Start your ski adventure: Everything you need to know about planning your first winter holiday
If you’re keen to try something new, get out into snow-covered scenery and spend quality time with family and friends, Crystal’s got you covered.
We’ve put together some answers to frequently asked questions about ski holidays, to help you with everything from planning your first trip to taking lessons and having fun with après-ski.
Where’s the best place to go?
You can choose from over 100 resorts across Europe and North America with Crystal. And to help you narrow it down, we’ve picked out some of the best ones for beginners – with highly rated, English-speaking ski schools, a great range of gentle slopes and lots of things to do when you’re not skiing too.
To get stuck in straight away, use the ‘best for beginners’ filter on our deals pages to check out your options.
When should I go?
In most resorts, the ski season runs from December to April. If you’re thinking about the best time to go, each month has its benefits – from festive fun in December, to quiet slopes in January and sunny skies in spring.
How can I get the best deal?
There are loads of tips and tricks for skiing on a budget, like going in the cheapest weeks or making the most of special offers on lift passes and equipment hire.
The easiest way to get everything you need is with our first-time ski and board bundles, which are designed just for beginners. They include your lift pass, equipment hire and lessons, and work out cheaper than booking everything separately.
Should I try skiing or snowboarding?
It’s one of the first things you’ll need to decide – do you want to learn to ski or snowboard? There’s an old saying that skiing’s easier to learn but harder to master, while boarding’s harder to learn but easier to master. Find out more about the differences between them to help you pick which to try.
Do I need to take lessons?
As a beginner, you should always take lessons with a ski school – and you’ll get them included with our first-time ski or board bundles.
You’ll learn proper techniques and see more of the mountain with your qualified instructor. And because you’ll be in a group, you can have fun and make friends with others who are just starting out too. Or you can book private lessons to get one-on-one tuition instead.
If you want to try skiing or snowboarding closer to home first – to see if you like it and pick up the basics – take lessons at an indoor snow centre in the UK.
What else is there to do in a ski resort?
Ski holidays aren’t just about skiing – they’re about chairlift chats, panoramic views and lunches on mountain terraces. And you can end each day with après-ski, which is the time you spend socialising and doing other things after hitting the slopes.
Sip a drink and dance in a pisteside bar, chill out in a spa or get stuck into other must-do winter activities, from classics like snowmobiling to unusual picks like ice diving or Olympic bobsleighs.
What should I pack?
You’ll need some clothing to keep you warm and dry on the slopes – like a ski jacket, salopettes (ski trousers) and base layers (long-sleeved thermal tops and leggings) – plus goggles to protect your eyes.
It doesn’t need to cost a lot though. See if you can borrow bits from mates or browse the high street and online shops to nab some bargains. And keep an eye out for sales at the end of each ski season.
You’ll also want to take warm clothes and sturdy shoes to wear off the slopes. Make sure you’ve ticked off everything with our ultimate ski packing list.
How else can I prep before I go?
You don’t have to be super sporty to ski, but it can help to do some simple exercises to get fit for skiing and make your first couple of days on the mountain a bit easier.
And take a look at some tips to staying safe on the slopes too, including things like watching your speed and staying hydrated.
For even more info to help you plan your first trip, check out our ultimate guide to ski holidays for beginners.
And come and see us in person at the National Snow Show. Our expert staff will be there to answer any more questions you might have and share top tips about all things ski.