Six ways to prepare for your skiing holiday

Dec 6 2022

three skiers descend down a snowy mountain

Ski season is underway, you’ve got your holiday booked (or if you don’t, check out our European resort guide for some inspiration), and now you need to get yourself ready! There are lots of things to think about, whether you’re a seasoned pro or you don’t know your boots from your bindings, so make sure your downhill adventure isn’t an uphill struggle with our top tips for a successful skiing holiday.

1. Training, training, training!

Skiing is physically demanding, often in ways that our muscles aren’t used to. Before you even set foot on the slope, reduce the risk of sore muscles ruining your holiday with some training. Exercises like squats, wall sits, lunges and planks can be done at home, and getting out for a walk or run will improve your cardiovascular fitness. If you’re up for even more of a challenge, look into the benefits of cross training for skiing. Activities like yoga will improve flexibility, trail running will help with balance on uneven terrains, and mountain biking can teach you how to navigate obstacles at speed.

an instructor holds skis in front of her body

2. Book a skiing lesson

Whether you’re hitting the slopes for the first time or a master of the mountain, skiing lessons are a great idea. Getting your technique down will keep you and other skiers safe – not only because you’ll have the technique nailed, but because you’ll be more confident. Even professional athletes still get regular lessons – they just call it coaching! Visit The Slope at Calshot to brush up on your snowsport skills before your holiday.

3. Learn to layer

Layering is key for comfort when it comes to skiing. Start with a form-fitting, moisture-wicking base layer to keep the warmth in and the sweat away. Merino wool is a very popular option for base layers, but materials like nylon and polyester work too. The mid layer is intended to trap warmth, which is especially important for the top half of the body. A zip-up fleece is great, particularly for those all-important hot chocolate breaks, so you can remove it easily if you get too warm. Finally, invest in some good quality waterproofs for your outer layer. Again, clothing with zips is great for regulating your body’s temperature, from your coat down to your salopettes.

an instructor talks about skis and boots

4. Get familiar with ski equipment

If you’re a once-a-year kind of skier, you might rent your skis, boots and poles, but it’s still important to understand exactly what you need from your equipment. Make sure you’re familiar with how ski boots should fit. They should be snug enough that your toes can’t curl and your foot can’t rattle around, but not so tight that you feel an uncomfortable pressure in the heel, ankle or calf. If you’re choosing your own skis and poles, there are a few things to take into consideration. The shape and length of skis is important to consider for more advanced skiers, for example, short skis will be great for turning and wider skis won’t sink into the snow so much. Make sure the poles you get are the right length for you, made from a suitable material, and have the right kind of grips and tips.

5. Remember the little things

Sunscreen, sunglasses, waterproof gloves, skiing socks, a buff and a first aid kit are all small pieces of kit that will make a huge difference to your holiday, so make sure you bring a lightweight rucksack stocked with the essentials.

Snow and ice are reflective surfaces, so protect yourself from sun damage (and those embarrassing goggle tan lines) by packing a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF. There are plenty also plenty of ways you can injure yourself while skiing, and while we hope you avoid them, sometimes it’s inevitable. Make sure you bring a well-stocked first aid kit in case the worst does happen, as medical attention isn’t always easy to come by when you’re partway up a mountain!

6. Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace

When there are lots of people whizzing past you and trying jumps and tricks, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. When you start to panic, you can make mistakes which lead to dangerous situations. The same goes for feeling pressure to keep up with other people on the slope – trying runs above your skill level can be risky for you and for other skiers. Focus on your own skiing and don’t let other people distract you.

However confident you are on the slopes, there’s always something you can do to up your skills on the slopes. Our expert instructors at Calshot Activities Centre are full of top tips and advice to get you carving through the snow in no time. If you’re a novice, why not give one of our beginner’s courses a try? Or, for those with a little more experience, check out what else we’ve got on offer at The Slope. Stay up-to-date with Hampshire Outdoor Centres by signing up to our newsletter.