The question of why do people go skiing? Is a perfectly valid question. If you were to describe the process to someone that has never heard of skiing, it would sound pretty bizarre.
“We go out in the cold, attach planks to our feet, sit on a chair suspended above the ground that takes us to the top of a mountain. Then we do our best to slide down the mountain as fast as we can so we can get to the bar”.
Of course, there is more to it than that, but in a nutshell it is amazingly great fun! In this post I am going to go through all the reasons why we travel the world to slide around on snow. If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will understand what I am getting at. But, if you have never tried it, I hope that I will inspire you to give it a try, it is potentially life changing.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will experience the thrill of sliding on snow. Beginners will love the feeling of achievement when they have managed to make their first turns and complete a whole run successfully.
The thrill you experience while skiing or snowboarding is super addictive. For us, the ultimate day on the mountain is on a blue sky powder day. We hike off in to the mountains to our favourite spots to reach untouched snow, (keep an eye on our facebook page to see what we get up to) but you don’t have to go to all this effort to have fun. Over night, the slopes are groomed to perfection with a lovely corduroy effect. If you get up the mountain on the first lift of the day, you can experience this before everyone else. Corduroy is perfect for fast skiing and carving as there are no bumps to worry about. This makes it super easy to practice your turns or just have lots of fun.
I’m sure that you realise that mountains are pretty important for a skiing holiday. But, snowcapped mountains are not just for sliding down. They have lots of other things that attract us to them, one of which is the spectacular views. In our book, there is no better sight than the towering peaks of the alps. The great thing about a sking holiday, is the you get to experience these views without having to be a mountaineer. Just sit on a chairlift and and take it all in as you are whisked to the top of the mountain.
Even if you are just on a week long skiing holiday, you are going to get a taste of a fantastic lifestyle. By escaping to the mountains, you will have a unique experience that will let you forget the busy and stressful life at home.
Waking up in the morning to alpine views, is a great way to start your day. Once you have had a slap up breakfast to fuel yourself up for the day, you can head to the slopes. The mountains have plenty of restaurants to enjoy a snack, a full meal or a few drinks while you rest your legs, that can be accessed at any time during the day. This means you can ski as much or as little as you like.
Skiing and snowboarding are very sociable sports. This comes from enjoying mountain time with your friends and family. But, if you stay in a shared catered chalet, you get to meet all sorts of new people. These can lead to hilarious nights around the table and lifelong friendships. You can of course have a chalet or apartment to yourself. This makes skiing holidays great for groups and gives old friends time to catch up.
Chalet holidays are also great for large families. We have lots of groups made up of kids, parents and grand parents. These multi-generational skiing holidays are getting more popular each winter. Check out our guide to learn all about these great family experiences.
Food & Drink
As ski resorts are geared up for holiday makers, you don’t have to try too hard to find excellent food and drink. I mentioned aprés earlier, this starts at about 4pm. Many bars put on live entertainment at this time and have happy hour prices. These are always great fun after a day on the mountain.
There are other options for feeding yourself during a skiing holiday. If you stay in a catered chalet, you will have chalet hosts that will cook breakfast and dinner for you. This is really popular with large groups, as it is a great experience and makes life a lot easier. Alternatively, you can go self catered. By doing this you can obviously cook your own meals, but you can also book a private chef or have food delivered to your door.
After all that food and drink, you may want to burn it off. But that’s OK because you are going skiing! Skiing is pretty good exercise, especially if you are fairly new to it. Skiing is a great mix of endurance and resistance training. It also has a positive effect on your heart and circulation, while being great for your legs and glutes.
Skiing and snowboarding are also great for interval training. This is because you have short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a rest on a chairlift. This improves your fitness level and is a great fat burner, which is a relief after scoffing all that cheese the night before!!
If you are concerned about having achey legs all week, you should know that many ski chalets have their own hot tubs to help you soothe your muscles while sipping a G n’ T. Sounds like my kind of exercise!
As skiing and snowboarding are quite physical sports, it is a good idea to do a bit of training before your holiday. Check out our guide to getting fit for your holiday.
Learning New Skills
You can pick up new skills each time you go skiing. Many of our guests set themselves goals for their holiday, whether they want to finally perfect their parallel turns, tick off all the black runs or complete the full circuit of the Portes du Soleil.
To make sure you get the most out of your first skiing holiday, we recommend that you choose a resort that is good for beginners and get some lessons. There are lessons available for people that have never even put skis on before, to lessons for people that want to go on backcountry adventures. There is always something to learn, and doing so will increase your enjoyment even more.
Its Just A Myth!
There are a few misconceptions about skiing holidays that put people off from giving it a go. So, now I am going to bust those myths and give you the truth.
“It’s too expensive”
Skiing is not reserved for the rich and famous anymore. There are less expensive resorts to go to and there are cheaper ways of having the full experience. For example, a catered chalet holiday may be cheaper for large families than a self catered one, as you are not going to restaurants every night. Flights are much cheaper if you book them well in advance and if you are travelling to France from the UK, you can get some good deals on the Channel Tunnel. Check out our guide to travelling to the alps here.
“It’s too much hassle with the kids”
Not at all! Some ski schools actually have childcare services. There are also some great nannies and babysitters available in ski resorts to make sure your kids are occupied and taken care of. Additionally, ski chalets are big enough to accommodate large families and ideal for when you bring the grandparents.
“Isn’t it always cold?”
Kind of. You would be surprised at how nice the weather is in the mountains. We are based in Morzine and have to make sure we keep topping up the suntan lotion to prevent the dreaded goggle tan. You can have a very different type of skiing holiday depending on what time of the winter you go. For example, you can have cold days with great snow, early in the season. But, you can come late in the season for sunny afternoons sipping rosé in a t-shirt. Check out our guide to help you decide when to go on a skiing holiday.
