Top Alpine Tips

Skiing is great fun, but things can go wrong. Here are some tips to ensure you don’t put a foot wrong on or off piste.

By TTM on 01 September 2006 in Travel Articles

1. Insure a good time
Don’t run the risk of financial ruin just because you think ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Alpine holidays are expensive investments with gear, lessons, ski passes, etc – so don’t allow it to be any more costly than is necessary. Think ahead, take out the most appropriate insurance, something that will cover all your expensive equipment, yet ensure that you are not left to pay a monstrous bill in the event of an accident on the slopes.

2. Hasta la pista
The more confident skier / boarder may be tempted by the powder and adrenaline offered off-piste … if so take precautions. Where possible go with a registered guide or instructor, someone who knows the area and the dangers it presents. At the very least don’t go alone. Tell others, outside of your party, where you’re going and when to expect you back, so that in the event of an accident or ordnance failure, you’re not forgotten.

3. Stay warm in the storm
Prior to embarking on your winter snow break, make sure you have all the right gear. Snow is wet and cold so it’s important to have enough layers and waterproof equipment for the duration of your stay. Experts have advised that it is best to wear a number of thin layers (especially children) as opposed to one or two heavy ones.

4. Your name’s not down
Don’t be the one left miles from home trying to persuade a lift attendant (who may not speak English) to let you on the lift because you have lost your ski pass. These are very expensive yet very easy to lose. Ensure that yours is kept in a safe place … a lanyard round your neck represents a good investment.

5. Respect to your elders
The mountains can be a very dangerous place especially in the winter, so its important to show respect and heed any good advice offered. Authorities in all resorts will publish information and warnings where necessary on avalanche probability, visibility, ice levels and any other dangers specific to certain areas or times.

6. Be Prepared
The cold mountain air can often disguise the potency of the sun’s rays and can lead to a badly burnt face. Sun block and lipsil are a must for a day on the slopes (especially for children) and a good supply of water is advisable as dehydration is a very real threat at high altitudes. An energy snack is also a good addition to ensure your blood sugar levels remain high.

7. On the piste
For many it’s the apres-ski that makes the holiday but it’s important to know your limits whilst on the slopes, especially given the altitude factor. Excessive alcohol consumption prior to alpine activities not only puts you at risk but also those around you. It can also, in some resorts, lead to the confiscation of lift passes, and moreover in the event of any accident have a considerable affect on your insurance cover.

8. Unfit for the chair lift
While many consider alpine pursuits to be leisurely and relaxing, it is important to remember that they do in fact involve hours of physical activity. Good health and a reasonable level of fitness are therefore necessary to avoid any problems on the slopes. Visit your GP prior to travelling.


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