For first-timers and students looking for a modest break, a ski holiday can seem daunting – dangerous slopes, bitter cold and breakneck speeds, not to mention the infamous ‘après-ski’. There are some tips that the uninitiated should know before heading up the mountain.
Winter’s around the corner. For a lot of Irish people this means one thing; a sun holiday. For others of a more adrenaline-fueled disposition though, winter means an action packed trip to the Alps. With all the travel, accommodation and gear required for a ski trip, the cost can be quite steep; particularly at the more famous resorts. However there are a lot of ways to save money, without slumming it.
- Get the good gear, but not the best.
You’re just going to have to face it- You’re not the next Bodie Miller or Kye Pieterson. You won’t get three seconds of hang-time doing a switch double-cork 1080 mute on a 10” vert ramp – it’s not gonna happen. Renting the top-of-the line skiing equipment isn’t necessary or cost-effective; you’re not going to be able to get the most out it.
The high-end stuff is this year’s brand new, un-tested releases and will cost about €280 for the week. The intermediate range is much more reliable, cheaper and safer. It’s last year’s high-end equipment and is more practical and forgiving. Remember that when you’re overtaking someone on brand-new Porsche skis who can’t stand up.
You probably shouldn’t bring your HD camera up the mountain either. The cold weather can fog the lens permanently and shatters easily on impact after a fall- plus, no-one wants to see you on a beginner slope.
Ski jackets and pants are available in many price ranges; even if you can’t ski for ten metres, it’s important to look good for the après-ski. Pastel colours are in at the moment but when in the bar, the louder, the better!
- Know your limits.
There are countless horror stories told of beginner skiers having horrendous accidents after a few drinks and feeling over-confident. Knee-ligament damage is a daily occurrence on the mountain and is usually the result of beginners tackling slopes and trails way beyond their ability. Mixed with alcohol, the adrenaline pumping through your veins can give you the sense of invincibility.
Your legs are not invincible – the slightest of un-natural movement by your legs at speed can cause life-long injury. If you feel uncomfortable about a slope or trail, take your time, don’t panic, slow down and seek help. You can always walk down a slope.
Holiday insurance is a must on a ski trip. Remember to check the box that includes helicopter cover. Uninsured, a three minute helicopter trip off the mountain costs about €4000. If the worst does happen, at least be covered to get down from the slope without having to deal with the heart-attack you will get when the hospital hands you the bill.
You don’t need to go out every night either. Skiing hung-over can be very dangerous and is a lot more effort, a perfect time for an injury to occur. They’ll be other nights, other bars- if you get to bed at a reasonable hour, you can get up earlier and cover the fresh snow. Your body will thank you.