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This post was originally posted by insureandgo.com.au

Heading to the snow this winter? I bet you can’t wait to hit those slopes! If you’re a first-timer or beginner (like I was, not that long ago), I discuss a few key things to think about before you choose and book your ski holiday.

Have You Booked Lessons and Gear?

The majority of ski resorts offer beginner lessons and gear hire, but getting in early is key. In peak season, I would even recommend booking your lessons, lift pass and gear before you organise your flights/travel etc., just to be sure you don’t miss out.

What Kind of Holiday Vibe are You After?

Big ski resorts and towns can be excellent for having everything at your fingertips, including a fun, bustling vibe. The downside: The slopes can be busy and crowded.

A smaller resort or village can offer a quieter getaway, with a more relaxed and intimate vibe, but may not have as much in the way of amenities and entertainment off the slopes. It all depends on what you want!

Are There Beginner Slopes?

Most resorts offer easy slopes for novice skiers, but some are much easier than others, so always do your research. If you’re a first-timer (or if you’ve got kids), you’ll want a bunny-hop or green slope that you can practise on after your lessons are done.

Are You Taking Kids?

If so, consider whether you’ll need services like babysitting or day care, and book these as early as you can (they book out fast).

Resorts that offer kids’ activities can be great, especially for when the kids (or you) need a ski break. For example, at Chamonix, kids can visit the zoo or adventure park and participate in activities like horse-riding.

Most resorts offer easy slopes for novice skiers.

Have You Packed Your Sun Supplies?

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But you can easily get sunburnt in the snow. On top of this, UV radiation can also be more intense in higher alpine regions, meaning more risk of getting burnt.

To protect your skin, make sure you pack/wear protective clothing, including a hat/beanie, use water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF30+) and put your sunnies or goggles on (they help with the glare a lot too)!

What’s There to do Off The Slopes?

When you’re not skiing, think about what else is important to you: Do you want a wide variety of dining, bars and nightlife, as well as shops, spas, swimming pools, and other activities? Or would you be happy with the basics?

You’ll likely be sore after your first day or two on the slopes, so balancing snow sports with other activities (and rest) can be a good idea.

Costs & Savings

Remember that you’ll need to budget for flights, accommodation, lessons, lift passes, rental gear, ski travel insurance and general spending when organising your snow trip. It can add up!

But you can also save money by:

  • Staying at a smaller resort
  • Travelling earlier or later in the season, avoiding peak times
  • Taking advantage of any cost bundling (e.g. lesson, gear and lift pass packs)
  • Renting gear and clothing off-mountain, which can be much cheaper
  • Stocking up on a few food supplies before you arrive; I find resort food expensive, and so this has helped me save a lot.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited, ABN 49 000 525 637, issues InsureandGo Travel Insurance (the insurance). Please read the combined product disclosure statement and financial services guide available at www.insureandgo.com.au/policy-wordings.html to decide if the insurance is right for you.

Photo credits: Featured by Ola Matsson for SkiStar. Hytte i Trysil by Ola Matsson for Trysil. Folksomt på Trysil-Knut Arena by Trysil. Family ski resort by Ola Matsson for SkiStar. Biking by Ola Matsson for Trysil.

    26 Comments

  1. Great tips! I haven’t been skiing in such a long time, maybe this year I will get back to the slopes as I will be back in Canada near the Rockies. I am glad you mentioned sun block, I remember as a kid seeing so many tourists with sun burns, I guess it never occurred to them that they could get burnt when it is below -10C outside.

    • Thanks Rob! And yes, absolutely on the sunblock. It’s not something people ever think about when heading out to the snow – we’re so conditioned to automatically assume it’s just a summer thing. But that reflection can be brutal … even if it’s – 10C outside!!

  2. Really great things to consider here. I’ve been skiing many times, but this year was the first time I’ve taken my 3 year old son to the snow.It totally changes the dynamic and things you need to plan for (eg whether or not to get ski passes, food prices on the mountain etc).

    • Thanks Ali – really does change the dynamic and the planning process when you’re traveling with the family in tow. A lot more to consider than when we’re just taking care of ourselves!

