggest going to a smaller less popular resort. You won’t need expansive skiing terrain so may enjoy the quieter slopes, maybe somewhere like La Thule in france. Don’t go to Chamonix or St Anton, neither are great beginner places. Chatel is a nice resort as well and the chatel ski area will be perfect for a starter week.

    If you’re going early jan then keep an eye on the snow. Its still very early in the season but the snowfall thus far has been awful across a lot of the alps.


    Another option if going for 2 weeks is canada. Stick to banff and itll work out similar cost to 2 weeks in france. We got a lift pass that included bus to the slopes and covered 10 days in 13 so gave you a rest.

    I would go and buy some boots and have them fitted properly. Badly fitting boots are a nightmare and frankly it’s money well spent offset by the cost of not having to hire to a certain extent.

    I would ski. Skiing and boarding are about the same in terms of difficulty but I think that getting around/ on and off lifts and so on is easier on skis. Also many people find that being able to move your feet independently comes a little easier. Some are doing reds in a few days others take longer. I’d suggest a 121 tutor for a couple of days if you have some natural balance and so on you should be perfectly capable of getting down reds in a week.

    I like Les Arcs it’s high enough has good blues/greens and is not too expensive also you can drop down into the trees if you get a white out.


    “Don’t go to Chamonix or St Anton, neither are great beginner places”

    Le Tour in the Chamonix valley is fantastic for beginners and is relatively quiet too. However of course there is the issue of Chamonix not being a ski resort but a collection of towns scattered up a valley.


    Jools – good boots are useful, but for a first week? It’s a lot of money spent if they don’t like skiing.

    There are also less fitting options in boots designed for beginners, for example, I was told by a boot fitter not to bother with new boots until I had 5-6 weeks experience. I have narrow feet, for boots to fit me properly I’d have to have some relatively aggressive boots not suitable for a beginner. I could’ve gone for beginner boots, but they wouldn’t have fit properly.


    Marky – Banff is a nice place but the half hour/45 min drive everyday to sunshine or louise is a bit of a ballbag.

    Premier Icon mattjg

    You’ll likely learn much more in a couple of good private lessons than a week of ESF style ‘ski school’.

    I’ve both skied and boarded a lot, there is no wrong decision. I tend to ski nowadays because it’s easier to see where you are going, but do what grabs your fancy.

    If I was with a bunch of mates, I’d do whatever the majority is doing.

    Also if you think you may one day want to do ski-touring, that’s much more viable than board-touring (because you can ski uphill but not board uphill), in which case pick skiing as you’re starting to build up the skillset.

    By far the highest risk of injury is collision with other people on the slope, and it won’t be your fault as you’re a newbie, it’ll most likely be an out of control or inconsiderate other person. So go somewhere uncrowded.

    Mid-march to mid-April is great in the alps, best time IMO.

    Ignore any tour ops pumping or dissing resorts based upon early season snowfall, it’s bs they have no idea how the season’s going to pan out, it can change any time.

    You can get boots for 130 quid odd so I’d say it’s worth it.


    Marky – Banff is a nice place but the half hour/45 min drive everyday to sunshine or louise is a bit of a ballbag.

    True. I much prefere sunshine and if you get the last lift to the top (4.30 iirc) you can get the last bus back (6 ish). even if you didnt get up that early it still gives you well over 6 hours of snow time. plenty for anyone. the instructors over there are also ace.

    You can get boots for 130 quid odd so I’d say it’s worth it.

    What if you don’t go skiing again cos you don’t like it? S’a lot of money (to most people) for a one-off trip, in’t it?

    I’d only make that sort of investment if I were going to do something regularly.


    Not if it’s £130 on boots that would be no more comfortable than hire boots.

