beginners ski advice

Skiing tips and advice for beginners

How cold is it?

At the beginning of the season (December/January) sometimes we can experience very cold conditions especially if the areas are in the shade of the sun. In contrast the end of the season can be very warm.

What to wear?

It is better to have ski trousers and ski jackets rather than an all in one suit (makes going to the loo easier for kids especially!) Make sure that trousers are waterproof, breathable, and insulated (or use a layering system - see below).

When buying skiwear, look for fabric that is water, breathable, and wind-resistant. Look for protection to shield zippers, adjustable cuffs at wrists, collars that can be done up to the chin, and deep pockets. Be sure to buy quality clothing products (especially for children, warm kids are happy kids!).

Please don't skimp on your children's ski gear. Make sure that you kit them out with plenty of Layers to wear (this helps to accommodate for the bodies constantly changing temperature,) they can always peel a layer off if they become too hot, but there is nothing worse than getting cold and not being able to warm up (especially when you're only 4!).

ski clothing layer system

Why wear layers?

Multiple layers are better at trapping air near your skin, keeping heat close to you. This is why many multiple layers will always be a more effective method of insulation than one, thick layer.

The layering system is broken down into 3 key areas described below:

1. The Baselayer - The First Layer

The baselayer is worn next to the skin for maximum wicking of sweat and to keep your body heat as regulated as possible. Baselayers are great for activities like gym work or indoor climbs as they can be worn alone, will help mop up sweat, and should transport moisture away from your body.
However outdoors, often a baselayer alone won't cut through the cold.
This is why layering is so important. Your baselayer will do all the hard, unappealing work next to your skin, soaking dampness from your back and armpits, whilst your fleece gets the better job of keeping you warm and your outer jacket fights of rain and wind.

2. The Insulating Layer - The Second Layer / Midlayer

Worn over your baselayer, this traps the heat in and keeps you toasty and warm during your outdoor activity. This layer should be quite tight to your body allowing minimal air movement for maximum heat retention. Fleeces and similar garments are ideal.
Hoodies and other jumpers may be great for periods of low or no activity, but midlayers designed with cotton or other natural fibres won't protect you from moisture build up and are no use when you start to create sweat or heat.
Keep your insulating layer close rather than loose. It should be trapping heat close to your skin. Most are cut smaller to accommodate for the layering system.
how the layer system works Synthetic fabrics such as polyester fleece are ideal for the midlayer because they are great at resisting moisture and retaining heat.

3. The Waterproof/Weather Protection Layer/ Outer Shell - The Third Layer

Your outermost layer is designed to keep you comfortable while having the tough job of keeping you safe from the wind, water, and freezing temperatures. It is literally your outer shell against the world!
You need to look for a layer that's waterproof, windproof and also breathable so you don't 'steam up' inside your jacket.

Skiing Gloves, Hats, and Helmets:

Ensure that gloves are not too tight, leave a bit of room to let the fingers move around (mitts are quite warm) and make sure that kids gloves will stand up to making snowballs! (for young kids, elastic through their sleeves and attached to their gloves at either end saves any gloves getting lost!). A spare pair of gloves is always a good idea. We all loose warmth through our extremities (80% through our heads!), it is important to have a warm hat that covers the ears or a headband for slightly warmer weather, this can always be discarded if you get too hot.

Ski helmets are a good idea. If your child wears a ski helmet, remember you may have to raise your voice more to get their attention because a helmet may impede their hearing slightly. Make sure the helmet fits correctly. Educate your child about the benefits and limitations of the helmet. Wearing a helmet doesn't give permission to ski or snowboard faster or recklessly.

BASS always recommend that any children (and/or adults) consider wearing a helmet during their skiing. This not only provides warmth but also reasonable protection.

Sun Protection

Be sure to wear sun protection, even on cloudy days (higher the factor the better). The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think! A ski holiday with a sun burn is no fun!

Kids & adults should have sunglasses (for fine weather) and goggles (for wind & snow) Take both with you unless you can be sure that it is a clear day & Glasses will be suitable. Glasses are no use in wet or snowy conditions as they steam up on the inside. Skiing is a lot more fun when you can see. Always wear eye protection!

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