I know most people wouldn’t be excited about snow in Spring but this is the time of the year when around 30 of us head off to The Alps for a group snow holiday. This is now my 4th snowboarding holiday and though I am not an expert in skiing or snowboarding I do manage to survive and have a great time so I thought I would share my tips;
Before you go
Snow sports are physically demanding so even doing a bit of yoga or more walking will make a difference to your enjoyment on the mountain.
Take a trip to the slopes before you go
If you have mountains nearby then take advantage of what nature gave you but if you are stuck in a flat city like me taking a trip to somewhere like the Snow Zone can be worthwhile before going on a snow holiday. I have a turbulent relationship with indoor slopes the first lesson I had was amazing, the second completely knocked my confidence but practice makes perfect and it gives you the opportunity to hone your skills in a controlled environment.
The mountain is an extreme environment and you could be faced with a variety of of weather conditions so pack light layers as not to overheat or freeze.
Not only are there lots of hot people in the slopes to hook up with but seriously a helmet, and wrist guards are recommended. After breaking my wrist on my first holiday I have added more padding to my kit not only to keep me safe but it also makes me feel more confident. Protecting your skin is also important, a high SPF prevents a nasty google tan.
Find the right gear
If it’s your first holiday you might want to rent or check out eBay for a bargain which is totally understandable but getting my own kit has helped my comfort and ability, especially having boots that actually fit my feet properly, goggles I can see out of and a board that suits my style.
I know from experience that snow sports are called extreme for a reason and when accidents happen they are expensive. So make sure you have decent insurance that covers you and also take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can reduce costs.
Whether it be from tight boots, falling over or enjoying too much après ski, a snow holiday does not come without some form of pain, so pack painkillers and some muscle gel. Once on holiday remember to stretch before and after boarding, go for a swim or treat yourself to a massage to reduce muscle pain.
Once you get there
Be prepared to fall
I usually feel like I am spending more time on my bum than sliding down the mountain with style but taking a tumble is all part of the experience. One of the best pieces of advice I have been given about snowboarding was that if you are not falling you are not pushing yourself.
Expect to have an emotional breakdown
Learning to snowboard is hugely frustrating, everyone has moments when they punch the snow or their googles end up filled with tears. Take a moment to calm yourself and ride out your anger.
Learn from other people
Take time to watch other people or snow movies, though they make it look incredibly easy it helped me to understand my body positioning and also inspired me to improve. All of my friends are much better snowboarders and skiers than I am so am always bombarding them with questions on how to get better. It’s an individual sport so everyone will take a slightly different approach but I find it useful to try out their tips and see what works for me. Lessons are also another great option as you get put with people of the same ability and can learn from each other as well as the instructor.
Remember to have fun
Rage often gets the better of me on the slopes as I desperately want to be good which can make it hard to remember that it is a holiday and is meant to be fun!!
Push yourself but not too far
My friends are all awesome at snowsports and hurl themselves down the mountain, I make an attempt to keep up but sometimes I just have to slow it down and keep myself safe.
Get up early
I know it’s your holiday and you are probably hungover and sore but getting up the mountain early means that you get a chance to warm up on the snow before it gets chopped up by other skiers and boarders.
Try, Try and Try Again
There are so many points in a day when I just want to give up but once you get it, whizzing down the mountain is completely worth all of the effort it took to get to that point.
Have you ever been on a snow holiday? What are your top tips?