“I am going to spend my holiday falling over”
It is going to happen, but this is part of learning something new. With proper instruction, you will reduce the amount of time you are rolling around in the snow.
“So I will be living in a shed all week?”
Definitely not! We are talking widescreen TVs, comfortable beds, chic design and luxury style. Have a look at these to see what I mean.
“Skiing is for young people”
Nope! When you get out here, you will see lots of people in their 70’s and 80’s sliding around. Our friends at New Generation Ski school have written this blog about why it shouldn’t be scary to learn how to ski as an adult. Also check out this guy skiing on his 100th birthday.
“There is only skiing to do”
The mountains are nature’s playground, as they offer so much more to their visitors other than skiing and snowboarding. From soaring high above them from a paraglider to taking a leisurely snow shoe trek through the forests, looking for wildlife, the mountains have something for everyone. Click here to see activities for non-skiers.
“You can only eat cheese and meat”
Although most alpine foods are based around cheese and meat, there are some great options for food. There are more restaurants basing their food around alternative cuisine, as people are being more aware of dietary requirements. In Morzine alone, we have a great asian influenced restaurant, a micro brewery with vegan options and a curry house. Click here to see some of our favourite alternative restaurants.
“The outfits are silly”
Granted, there are a few questionable fashion choices in ski resorts. But largely the retro one piece outfits of the 80’s are long gone (there are exceptions). Clothing is very technical now to make sure you stay warm and dry when the bad weather does come in. You can even rent quality ski clothing now, so you don’t have to buy it.
“It is a long way to go without knowing what I am doing”
You can get some practice in before your holiday at indoor snow centres and dry slopes. These places offer lessons from an hour long to all day intense lessons. The intense lessons are designed to get you familiar with skis and turning within six hours. Well worth doing before you set off for the alps.
“Ski holidays are not exactly relaxing”
This is partly true. Of course you are taking part in a physical sport, but there are ways to unwind at the end of the day. I mentioned the hot tubs in the chalets, but this isn’t the only way to chill out.
Massages and different treatments are available in most ski resorts. You can visit a spa or have a massage therapist come to your accommodation. This is a great way to prepare your body for the following day or just to treat yourself, you are on holiday after all. Our guests love Mountain Rehab, as they offer loads of different services, they even have a gym.
“The nightlife is rubbish”
NOT AT ALL! There is something for everyone when it comes to nightlife. Whether you want a nice chilled out drink or an all nighter dancing on a podium, you will not be disappointed. Ski resorts are full of musicians and DJs playing aprés and late night sets. There are also occasional free events put on by the tourist office to make sure everyone in the resort is suitably entertained.
“I don’t like the idea of ski lifts”
When you are a beginner, you will only be using a simple rope tow or even a magic carpet (a conveyor belt). These are really slow and gently pull or carry you to the top of the beginner slopes. Once you get the hang of it, your instructor will take you on to a T-bar or button lift. These can take a bit of getting used to, but if you just relax in to them you will find them much easier.
Chairlifts are nothing to be scared of, it is just a case of sitting down at the right time when getting on and standing up to slide away when getting off.
“I don’t have all the equipment”
That is fine, as you can rent skis, poles, snowboards and boots when you get to the resort. Gone are the days of poor quality equipment. Hire companies provide really good stuff these days. There are lots of options to suit your ability and style. The best companies such as Doorstep Skis in Morzine, come to your accommodation to kit you out. All you need to do is fill in a form online so they know what type of equipment to bring you. This means all the guess work and stress is taken out of choosing the right equipment. If you feel like trying something else, or your boots don’t feel quite right, they will come back in the evening with more options.
Top Tips For Your First Ski Holiday
Your First Day
The first day of your ski holiday isn’t typical of the rest of your stay. This is because it is totally new to you. There is the inevitable faff factor and you need to get used to walking around and carrying your equipment, before you have even put them on. However, life is made easier by staying in a good catered chalet, where the hosts will drive you to and from the slopes (unless you stay in a ski in – ski out property).
But once you have got used to the feeling of having planks on your feet, you will soon get enough skills to make your way down gentle slopes. Most people will have mastered the nursery slopes and a few easy green runs within three days.
Your First Week
By the end of your first week, you will have completed a few blue runs. This is as long as you choose the right resort with suitable pistes for beginners and a good reputation for quality schools. Your first week of skiing could be the beginning of a life long passion that will keep you fit, take you to wonderful places that you can share with your friends and family.
Day three of your first ski holiday can be a bit frustrating. This is because your legs will be a bit tired (even if they don’t ache). It is quite common to have an off day mid week, so don’t plan on having a big day out on the mountain. This is a good day to take it easy, go skiing for a couple of hours, see how you feel. If it isn’t working, enjoy the other things the resort has to offer and save yourself for the rest of the week
Why Do People Ski? – Answered!
Skiing or snowboarding is fun no matter what level you are at. Both are very addictive, we are prime examples of this, as we changed our lives to do it as much as possible by moving to the alps. In this time we have travelled to some amazing places, met lots of fantastic people with a shared interest and experienced some of the most memorable days of our lives.
We recommend taking lessons at every stage of your skiing and snowboarding journey. There is always something new to learn or improve on, to increase your enjoyment further.
Skiing and snowboarding is there for the whole family to enjoy, from those that have just learned to walk to grandparents enjoying their retirement. Book your trip now, follow these tips and you will probably be skiing for the rest of your life.