The first day of your ski holiday can always be a bit of a challenge. Whether it’s been a couple of months, years or even decades since you last skied, it can take a while to find your feet. You generally remember what slopes you were skiing on at the end of the last trip and how easy everything seemed so it can be frustrating when it doesn’t all come together again instantly. Here at Sweet Snowsports Ski School we thought we’d try and make life a little easier by giving you a few tips on how to get started again.
Picking the right terrain – the easier the better! Don’t be afraid to ask advice. You want to make sure that that first chairlift ride takes you to the run you want to be on. Check out a map before heading out the door! You want to look for a nice wide run that gives you space and time so that you don’t end up feeling pressured or rushed.
If you’re staying in Courchevel head to the Jardin Alpin bubble and ski the Bellecote run. It’s not the easiest to find but one of the best slopes we’ve ever come across for getting started. If you’re in Courchevel 1650 (Moriond) then Mickeys beginner slope although short, will be a great place to get going. La Tania guests should be aware that the nice long green from the top of the gondola can be quite a narrow track in places and while a fantastic place to head once you’ve found your feet, our advice would be to head to the Troika button lift in the centre of town for your first run. In Meribel take the Rhodos bubble up and ski the Altiport to find that same kind of space.
Give yourself the time – once you’ve found yourselves on these slopes and things are feeling pretty good don’t feel rushed to move on. Build up slowly on that first day, no one wants to get to 4 o’clock in tears of frustration or with legs so tired you wonder how you’ll make it up the chalet stairs! Even if you were skiing black runs on your last trip then have the aim of skiing blues on day one as it will mean that you end the day confident and excited for the next day. Taking the time to find your feet properly really will build a solid foundation for the rest of your week.
Go bigger on day one – no, that doesn’t mean find the biggest cliff and jump off it! We want you to think about making a bigger rounder turn than perhaps you usually would. Although a short turn may feel good because of the natural rhythm it can give you, it sometimes means your movements can be rushed and a bit all over the place. Making a bigger, rounder turn will give you the time to feel what’s going right and sometimes more importantly what’s going wrong. Quite simply what you want to aim for is a well balanced, centred position, standing through the centre of your feet.
Another way of feeling where you’re standing is thinking about where your lower leg sits in the ski boot. Aim for feeling an even pressure on both your calf and shin. Too much pressure on your calf can be a great indicator that you’ve fallen into the classic first day error of leaning back. Experiment a little and try feeling for more pressure on your shins to allow yourself to be more centred.
Here’s Jon talking through some of the points mentioned in this article.
Obviously the best way to find your feet, set yourself up for the week and know that you’re heading in the right direction is to take a ski lesson. At Sweet Snowports we believe that we’re the best there is at creating a confidence building, relaxed environment where improving your skiing seems effortless. If you want any more advice or would like to talk to one of our instructors about what ski lessons will suit you best please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.