By Ferdi Burger on 19 November 2014

Skiing and snowboarding are two adrenaline-fuelled sports which can be tremendous fun for everyone. Thousands of tourists head to mountain holiday resorts in the likes of France, Switzerland and Canada every year to enjoy a winter sports holiday.

Even for beginners, it can represent of one of the high points of the winter and an experience that will be difficult to forget. Here's a brief guide to what you need to prepare for your first ski or snowboard holiday and what you can expect from your stay in the snow.


As well as holiday essentials like your passport, foreign currency and travel insurance, you will need to ensure you've got all the equipment needed to stay safe on the slopes.

Thermals, hats, gloves and ski goggles are all essential. The more layers you can fit in your suitcase the better. Sun cream and lip block is even more crucial than for a summer holiday, as the sun reflects off the snow - potentially burning you faster even in cold temperatures. Most package holiday companies or ski holiday accommodations will offer ski hire, ski lift passes and lessons, but it's worth making sure.

Once you've touched down at your destination, be prepared for some early starts. Most hardcore ski and snowboard enthusiasts are up at the crack of dawn because that's when the snow is untouched. Most ski instructors begin their classes early in the morning as well.

Most lessons can last a couple of hours at least, and it can be tiring work, especially if you're falling a lot. It certainly helps if you've got a basic level of fitness. A lot of ski lifts start to close between 16.00 and 17.00, so there's potential to enjoy the slopes for a full eight hours if you want!


Most ski resorts thrive on the tourism that the mountains bring, so you can expect there to be plenty of attractions, bars and restaurants near your accommodation. You could well need a nap after eight hours of tearing up the slopes, but that's fine because there are plenty of attractions that remain open until the early hours of the morning.

Do make sure to watch your step if you do enjoy a few alcoholic beverages in the evening. It's still likely to be slippery!

It might not be sensible to stay out partying too late though, as you wouldn't want to miss the fresh early morning snow at sunrise! Even when they first start out, many tourists find skiing and snowboarding such addictive sports that they wake up buzzing to hit the slopes again, despite the previous night's debauchery. If that doesn't inspire you, what will?

Got your winter sports insurance sorted yet? We can offer you cover for all medical emergencies, including medical assistance on the slopes and helicopter rescue if required.

Click here to find out how to pack properly for your skiing holiday

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