The photos we often see when we flick through travel websites selling ski holidays, is that of a professional skier, gliding through fresh powder snow. Although we may aspire to be like that, the reality is that no-one expects you to be the next Lindsey Vonn on your first day on the slopes. Most resorts today have brilliant ‘nursery slope’ facilities created for the sole purpose of gently easing you in to, potentially, your new favourite sport.
Ski instructors often comment on how much fun teaching complete novices is – the learning curve is steep and the rush of adrenaline you get when you have mastered it at the end of your stay is incredible. Not to say it isn’t a challenge, skiing is a precise and technically tricky sport thus have some form of initial instruction is key to success. Although lessons are not compulsory they are most certainly advisable.
We have put together some top tips on how to prepare for your first day on the slopes – the most important thing is that you enjoy it and stay safe.
Though it isn’t necessary to have the fitness level of a professional athlete it is important to increase your level of fitness before embarking on a ski holiday. Cardio exercises are not an essential element to consider, but they will help you with your endurance when tackling a particularly long run. Don’t feel that you must go full force down the run, take breaks on the side of the piste if you need to. Focusing on leg strength and flexibility will help you when tackling those longer slopes. Developing your muscles over a 6 to 8 week period before you go on your ski holiday will help. We have a more in-depth guide to pre-ski fitness here!
Ski lessons in the UK
You’re going to be investing money in your first ski holiday in Andorra, its unavoidable, however, skiing is addictive, so it won’t be a wasted investment. Your greatest investment will be skiing lessons. Most resorts in Andorra are used to you potentially not being a complete novice. You may have tried skiing at your local dry slope or indoor ski centre. If you haven’t tried skiing before then you could potentially save a day or two of your holiday by taking a few lessons in the UK before you go. Not only will you feel more confident once you arrive at the resort, you’ll also have a better understanding of the equipment you are using. This will help you feel less nervous about skiing for the first time and just keep remembering it’s a holiday, you’re going to have a great time!
Group Versus Private Lessons
When booking your holiday, you will be asked if you’d like any ‘ski extras’, you can decide at this point if you’d like to book private or group lessons. If there is a group of you travelling together and you are all beginners, then you might want to choose a private instructor and split the cost. Maximum sizes of private groups tend to be around 6 people. If you are individual beginner skier than you need to decide what is best for you, most often you will benefit from being in a group as you feel that you are all ‘in it together’ and the atmosphere of the group is normally quite jovial. If you choose to have private lessons, then a half-day lesson would normally be enough as it can be quite intensive. If you are in a group lesson you can either have a half-day or a full day with a lunch break.
What’s Included In Ski Lessons
It is important to remember that you ski lessons only include the instructor, not your equipment. This is a separate fee. Ski lessons are booked in advance and have set time slots, it is advisable that you arrive at least five minutes early. When you have finished your lessons most instructors in Andorra do not expect tips but if you are really pleased with your progression then of course you can tip them to show your appreciation.
When booking your first ski holiday to Andorra it is important to consider what equipment you need to buy and what you can hire. Wearing a helmet is advisable, most children’s ski school enforce it, so it is worth investing if you think you would like to go skiing again, if you are unsure you can hire helmets too.
The age-old debate about goggles or sunglasses continues, but in our opinion it’s best to take both. Goggles are great on particularly cold days or when there is a lot of cloud cover. Sunglasses are useful on warmer, sunnier days and great when you stop for lunch on the terrace.
Always remember that learning to ski is rewarding and fun. It helps to be prepared and you are able to make the most of your holiday and progress quickly. Don’t worry too much about falling over, it happens to the best of us, making it through a week of skiing without injury is the norm, not the exception. Relax, have fun and enjoy! The chances are, you’ll be back for more the year after.
For Further Information
For more information and to book your Andorra beginner ski lessons and ski extras click here.
Call Destination Ski on 02921 88 00 22 to plan and book your trip.