Eight things you need to ask yourself before you go skiing

  • 10th October 2013

If you’re flying off to ski in Europe between now and next Spring, there are a couple of (important) things you need to ask yourself before you go.

1 How cold is it going to be?

It is going to be cold. Though not as cold as you think, because you’ve been clever and wrapped yourself up. Because having warm, comfortable gear is going to make all the difference. What you need will depend on where you’re going. Germany in January? Cold, so you’ll need the full-on heavy coat and gloves. Italy in March? Perhaps a lighter jacket. Layers are important. You don’t have to have the most up to date gear – it’s more important to have two or three layers of cotton-based material that absorb sweat (this is a physical activity, remember?).

2 How much should I spend on my jacket?

This is most important part of what you wear. Jackets can cost anywhere between £100 and £2000. Usually there’s not a massive difference – other than they’re a fashion statement. Buy gloves made for skiing, rather than plain winter gloves. Ski gloves have a special lining which keep the front of your hands warm.

3 Which type of trousers should I wear?

There are two types: one of which is just leggings-shaped and the other which has a body and shoulder straps – salopettes. It’s trousers or dungarees really. Your budget for your gear should be between £300-400 and include in that goggles: choose a pair which shield your eyes from sunlight and sunlight reflecting off snow. This can be very, very bright… and you’ll also need suntan lotion – freezing cold or not.

4 Is fashion essential?

Not really essential, but think of it in the same way as golf. You need the right kit, but adding a bit of swagger to your ski gear won’t go amiss. You could do it with your wooly hat if you like. Yeah, go crazy with a mad hat. They’re how you make a fashion statement on the ski slopes.

5 Who should I go with?

Skiing is a group activity and it’s more fun if you go with a gang. The minimum for your gang is four people that way you can ski two and two. A bigger gang of ten never stays together, you always break up.

6 How long do I need to get my boots fitted?

If you buy them you’ll need around £300 in your wallet and about two hours. You do need to get them fitted as the insides have to be molded around your feet. You need them to be comfortable as well, if they aren’t, your day will be miserable. And if you’re renting, again spend time finding the right boot. The lighter the better and be careful that the bindings are not too tight.

7 Does longer mean better?

Different skis are required for different abilities. Beginners use shorter, wider skis, while longer and skinnier tend to be for experts. Or at least the more experienced. Ski poles need to be the right height and allow about half an hour to choose poles and skis. To actually get the stuff on, you’ll need about 20 minutes every time you go out on the slopes.

8 How do I choose where to go?

Italy has a reputation for great food, great nightlife and skiing which is ideal for beginners to intermediate, Austria has a reputation for medium to advanced skiers, but also has good beginners’ programmes. It’s lots of fun, there’s lots of glühwein, lots of beers, and lots of partying late. The Ibiza of the slopes. Norway has reliable snow, but it is a lot colder. And there is more for beginners than advanced. Norway is also the home of telemarking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemark_skiing) or free heel skiing which is walking across the snow as well as skiing on it. And it keeps you fit. You’ll burn something like 4000 calories an hour.

And from there, it’s all down hill…

bmi regional flies from Bristol to Munich and Milan, prices start from £79 per person one way.