    Hi Sue
    Glad you took notice of my advice of a week away on the snow.
    Hope you looked at the Neilson site I mentined , and of course Snowheads .
    PistePals are also worth a look if you are in the singletons dept , as they pair up same sex singles for ski trips.
    Mark Warner will also do the same but do not heavily advertise it , and you can therefore end up with a twin room to yourself.
    As for a week away for a newbie ….Sella Ronda Italy . Lots of wide gentle tree lined runs .
    Not massively busy outside school hols ( Snowheads have a holiday spreadshet ) Italians spend 90 mins having lunch, so if you time it right you can have the slopes to yourself .
    Get lessons , ChillfctorE in manc for a couple of hrs , then mornings in resort . It will be information overload , and you can practise in the afternoons at your own pace.
    Do loads of ski specific exercise as learning can be hard work, especially getting up after a comedy tumble . Learn this first!
    Check the numbers on the bindings on your hre skis , IME they will never release early enough for learners . depending on body weight 3 – 4 is usually enough .Overdone bindings can damage ligaments badly as skis are big levers .
    Modern learner skis are easy to learn on as they are shorter requiring less input to control,and once up to carving level, become a doddle


    Not got huge experience, but loved andora.
    Perfect for beginners, reasonably priced and lesson made the holiday!
    Can’t recommend enough!!!



    Book a place in the hotel I showed you, email me for more details! It has so much to offer.

    My email is in my profile.


    Was in same boat couple of years ago but no-one has mentioned Finland yet, bit different but really good for beginners for a number of reasons
    Guaranteed snow from November to May
    Not huge mountains but big enough for beginners
    Dead quiet outside of Finnish holidays
    Everyone speaks perfect English and instructors are fantastic
    No more expensive than Italy and cheaper (lots) than France
    Get an apartment in Ruka where we went and they all have Sauna’s
    Reindeer taxes fantastic (especially in “donner” form)
    Restaurant there serves bear stew only one of a couple of places in Europe that are allowed to
    You can get a sauna bus or take snowmobiles to or from the airport and it’s only 30 mins transfer
    Northern Lights if you’re lucky
    Santa lives there
    Lots of superb non ski activities for when your legs have completely given up on day 5 probably the best single experience of my life was dog sledding with a pack of Siberian huskies, I so want my own racing pack, thought the snowmobiling would be the best but the dogs rock…


    Sestriere/Montgenevre in fact anywhere in Haute alpes and Italian Frontier. Good snow record. Go before christmas or after new year. Jan is great. Avoid February as its mega busy all month. March could be good.

    There are lots of views and opinions, but if your new remember you will ski about 3 hours out of the day as you will be tired, so that in mind think about what you like to do in the spare time.

    Get some skis, get a bit of instruction whilst here in Uk and out in resort.

    If you want to ski tour/rando you need some experience and a guide if you want to stay safe. This can be expensive but is fantastic.

    Murray hamilton is a fantastic guide based in the Ecrin.
    Alpine Guide

    “I can and will be very annoyed at myself if I don’t manage a red run at the bare minimum.”

    Red runs vary in difficulty vastly betweeen countries, resorts an even within the same resort, and conditions can be a big factor. On a board at lest a lot of reds are quite easy when freshlly groomed, and lethal when icy.. Same goes for blue runs – there will be some blues out there that are reds in all but name.. (it’s a fiddle the resorts do to say the whole area is accessible to intermediates).

    Surelly you must know somebody who skis or boards? I’d tag a long with a group the first time – you learn so much invaluable advice much from others, especially if they know the resort, from suncream to snackbars – theres a lot to consider – and it’s great fun to find out!

    Unless you’re on an absolute budget I’d go with a decent catered chalet over the likes of UCPA (it is a holiday after all) I tend to think that £700pp for flights, transfers, half board accomodation, and a full area lift pass is a decent guideline price.

    You need to balance the cost of being in resort against the value of lessons here – a lesson in resort will spend more time on the descents than on the lifts, this probably won’t be the case in the UK.

    You may well not need a full area lift pass though – lots of bigger resorts offer free beginner lifts and limited area beginner passes which are great value.


    wierd couldn’t finish post?

    downsides of Finland

    Its dark all the time (but slopes are floodlit)
    they put this horrible orange garlic sauce on everything even use it s a pizza base if you don’t ask them not to..
    Other than that it was fantastic.

    Couple of tips from my experience overall go to a snow dome and get some lessons as mentioned by others
    Icebreaker 260 underwear is a very wise investment
    get a polartec buff its unbeleivably cold at the top of the mountains
    TK max and outlet villages are your friend, got my jacket from Tog24 in cheshire oaks, salopetes from TK Max along with lots of socks
    don’t skimp on gloves they are worthe the money mine were about £40 but well worth it
    All ski boots hurt


    If you’re decided to go skiing (and do so, it’s bloody great fun!) then get yourself a pair of inline skates off ebay, some of the spped / recreational ones, not the vert ramp ones. Go skating – you’ll be surprised just how much like skiing it actually is. Plus the muscles will get used to the type of movment / motion needed. I have a pair in the loft and dig them out to skate along the Bath – Bristol cycleway for a few weeks before going.
    PLus as above – go to a dry slope so you have the absolute basics sorted before you go, then get a few days of private lessons (try mornings only, then prat about in the afternoon) as you’ll progress really quickly that way.


