Sport of the Month London Skiing
Why get into Skiing?
Skiing is an exhilarating winter sport, which provides an excellent form of aerobic exercise in beautiful mountain and fresh air surroundings. Downhill skiing provides the added benefits of a fun and good overall body workout, in particular strengthening and toning the leg muscles, specifically the hamstrings and quadriceps; buttocks, hips, abdominals and triceps.
4 good reasons to take up skiing
- Packed with high adrenalin fun
Nothing beats the feeling of whizzing down mountains, taking on large moguls and heading off-piste for deep powder action.
- Become a technical master
Generally speaking skiing is more technical than snowboarding, requiring a good degree of co-ordination. Typically beginners require a full week of morning lessons (practicing what you have learned in the afternoon), before they are at a competent level. To ski perfect parallel and slalom ski through deep powder requires a good degree of expertise.
- Great work out
On average skiers will burn around 500 calories per hour!
- Skiers are very adaptable creatures
Unlike snowboarders who despise long drag lifts and flat bits, skiers can effortlessly ride up mountains on draglifts, chairlifts and gondolas.
How do I start skiing in London?
Surprisingly enough there are some great ski locations around London, where you can take lessons (full equipment hire available) before you head to the Alps, Pyrennes or the Rockies in North America.
To find your nearest indoor ski centre, use Find a Sport Club/ Venue directory on Totally Sporty. There are in fact an incredible 12 ski and snowboard centres within 30 miles of central London with excellent facilities, soft and fluffy snow and a full range of lessons, including the massive 160m piste in St Albans (opened April 2009) and the 120m Wycombe Real SnowDome. Full details on Totally Sporty website!!
Skiing is certainly more fun when you have some company. To find a recreational ski partner, or even some one to go to an indoor ski centre with, you can use the Find Sport Partner section on Totally Sporty. Simply put in your postcode and you will find winter sport enthusiasts in your area!!
Skiing close to home
Scotland has a number of good quality resorts, which provide a fantastic opportunity for a long ski weekend. There is currently a 5-Day pass on offer, which covers all the main resorts (Glenshee, Nevis Range, Glencoe, Cairngorm and The Lecht) for £115 per person. The pass which is valid until 30th April 2010 must be used on consecutive days. See ski.visitscotland.com/five-day-pass for more details.
Whilst ski resorts in Scotland are on a smaller scale to continental Europe (with relatively small ski terrains, less slopes and shorter runs) and are less technical, they do provide a cheaper option for a short break.
Before you go, you can check out the latest snow conditions on live web cams and regularly updated Visit Scotland website.
Book your next ski holiday with SnowTrex, Europe's largest winter sports tour operator. They specialise in both cheap/ low cost ski deals throughout Europe, luxury packages, flights and self drive car hire. Every SnowTrek ski deal includes a lift pass as well a Snow-and-Nice- Price Guarantee.
See www.snowtrex.co.uk for more information.
Different levels of skiing
- Ability to do the snowplough
- Skier can turn both ways, but has difficulty linking turns and likely to fall over.
- Ability to link turns, ski at a moderate speed and ski parallel.
- Ability to ski on more advanced terrain, including moguls (small bumps on slope) which require more technical skill
- Skies with style and finess. Good posture and body positioning
- Skier can adjust the size and length of turn, travel at great speed and effortlessly slalom through deep powder.
What clothing do I need?
If you are planning on going skiing from November- February, you will definitely need to bring lots of warm clothes with you, including the following:
- Woolen hat, gloves, scarf or face mask (depending on conditions)
- Thermal socks (recommended one thin, one thick pair)
- Ski trousers, fleece and warm jacket
- Thermal underwear (worn as base layer under trousers and tops)
- Ski goggles or Sunglasses (depending on conditions)
To stay warm and be fully mobile, we recommend wearing lots of thin layers, starting with thermal long sleeve top and long johns.
Should I buy or rent skis and boots?
This all depends on how regularly you go each year and how long for. If you ski only once per year or only go for a few days, it will be more economical to rent skis and boots as and when you need them.
However, if you are plan to ski more than 1 full week per year, it will be cheaper to buy your own set of skis. Rental costs are typically around £20 per day (depending on what quality of ski you choose) A new set of skis with bindings costs around £400 (entry level), so you only need to ski for 20 days to start saving money.
Money saving tips
- Ideally buy a full ski package (which includes flights, transfers, accommodation, half board and ski hire)
- Go off season- avoid busy holiday periods around Christmas, New Year, Easter and school holidays
- Borrow ski clothes, accessories (eg goggles) and skis from a friend
- Buy ski rental packages online in advance, rather than renting directly from rental shops
- Rent a chalet in a large group with self catering (reduces expensive restaurant expenses)
- Do some research and choose a resort where day and weekly ski pass are cheaper. Prices vary greatly between resorts, some are more exclusive than others, though often the quality of skiing is the same
- Buy weekly passes rather than individual day passes
- If only skiing for around 4 hours, buy a half day pass
- Be organised- bring sun cream, lip balm and other useful items with you
- In the morning make sandwiches before you start your day, to avoid having to pay for expensive lunches out on the slopes!
Fresh (or first) tracks: when a skier is first to ski an area of fresh snow before anyone else
Milk Run: the first run of the day
Schuss: to ski down the slope without turning. This would be nuts on the black (advanced) piste!
Ski in, Ski Out: having accommodation on or near a slope or ski lift allowing for a quick start in the morning and a quick return!