Are you ready to hit the slopes and experience the thrill of a ski holiday? Ski holidays for first timers can be nerve wrecking, whether it’s knowing which ski resort to book, to understanding all the gear you need for your upcoming adventure. This article is a guide for novice skiers to ensure you know how to prepare for your upcoming adventure. So, here is how to get ready to carve some turns in the snow!

Book a ski destination popular with beginners

When it comes to choosing a ski destination for your first trip, whether you are travelling with kids or solo, it’s important to consider factors such as accessibility, ski facilities, and the availability of beginner-friendly slopes. Here are some popular ski destinations that are perfect for first time skiers:

  1. French Alps

The French Alps are renowned for their world-class ski resorts and stunning mountain scenery. Chamonix, Val d’Isère, and Courchevel are just a few of the many resorts that offer excellent facilities for beginners. These resorts boast a wide range of gentle slopes and plenty of ski schools, ensuring that first timers can learn at their own pace and feel confident on the snow.

  1. Austrian Alps

Austria is another popular ski destination for beginners, with resorts such as St. Anton, Kitzbühel, and Zell am See offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Austrian ski schools are known for their friendly and patient instructors who specialise in teaching beginners. You’ll find plenty of gentle slopes and practice areas, as well as a vibrant après-ski scene and mouthwatering Austrian cuisine to enjoy after a day on the slopes.

  1. Italian Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites are a hidden gem for first time skiers. Resorts, such as Cortina dampness and Val Gardena offer stunning scenery, excellent ski schools, and a relaxed atmosphere. The Dolomites are known for their wide and gentle slopes, making them perfect for beginners who want to build their confidence on the snow.

No matter which destination you choose, it’s important to research the ski resort’s altitude to ensure it is snow proof at your chosen time of year. Ski holidays for first timers also require a resort with dedicated beginner areas, gentle slopes, and reputable ski schools to make the most of your first ski holiday. In particular, check where the nursery slopes, the blue runs, and the ski schools are in relation to your accommodation or entry to the ski area. There is nothing more off putting for a first time skiers than having to master a steep T-bar or icy piste on your way to ski school every day.

Source ski equipment and clothing

Before hitting the slopes, it’s essential to have the right equipment and clothing to ensure a comfortable and safe skiing experience. Here’s a checklist of the essential items you’ll need for your ski trip:

  1. Ski gear
  • Skis: Rent skis that are suitable for beginners, typically shorter and more manoeuvrable. Hire shops will advise you which are suitable for your height, weight and level and will adjust your ski bindings accordingly.
  • Ski boots: Whilst it’s not worth buying skis at this point, it may be worth investing in a good pair of ski boots that offer a snug fit and provide comfort support.
  • Ski poles: Poles can be rented with skis and help with balance and coordination. During your first few days your ski school might teach you to master the planks before you start using your poles.
  1. Clothing
  • Base layers: opt for moisture-wicking and breathable materials to keep you warm and dry.
  • Mid layers: A fleece or wool sweaters are ideal for insulation.
  • Ski jacket and pants: Look for waterproof and windproof outerwear to protect you from the elements.
  • Gloves or mittens: Choose gloves that are waterproof and insulated for maximum warmth.
  • Helmet: Safety should be a priority, so invest in a well-fitting helmet to protect your head or rent one from the hire shop.
  1. Accessories
  • Goggles or sunglasses: These are essential to protect your eyes from the sun, wind, and snow glare.
  • Neck gaiter or balaclava: Not essential but immensely useful in cold weather to keep your neck and face warm.
  • Socks: opt for ski-specific socks that are moisture-wicking and provide cushioning.
  • Rucksack: Not essential but great for carrying snacks, water, sunscreen, and sunglasses while on the slopes.

Remember to rent or purchase your ski gear well in advance to ensure availability and proper fitting. Layer your clothing to adjust to changing weather conditions, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays reflecting off the snow.

Pre-book ski lessons for beginners

One of the most important aspects of a successful ski holiday for first timers is taking ski lessons with a qualified instructor. Ski lessons provide a structured and safe learning environment, allowing beginners to build their skills and progress at their own pace. Here are some tips for finding the right ski lessons and instructor for you and/or your kids:

  1. Group lessons

Group lessons are a popular choice for beginners as they offer a social and cost-effective way to learn to ski. In a group setting, you’ll ski with others of the same ability level, allowing you to learn from each other and cheer each other on. Group lessons are usually available in half-day or full-day sessions, with ski instructors providing guidance and feedback throughout the lesson.

  1. Private lessons

If you prefer more individual attention and personalized instruction, private lessons are a great option. They allow you to work one-on-one with a ski instructor who can tailor the lesson to your specific needs and goals. Private lessons are a lot more expensive than group lessons, but you will no doubt learn much faster as you will never need to wait for others and receive feedback on every turn.

  1. Ski school reputation

When choosing a ski school or instructor, it’s important to consider their reputation and experience. Look for ski schools that have qualified instructors who specialize in teaching beginners. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family who have been to the resort.

Remember that learning to ski takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the learning process. With the help of a qualified instructor, you will soon be gliding down the slopes with confidence.

Make sure you are safe: Tips for first time skiers

Safety should be a top priority when embarking on your first ski holiday. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear a helmet

Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your head from potential injuries while skiing. Make sure your helmet fits properly and is securely fastened.

  1. Get exercising

You will require a certain amount of cardio fitness and strength to not only enjoy your ski holiday but also to avoid injury. So, start exercising at least two to three months before departure.

  1. Warm-up exercises

Before hitting the slopes, warm up your muscles with some simple exercises to reduce the risk of strains or sprains. Stretch your legs, arms, and back to prepare your body for skiing.

  1. Ski rules

Familiarize yourself with the code of conduct of your ski resort, such as not stopping in the middle of the slopes. The rules might be different from other resorts and countries, so do make sure that you know the rules and abide by them for your own safety and that of others.

  1. Apply the right technique

Learning the correct skiing technique is essential for your safety and enjoyment on the slopes. Always take lessons if you are a complete novice.

  1. Stay hydrated and fuelled

Skiing is a physically demanding activity, so it’s important to stay hydrated and fuel your body with nutritious snacks and water throughout the day.

Plan the details

Planning your ski holiday in advance will help you make the most of your time on the slopes. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your itinerary:

  1. Lift pass

Research the different ski pass options available at your chosen resort and order online as it may save you a few pennies. Some resorts offer multi-day passes or discounted passes for beginners, or free passes for kids under a certain age, so take advantage of these offers.

  1. Ski lesson schedule

If you’re skiing in peak season, for example during the European school holidays, book your lessons well in advance, especially if you are considering private lessons.

  1. Off-slope activities

While skiing is the main attraction, don’t forget to plan some off-slope activities to make the most of your ski holiday. Research the resort’s offerings, such as snowshoeing, ice skating, tobogganing, or spa facilities.

  1. Weather conditions

Keep an eye on the weather forecast leading up to your trip and plan your activities accordingly. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and pack appropriate clothing and equipment.

By planning as many details as you can in advance, you can ensure a well-organized and enjoyable trip that maximizes your time on the slopes.


Ski holidays for first timers don’t need to be daunting. Thanks to our guide, you are now ready to embark on your first ski trip! Whether it’s a family vacation or a trip with friends, we hope you are feeling inspired and excited. Remember to choose a beginner-friendly ski destination, invest in the right kit, and prioritize safety on the slopes. Lastly, budget wisely to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable ski holiday.