    Not worth buying boots for the first week. Hire boots are pretty good quality these days and if they don’t get you a pair that fit go else where theres plenty of shops in resorts.

    Premier Icon Alphabet


    It’s your first week so if you take to skiing/boarding then anywhere will be good. Don’t worry about the resort, boots, equipment, lift pass, clothes etc. Just like riding bikes, it’ll all be fine. Go and have fun.


    Ski or snowboard? Which is easiest / best for an absolute beginner?(think bambi on ice impressions …)

    Either really. My personal experience was that boarding was quicker, if a bit more painful, to learn. YMMV

    When to go? Christmas is appealling, as it would be a fun way to spend the festive period, but would January be better (quieter / cheaper / more likely to have snow)?

    Mid January is often very good because it’s still low-season, it should have snowed a bit by then, nice and cold (which is good for keeping the snow nice), not busy and cheaper. Christmas can be a bit more risky for decent snow, but you can get lucky – I’ve experienced great conditions Mid December, for example.

    Where to go? Good for beginners? Early snow if I go at christmas? Not really after the biggest party town as I’d rather focus on the skiing, but a nice bar or two would be good. Is Austria / Italy cheaper than France?

    France is the most expensive in general. Le me point you to a detailed factual survey carried out by the acknowledged industry experts (no arguments please TJ): WTSS RPI

    As a learner, the key thing you DON’T need is a big linked ski resort. This opens up many options that the majority of intermediate and advanced riders overlook. And smaller resorts a significantly cheaper for everything, esp. lift passes. What you are looking for is a place with a decent school, plus lots of blue graded trails to develop on, accessed by chairs/bubbles. It’s worth also considering a decent village/town for days when you want a rest! This may help: The bit at the bottom left. They have a resort short-list chooser widget coming soon. When it appears, I try to remember to link on this thread. In the mean time, you could buy the book – it’s very good. 😀

    What companies do ‘learn to ski / beginner’ weeks for solo guests? (Would be nice to share the holiday with a group of people who are also learning at the same time)

    You could try getting into a catered chalet or chalet hotel. Groups often fail to fill-up large chalets and chalet hotels and the extra rooms can get sold at a cheaper price closer to the holiday date – teletext often carries this kind. Travelling solo, groups can take you under their wing! When you take lessons, you will be put in a class with other newbies. When I’ve done lessons back in the day, a few were usually happy to have apres drinks and socialise a bit

    Is it worth practicing the basics on a ski slope here (the one near me has a ‘perma snow’ slope and offers classes for beginners)? I know is apparently not the same as snow, but might it teach me the ‘how to put you skis on / basic moves etc?

    If you have time and money, why not!? Personally, I don’t get on with synthetic, but that’s just me.

    Happy hols!


    Wow – loads of great information and advice. Will be setting aside some time to start following some of this up.

    Just a couple of extra questions:

    Re singletrackmind’s comment:

    Check the numbers on the bindings on your hre skis , IME they will never release early enough for learners . depending on body weight 3 – 4 is usually enough .Overdone bindings can damage ligaments badly as skis are big levers .

    Does height / weight make a difference? I’m much smaller than the average person (5′ and 7.5 stone) – are there things I need to be aware of in choosing equiptment?

    – Snow forecasting! From what I can gather, it seems to be pretty poor year so far for snow. Is there a good website that gives accurate snow forecasts, in case I fancy doing a last-minute booking at Christmas?


    Sue – The hire shop will choose the equipment for you so should give you skis appropiate for your height and will ask your ability and will set the binding DIN setting appropriately. Its very difficult to suggest what DIN setting they should be on, but certainly no more than 4. When they choose your skis just make sure you see some one putting a screw driver to each toe and heal on the binding, then maybe get one of the chalet staff to check if you are concerned.

