I am by no means a professional snowboarder, but with 5 group ski trips under my belt I feel like I’ve got a little personal advice that might help a first timer.
1. It’s going to be tough
Watching snow sports on YouTube the pros make sliding down a mountain seem like a breeze, but in real life there’s a little more to to snowboarding than just strapping on a board and going for it. Learning is frustrating, unless you are a natural sports star you will fall over and over again, leaving you bruised and tired. At times my goggles have been filled with tears, but I promise it’s all worthwhile when you get that one good run in.
2. Everyone falls
I thought falling equalled failure until I joined the rest of my buddies on the mountain and realised even those with a huge amount of experience fall. Whether it’s from pushing yourself to learn new things, because you are a beginner, you’re tired, or you’ve enjoyed too much of the après scene – everyone falls.
3. You will hurt
I had no idea how physically demanding snowsports were! It’s a good idea to get fit before you go and stretch before and after you hit the mountain. As a beginner boarder I couldn’t believe how sore my arms got from pushing myself up from my hundreds of falls, it was like doing a full day of push ups.
4. Protect yourself
This is an extreme sport so it only makes sense to protect yourself, first up with decent insurance that covers winter sports – take it from someone who has been rescued from the mountain, ski resort medical treatment is pricey! If you want more information on snowsports insurance check out the Post Office Ski Safe page which has some great tips.
Secondly, protect your body, there is zero shame in wearing knee pads, impact shorts, wrist guards, and a helmet (in fact all the boarders I know wouldn’t hit the mountain without at least some protective gear).
5. The boots take some getting used to
Snowboarding boots are a little more flexible but whether you are a skier or a boarder those boots will make you walk like a dinosaur. You totally get used to it after a while, but make sure you get decent socks and pack some compeeds to ease any discomfort.
6. Take entertainment
Some days you might be too tired for a full day on the mountain, or the weather might not be great, so take a deck of cards or a great book, put your feet up and enjoy the chilled out pace of mountain life.
7. Layers are your best friend
Those blue sky days that you see all over the ski brochures of course happen, but so do storms and ice – so pack accordingly. Layers allow you to stay warm when the snow comes in and can be easily removed when the sun is pounding off the snow.
8. Look after your skin
Even if a skin care routine is not your thing back home you will need a few essentials on the mountain:
- High SPF to avoid that Kim K style goggle tan
- A decent moisturiser
- A lip balm with spf
9. Go at your own pace
The first year I thought I had to stay up the mountain all day and keep up with my more experienced friends, but all that left me was miserable and tired because falling down all day is tough work. Don’t be afraid to take a break and recuperate. In saying that, don’t let the frustration of learning make you throw your board down too soon, it’s so worth persevering with.
10. Enjoy yourself!
My first couple of years I was so hard on myself and disappointed in my lack of progress I forgot to let go and actually enjoy the stunning surroundings and friends.
So those are my basic tips for a successful snow holiday; another important factor is having the right gear, so here’s my packing list:
- Tickets, money, passport
- Travel details – Flights and Transfers to resort
- Accommodation details – It’s always good to know where you’re going
- Ski Pass – you will most likely buy this as resort but you won’t get on the mountain without one
Ski/Snowboard Equipment – (if you’re not renting)
- Ski bag
- Day rucksack
- Water bottle
- Multitool for repairs or adjustments on the go
- Thermals x 1
- Leggings x 2
- T-shirts x 3
- Long sleeve top x 2
- Hoodie x 1
- Waterproof ski jacket
- Waterproof ski trousers
- Waterproof gloves
- Glove liners
- Wrist guards
- Ski Socks x3
- Sports bra x 2
- Jeans x 1
- Leggings x 3
- T-shirts x 7
- Jumper or hoodie x 2
- Pants x 12
- Bra x 1
- Socks x 7
- Slippers x 1
- Scarf x1
- Shoes with a good grip x1
- Pyjamas x 1
- Swimming costume
- Toiletries (face wash, toner, shower gel, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, hair bobbles, toothbrush, toothpaste)
- Makeup ( moisturising primer, light foundation, concealer, powder, waterproof mascara, waterproof eyeliner, nude lipstick, eyeshadow palette, contour stick, highlighter, bronzer.)
- Sunscreen with high SPF
- Lip balm with SPF
- Mobile phone and charger
- Camera and charger
- Travel plug adaptor
- Books, cards, games
- Ear plugs
Have you guys been on a snow holiday?