      Hope he liked the snow :) X

  3. Solid advice Megan! I would be to make sure to pack some ibuprofen as you will most likely be sore after your first lesson or two. Know some good stretches. Stretching every day after skiing will really help you feel much better if you are there for multiple days. The final bit of advice may seem counter intuitive…..stay out of the hot tub until at least day 2. When you have a lot of toxins from sore muscles floating around in your bloodstream, sitting in the hot tub will basically cook them into your musculature so you will feel much worse than expected on day two. There is a reason pro athletes go into an icebath instead of a hot tub when they get off the field. By day 2 your body will have calmed down a bit, so soaking in the hot tub from day two on will be a great relief :-)

    • Thanks Jen :) Great tips on the ibuprofen and stretching. And I hadn’t even thought about staying out of the hot tub, but makes perfect sense! No more hot tub for us before day 2!! Thanks for the fantastic advice :)

  4. I just saw you share this article, great information…!
    i liked that point, “sunburnt in the snow.”,
    keep it up man…! :-)

    • Thanks Saneets – glad you found the info useful :) Yes, definitely be wary of being sunburnt in the snow!! :)

  5. smart checklist. I’ve never been skiing – if I ever DO get to ski, I’ll definitely refer back here

    • Thanks Fiona :) Feel free to reach out if you have any Q’s if you decide to take a trip X

  6. Great point about the sun screen. Most first time skiers don’t think to use it.

    • Thanks Leah – you’ll only ever make that mistake once let me tell you lol!

  7. I’ve never gone skiing so I think these tips would be a great starting point as a first-timer. I think I’d like a smaller quieter ski resort than one with a lot of crowds. I’m always on a budget so I think that would fit nicely with my style of travel. Great tip about the food as well, I can imagine expensive resort food can quickly add up.

    • A quieter ski resort can be less intimidating too if you’re uneasy with how your first time will go. Less people whizzing past you as you’re trying to find your balance and skis :)

  8. These are such essential things to know. I’ve only gone snowboarding and I’m not very good at it so I never really built the interest with skiing when I was younger. I still wish I’ve gotten into it though. But The fact that it’s in the cold makes that wish a little impossible for me, lol.

    • Haha yes, unfortunate that they go hand in hand! Though I love rugging up in cute winter clothes, so maybe it could be an excuse to go shopping for a new wardrobe :D

  9. Great tips, Megan.Do most insurance policies cover you for the basics if you’re on a ski holiday? For example, if you break a leg and need to go to hospital. Or do you is it important to take out a specialist ski travel insurance policy?

    • Thanks Christina – it’s going to depend on each individual policy, and how the accident occurred.

      Most policies exclude adventure sports (which includes skiing) from their coverage, so it’s important to take out the extra insurance. If they exclude it and you’re hurt while you’re doing it, then you’ll find you have to foot the bill.

      But if you have a policy which doesn’t list any exclusions, best to confirm with them before you go. The specialist insurance is usually worthwhile too just if you’re traveling with your own equipment, which is usually pretty expensive stuff :)

  10. I’ve never been skiing before, I’m usually more a fan of a beach holiday! But these tips make it sound much easier to do than I first thought!

    • Can definitely seem overwhelming when you’ve never booked one before, but it’s quite a fun way to spend a holiday! And very easy to book in :) Little bit colder than the beach lol but definitely a lot of fun :)

  11. It’s been way too long since I’ve skied but my daughter absolutely loves it, although I prefer to snowboard. These are such great tips for beginners and also those of us who really don’t ski very often.

    • Hope you have the chance to get back to the slopes this winter :)

  12. Very useful tips!
    I still haven’t learnt to ski, unfortunately. I almost went for skiing once, but just before I had a shoulder injury, so I couldn’t. I still hope I’ll try it one day!

    • Thanks Monika … I hope your shoulder is now ok :) Sorry to hear that it was injured before you had a chance to take your first ski holiday. I hope you have the chance to plan another trip soon :)

  13. I remember so many times getting off the slopes and having a sunburn! Who should have thought?? The sun supplies tip was certainly extremely relevant even though it may not seem like it.

    • We went to Antarctica last year and came back with a crazy sunburn from hiking – the reflection of the sun off the snow is fierce!

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