Do you still think ‘goofy’ is a Disney character? Don't know how to pizza down the mountain? Don't even know what to do with a lift ticket (or why you even need one)? For the uninitiated, whether you're a ski beginner or embarking on your first family ski holiday, it can all be a bit bewildering. Here's everything you need to know for your first ski trip.
The lowdown on the lingo
First things first, you'll need to brush up on the basics of snow lingo:
❅ Lift passes are tickets that allow you to ride the ski lifts up to the top of the mountain to ski down. There are plenty of options, from day passes to annual passes (for the super enthusiastic beginner!)
❅ A run (or piste in Europe) is any marked trail, slope or course designed for skiing.
❅ When snowboarding, riders use either a regular or goofy: The regular stance is with your left foot in front and goofy is with your right foot at the front.
❅ Apres-ski refers to the activities undertaken after a day of skiing, and can include swimming, massages at the spa, or an Aussie’s favourite past-time: enjoying drinks with friends.
What to bring
You will need to pack: ✔️ Thermals ✔️ Insulated clothing ✔️ A ski jacket and ski pants ✔️ Gloves ✔️ Beanies ✔️ Super thick socks ✔️ Warm boots ✔️ Protective eyewear.
☼ It seems silly, but you'll also need sunscreen and lip balm – sunburn and chapped lips are common gripes on the slopes.
Skiing or snowboarding?
The next thing to decide on is skiing or snowboarding.
The general rule is that skiing is easier to pick up at first but harder in the long run to master; on the other hand, snowboarding can take a good couple of days to pick up, but after that you can become quite competent quickly on your snowboard.
Tips to keep in mind for your first ski trip
✔️ Beginners heading on a ski holiday should allow plenty of time on the slopes (at least a couple of days) – first-timers make take a while to get the hang of it.
✔️ It’s not essential, but we highly recommend you sign up for some ski lessons. Instructors will guide you through how to start and then demonstrate correct techniques – plus they’ll take you to runs on the mountain that suit your ability level. Club Med snow resorts offer snow schools with qualified instructors included in the package, and also many offer kids ski classes.
✔️ The view from the top will be steep... and intimidating for beginners. Whenever in doubt, don’t forget you can 'pizza' (point your skis together at the front to slow you down) to gradually make your way down to the bottom.
✔️ Don't forget to reward yourself after day's skiing by indulging in a sauna, Turkish bath, massage or yoga. Trust us: your muscles will thank you!
Best international ski fields for beginners
While skiing in Australia and New Zealand are viable options, the best part about heading overseas to ski is that you can discover a completely new country and experience some of the best powder in the world. Here’s our pick for the best international ski fields:
✔️ Sahoro, Japan: The skiing mecca of Hokkaido offers soft snow perfect for beginners. Resorts in the region contain traditional Japanese rooms, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and snow gardens for the kids.
✔️ Valmorel, France: with a family-friendly atmosphere, this resort area of the French Alps offers plenty of gentle runs and a host of activities for the little ones.
✔️ Via Lattea, Italy: Nestled on the border with France, the second largest ski field in Europe is popular with families who come to relax in cosy chalets.
✔️ Aspen Snowmass, USA: spread over four mountains, this field features an amazing array of runs from beginner to advanced.
✔️ Big White, Canada: has a huge number of lifts, runs to suit all ages and a popular skiing school for kids.
Whether you're hitting the slopes for the first time or taking the kids on their first skiing holiday, good luck, and remember…everybody had to learn once!
See you out on the slopes. ⛄ ❄️ 🎿
Learn more about Club Med’s all-inclusive ski holidays in the video below, or on the Club Med website here.