Our friends at Oxygène share their advice on making the most of your ski holiday.
On many an occasion we’ve heard, “I just don’t seem to get any better no matter how many times I go skiing.” The reason for this is often that skiers have either been taught badly and got into bad habits or haven’t taken enough (or any) lessons. If you find red runs difficult, you’ve moved onto them too quickly. Take one step back and learn how to ski blue runs correctly, and naturally you’ll move onto a red run without even thinking about it.
• Remember that altitude makes the body work harder. If you add a physical activity such as skiing, it’s clear why you need to be as fit as possible for your ski holiday. In fact, on average it takes around 7-10 days for your body to acclimatize, so just as your holiday finishes you’ll be ultra-fit to return to sea level 😉
• A number of sports are very good for skiers to improve their fitness level before coming on holiday. If you go to a gym, ask for a personal trainer to help get you started. If not, cycling works all the correct leg muscles and gets your heart beating. Swimming is great too.
• Make sure your equipment is correct for you. Well-serviced, up-to-date equipment is a good start, as are properly fitting boots – so many people come to us with bruised shins or blisters. The biggest culprit is boots that are too big – your feet move around, leading you to tighten the Velcro, which results in painful shins. And if you have ill-fitting boots, your balance will be off-centre while skiing – you need to be able to stand correctly (without hurting yourself) in your boots, then your body will naturally go into the right skiing position.
It’s also important to not have skis that are too small for you, especially if you’re a strong or larger person. Nor should your skis be too heavy or too light. Heavier people can have wider and more sturdy skis, while those with a delicate frame should go lighter. Today there are also skis designed especially for women.
• Take lessons, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced off-piste go-getter – it’s really important to keep up to date with your technique. People think when they’ve had a week of lessons or can get down a blue run, they no longer need them, but this is wrong. Professional instructors can give you important information and advice, as well as teaching you tips and tricks and stop you from getting into bad habits.
Oxygène Ski & Snowboard Schools run in Mark Warner resorts La Plagne