From the mountains of Hakuba in Japan to the Southern Alps in Queenstown, New Zealand, there is nothing quite like a ski holiday. Standing at the top of a mountain, breathing in that crisp air and then feeling your muscles work as you glide down the slopes can be truly invigorating. But as with all sports – skiing can be risky. Especially if the correct precautions aren’t taken. Common-sense, knowing your limits and following the rules can go a long way in keeping you safe – so we’ve put together some helpful tips to keep you enjoying the slopes for many holidays to come.
Get the right gear for you
Failing to use the right ski equipment can be a major risk for you and others on the slopes. To avoid any problems, make sure to get your equipment set up by a trained professional or in a reputable ski shop. Correctly setting up your bindings is really important and release (or ‘DIN‘) settings should be calculated based on an equation that takes into account your height, age, weight, and skiing ability. So, make sure you double check and don’t simply rely on what a friend tells you.
Everyone needs lessons
Whether this is your first-time skiing, or you haven’t been for a while, taking lessons from a professional ski instructor can be a great way to not only progress your skiing but also keep you safe. Instructors can help improve your technique to avoid injuries, show you how to stop and avoid collisions as well as the rules and etiquette at the resort you should be aware of. But don’t forget to book in advance as they can be very popular!
Be mountain aware
While ski resorts have a duty of care to those using their slopes and will do everything in their power to keep you safe, it’s important you remain aware of the environment as well. Certain runs can become more challenging or dangerous depending on snow fall, so being aware of your ability as well as the conditions is essential. In certain seasons avalanches can also become increasingly likely, so make you keep up to date with announcements and forecasts.
Take care of your body
Skiing and snowboarding is often referred to as a holiday, but it is still a sport – meaning your body is going to work and exert energy. While there’s no doubt the scenery is a little different to your local gym, you should be conscious of looking after your body before, during and after your time on the slopes by:
- Keeping hydrated: Make sure to take regular breaks to rehydrate, even in minus zero temperatures you can find yourself sweating!
- Wearing sun screen: The altitude of the mountains combined with the intense reflexion of the sun from the snow creates a greater risk of being burnt, so protect any parts of your skin that are exposed.
- Stretching: After a big day on the slopes take a few minutes to give your tired legs a stretch to avoid tightness and soreness the next day.
A ski holiday can be an incredibly enjoyable experience which creates many lasting memories. But to get the most out of your trip, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved and do what you can to protect yourself. After all, once you’re hooked on winter adventures you will want to be able to hit the slopes again next season.