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Fitness & Sports

Top Skiing Tips For Beginners

Skiing remains one of the most popular winter sports in the world, rivalled only by snowboarding in terms of mass appeal and number of enthusiasts. An increasing number of people take up the sport every year, and chalets in Morzine and other popular ski destinations continue to be in high demand each year.

If you are one of the many people tempted to try the sport, but afraid you will not be able to pick it up as well as everyone else, or if you have skied before but ended up making a fool of yourself in public and are reluctant to repeat the experience, do not despair. This article offers a few valuable tips for first-time and beginner skiers – from broader and more general advice to slightly more specialised hints. Having a quick skim through it before heading off to your holiday in one of the lovely chalets in Morzine will ensure that a minimal amount of people bear witness to you lying on your back at the top of the piste!

Getting ready

The first step to enjoying your ski experience is making sure the sport is a good fit for you. It’s no use persevering in something you don’t enjoy, is there? As such, most experts recommend that you rent or borrow, rather than buy, your gear, at least for the early stages of your ‘career’. Rental places for ski equipment abound in the Alps, and prospective skiers should have no problem acquiring skis, pads, boots and warm clothes somewhere close to their resort.

Specialists also recommend that you make sure your skis are about 20 to 30cm shorter than your own height, as shorter skis are easier to steer, resulting in a lower number of embarrassing pratfalls. The tips of the skis should not cross whilst you are skiing – if this happens, take them back to the rental shop and ask for shorter ones.

As far as boots are concerned, ensure that they are comfortable, yet snug. Your toes should be able to move freely, but your heel should NOT be able to come up, nor should your foot ‘slip’ around inside the boot once it is done up. Make sure your boots are done up while skiing (you can loosen them for walking to and from the piste), but don’t have them clipped too tight around the top of your foot cutting off the blood flow. They should, however, be snugger around the calf muscles. Make sure to take your time getting used to them before strapping on your skis, and then get a feel for your skis before heading to the ski lift. Believe it or not, having massive planks of wood strapped to your feet does affect your balance and motion!

Learning the basics

Once your equipment is all sorted, it’s time to learn the basics. A couple of lessons might take care of that, and most resorts renting chalets in Morzine will find a beginner’s skiing class for you, or provide one themselves.

Important basics to master include standing up (naturally!), changing direction and braking, all necessary to combat a skier’s main foe – gravity. It is also important that you work on your stance, as a proper body position can be the difference between a respectable run and legs-in-the-air embarrassment! One good tip is to look where you want to go – if you look at the floor whilst moving, you are most likely going to end up on it.

Once you become a little more comfortable with the basics, you might want to try working on your parallels. Only then should you venture out into challenges such as mogul fields (bumpy pistes) or powder (deeper snow).

All in all, nobody renting chalets in Morzine should be afraid to join their family members or friends in a run down the slopes. As long as you master the basics and are somewhat competent you should be able to avoid embarrassment and injury.

Liz Olkowicz