Tips from a beginner, for planning a great ski holiday…

Before you go on vacation:

Book ”off”-season

This was something we did by accident, we wanted to go over my birthday, so we booked for the week before Presidents day weekend, it wasn’t Spring Break, it wasn’t Christmas/New Years, it was still ski and snow season, but it wasn’t PEAK season.

The ski lift lines weren’t too long, the restaurants weren’t too crowded and the equipment rental place wasn’t too busy, they had plenty of equipment, and they weren’t too rigid on whether we returned things on time, or decided to keep them an extra day or two.

Go in a group

If at all possible, go with friends or family members.   It was a lot of fun being on holiday with friends, and, not to mention, it was nice to have reduced accommodation costs due to sharing the price of the cabin between five other adults.

The only slight downside was that with five adults and a baby, we had a lot of luggage and our poor Suburban was even verging on being too small.  But I’d still do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Research online

You will be surprised what you find! After I added Angel Fire resort on my Facebook, I discovered a competition and ended up getting two free lift passes for a day – which is, as you know if you’ve been skiing before, a pretty big savings!

Savvy shopping

Our first set of thermals (aside from the odd bits for Christmas presents from friends) was bought at full price, $7 per piece (top and bottoms).  Which, I’ll admit, isn’t all that expensive and they were worth every penny, but, if you shop the sales, you will get exactly what you need, at a great price!

Our second set of thermals, we got for $3.50 in the Academy Sports sale, our headbands, our snow boots, hats, ‘inner’ gloves, goggles, were all 50% off as well.

Col’s salopettes we got online for only $15 (and he didn’t take them off for the whole week!) I got two pairs of ski-gloves for less than $20.

Our Columbia Omni-heat winter coats started at over $200 each, because they were at the outlet shop, they had 50% off, plus the shop was having a sale, another 30% off, so we got $200 coats for $70 each.

It pays to shop around off-season and in a number of shops.

Wear a pair, wash a pair

Even if you’re not planning on skiing a lot, it was handy to have two sets of thermals with us.  The ‘wash one, wear one’ approached worked out very well, we were never hovering at the tumble dryer waiting for stuff to come out or wearing stinky thermals.  Especially if you’re picking them up for $3.50 a pop, stock up and buy two! 😉

When you get there;

Altitude sickness

You WILL get it.

I wasn’t sure what was making me feel miserable at first, but it affected everyone, from the slimmest and fittest to the not-so-slim and not-so-fit among us in the group (namely, me!)

I, personally, suffered from severe headaches, (mind-crunching headaches) I couldn’t sleep very well and I felt dizzy and sick, for at least the first three days as well as the occasional nosebleed and severely dry lips.

The only ‘cures’ or some things you can do to help prevent altitude sickness, ascend slowly, drink LOTS of water, (your usual daily amount of water times two), alcohol also doesn’t help (it makes you dehydrated) and avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after you arrive.  Also, bring Vaseline so you can combat the dry lips!

Book Lessons!

Even if you’ve been skiing before, it’s advisable to book a lesson.  Col and I booked two lessons (one at 10am and one at 2pm) and it was the best thing we could have done.  We learned the basics, and because we had booked our trip at an off-peak time, we had almost one-to-one teaching during our lessons.

It was great – and it was a lot more reasonably priced than we expected it to be.  For the Angel Fire resort we went to, two, two-hour lessons plus a day lift pass was only $115 per person.

Wear (removable/zippable) Layers

We had a number of layers on when we went up the mountain, though we didn’t need them for the most part.  Layering is the key, the wind can be cold, but the sun shining can make you warm.  Bring a back-pack with you and layer and un-layer accordingly!

For those who have never gone skiing before:

You WILL fall, a LOT (and sometimes, in the most unexpected places).  Most of my falls (all three of them! yay me!) were when I was coming off the ski lift.  It’s a knack, it takes a lot of practice to get used to (I still haven’t gotten the hang of it) so work on the ski lift – something I wasn’t expecting to have an issue with at all, or, at least, something I never gave any thought to before I went.

Falling is a part of skiing, even if you’ve been time and again!

Bring socks with ‘shin-protection’

When I was shopping, Magz told me to get the ski socks with added padding around the shin area.  She’s been skiing since she was eight years old, so I took her advice, and I was immediately glad I did.

Ski boots are designed so you have very little choice but to bend your knees.  Your weight is brought forward and you ‘lean’ on the boots, by way of your shins.  Trust me, trust Magz and do it!

Bring Sunscreen!

Or, as I had typed and Col had to play spell checker for me, ‘sunscream’! LOL! For some stupid reason, I didn’t expect to get any sunburn.  Bring suncreen, you may be on top of a mountain, but you’re on a reflective surface and the sun is shining.  Pack the sunscreen!

A few couple tips;

Always put the weight on your downhill ski and ALWAYS put your downhill ski on first.  Once again, something Magz warned me about, but something I had to learn the hard way, I put my uphill ski on first and my downhill ski went for a scoot down the mountain…

McMasters kitted out!

What are your tips for a successful and fun ski holiday?