    I know my wife (beginner) once got passed some skis with a DIN setting of 6 which IMO was too high for a beginner. However you can have them too low too (regardless of height and weight) and then the ski will pre-release which can be just as dangerous.

    Not all bindings the same DIN setting scale so 10 on one binding manufacturer may only be a 5 on another. However as I said above any decent shop should set bindings up correctly and appropiately for the person using the equipment.

    Without wishing to be rude, but because you are quite small, it may well be worth getting down the hire shop asap when they open, they tend to carry lots of boots/skis in the popular sizes but less at either extreme.


    Don’t worry about how much snow there is at the moment, it can all change very quickly.

    Snow Forecast is pretty comprehensive, there’s a good thread on Snowheads all about forecasting – even I’ve started trying to interpret fairly technical looking charts 😆

    I like the Igluski website for checking out resort stats, snow history, reviews etc…

    Premier Icon DaveRambo

    My 2p.

    I went skiing for the first time 2 years ago, to the French Alps with some friends who already Ski.

    We travelled by train and it was easy, relaxing and I’m doing it again next Feb.

    We booked our ski hire, lessons and passes from a single company that operated in the resort – the idea was it was a single place to get everything to make it easy. Booked on-line beforehand and everything was straightforward
    We had a lesson on Sunday afternoon then one every day 9am until 12.
    We then met friends for lunch and then headed out together in the afternoon.

    It worked a treat – friends did the harder runs in the morning while we did lessons.

    I’d avoid school holidays if you can but I enjoyed skiing with people better than me in the afternoons.

    I think being a mountain biker helps quite a bit in that you are used to going at speed over bumpy ground and being in semi-control. The one thing I found odd was that on a bike you keep you weight back while skiing you need to keep your weight forward – so speeding down a run your instincts stay lean back while you head reminds you to lean forward.

    Premier Icon jam bo

    will check out action-outdoors / UCPA (Jam-bo – are you the person I’ll end up speaking to?)

    nothing to do with me, just had some great holidays with them.

    if I were going this season I quite fancied a week in St Foy with stevomcd from here.


    If you find the hire boots uncomfortable take them back and ask for a different pair. You will be forced by the boots to adopt a knees-bent position, which can be quite punishing on the fronts of the shins so make sure you’ve got nice smooth long socks that pull well up to your knees and take some broad Micropore tape to protect the skin if it gets sore. My legs are quite hairy so I always shave the fronts of my shins before a ski holiday so as to prevent the hairs from tugging.

    It would really help if you did some stretching and strengthening exercises before going skiing because as a beginner you will be using a lot of body English to try to keep upright, the skill and grace and efficiency of movement on skis only comes with experience.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    Not all bindings the same DIN setting scale so 10 on one binding manufacturer may only be a 5 on another.

    DIN settings SHOULD be consistent across all manufacturers. Certain bindings/manufacturers do have quirks, but in theory they should all be the same (and certainly not out by as far as the example given!).

    Skiing vs snowboarding – I can do both and have no real view as to which is easier to learn. I was self-taught in snowboarding using the keep-trying-until-you-stop-falling-over approach. When I learned to ski, I managed to blag a few lessons, plus I could already snowboard pretty well. Skiing therefore felt easier to learn for me, but for a complete beginner I don’t think there’s much difference.

    Decent lessons are vital in either – you will progress massively quicker and, if snowboarding, you really shouldn’t fall over that much either if you’re being taught properly.

    Echo above comments about not needing a huge area if you’re learning – most of the big resorts do have free or very cheap limited area passes for beginners though. Somewhere smaller and with less crowds would be spot-on. Maybe with nice ski-in/ski-out chalets with nice people to look after you. I do happen to know just such a place… 😉

    – Snow forecasting! From what I can gather, it seems to be pretty poor year so far for snow. Is there a good website that gives accurate snow forecasts, in case I fancy doing a last-minute booking at Christmas?

    No-one has the slightest notion what kind of snow-year it is yet. It is far, far too early to judge, even for Christmas. The British media do love any opportunity to trot out a “No snow in the Alps” story though… Couple of season back, we had people phoning up asking if they should cancel their holiday because there was “no snow”. We were riding knee-deep powder on a deep, consolidated base at the time… 🙄

Viewing 29 posts - 41 through 69 (of 69 total)

The topic ‘Skiing / Snowboarding holiday advice for absolute beginner please!’ is closed to new replies.