Skiing or Snowboarding for the first time can be a daunting experience so here are some tips to help make it a success.
• It might seem obvious, but skiing is physical exercise at altitude, where the air is thinner, so breathing can be a more difficult and you can tire easily. Some activity in the month before you go to the mountains is advisable.
It does not have to be strenuous. For most brisk walks, using stairs instead of a lift, stretching your legs and doing some squats will suffice. That said ,your muscles will likely still be sore after the first day.
• Take lessons. You don’t know how to drive a car and are legally required to have a licence. Skiing should be the same and, while it isn’t, remember some skiers can reach speeds of over 60 mph.
• Use a reputable and licensed Ski School.
• Lessons offer more than just learning how to ski or snow board, you also should learn about mountain protocol and the ‘dos and don’ts’ for your own safety and the safety of others.
• Group lessons are not expensive, you will get to know other people and learn about ‘Apres Ski’ which can be as important as skiing itself.
• Individual lessons are better value when you have mastered the basics.
A mountain can be a hostile environment. The right clothing will make or break your experience.
• Dress warmly. Thin layers are best. Bulky does not mean warm.
• When you are learning or doing lessons, you will be standing around and less active than a proficient skier, so being warm is paramount.
• Wear clothing that moves with you.
• Remember that ski Clothing and snowboard gear is designed to be different and doesn’t necessarily interchange.
• Invest in good quality gloves and socks. Thick doesn’t necessarily mean warm.
• While Merino wool thermal underwear is the best, many of the inexpensive versions will do an adequate job when you are starting out.
• While you can hire ski boots, if you can afford it, buy a pair and have them professionally fitted.
• Wear a decent pair of sunglasses or goggles with good UV protection. Even if its overcast, you can get snow blindness if you are not wearing sun them.
• Take suntan lotion. Snow refracts or magnifies UV light meaning you can get sunburnt, even if overcast.
• Wear a ‘lid’ or approved ski helmet for your own protection, which also helps with heat loss via your head.
• Always be in control. You are responsible for your own safety and that of others.
Remember that all adventure sports are potentially dangerous. With good preparation and the right gear, you should be able to really enjoy what nature has to share with you.
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