Winter sports for beginners #3 – preparing and tips

Together with a friend and my sister I left in February for a few days to Winterberg in Germany. For the three of us it was the first time in the snow. Before that moment I’ve had some lessons in a snow hall, but that’s totally different. Less ‘real’. For all the other beginners I’ve wrote 3 articles about winter sports in Europe. I hope you have an unforgettable time in the snow with these tips, because after just one weekend I can tell you: it’s a lot of fun! In part 1 I helped you guys choose a destination and in part 2 I gave you an indication of the budget for winter sports. In this article I share how I prepared for my trip and besides that I give a lot of useful tips!

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Taking lessons: yes or no?

As I previously mentioned, I had some snowboard lessons in a snow hall before. So I knew the basics. Some people descend the slopes without ever having taken a lesson, but I wouldn’t recommend this. You are not only for yourself, but as well for others a danger if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re descending like a maniac you won’t make a lot of new friends… You can take some lessons during your trip (most places have a lot of different schools) or you can try to learn it beforehand in a snow hall. In addition, winter sporters are very friendly to each other so if you’re a beginner you can always ask someone for some help if you need it.

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Winter sports travel insurance?

A lot can happen in the snow. During our short trip we saw the snow mobile almost every hour because there were a lot of accidents on the slopes. Keep in mind that winter sports are almost never covered by your travel insurance. You need an additional winter sports/extreme sports insurance. Check this beforehand if you want to know what’s covered with your current insurance.

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What should you bring with you?

– Daily clothing like sweaters, trousers, underwear, a lot of extra socks
– Ski clothes or waterproof pants and jacket
– Thermal clothing
– Scarf
– A beanie/a hat/a helmet
– Waterproof gloves
– Ski goggles and/or sunglasses
– Snow boots or good shoes. While you’re skiing or snowboarding you will have special shoes. But maybe you also want to walk a bit and then you prefer good shoes, right?
– Snowboard or ski equipment if you have this
– Toiletries like deodorant and shampoo. It’s also really useful to get a lip balm and a sunscreen with a high factor. Make sure the sunscreen is not based on water, because then your face can freeze, brrr! I use a special moisturizer from Colombia with SPF 50 and a lip balm with SPF 30.
– Are you with more people? Take a board game or a deck of cards with you?
– But it’s also great to crawl on the couch with a book or a magazine.
– A waterproof and shockproof camera. Many people are fan of the GoPro. I use the Canon Powershot D30, a pretty nice camera that fits in my pocket and it’s great for outdoor and water sports!
– Swimsuits. When we arrived at our cottage we were told we could use the pool and the sauna in the hotel in front of the cottage. Nice!

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Additional tips

1. Do you not like cold? Use the thermal clothing! I was really worried I would freeze to death, but it was not that bad.

2. You don’t have to be on the slopes every day. Especially beginners will get myalgia the first days. It’s nice to take a day off and explore the surroundings. You can make a winter hike, but you can also enjoy the view over the snow in the restaurants while you enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. In many ski resorts you can also do fun things like ice skating, sleigh rides, cross country skiing, making a trip with a snow mobile or go on an adventure with sled dogs.

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3. This may sounds a bit silly, but you should really check out the map of the ski area. We found out the last day that there was another parking spot where you could explore some other slopes.

4. If you go by car, keep in mind you need some winter tires. At most places you also need some snow chains. Finally in countries like Austria and Switzerland you need a car sticker so you can drive on the highways. You can buy these at the borders, but it’s just as easy to arrange this in your own country.

5. Take a lot of extra socks and underwater with you. A reader told me it would be very likely that there would be snow in my pants. And she was damn right. So bring extras, even if you have waterproof clothes!

6. This one is for the ladies. I had a big scarf and it was a bit of a no-go. Because my scarf kinda ended up in my face when I was descending. My friend had a cowl scarf and that one was a lot better and safer on the slopes!

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7. I repeat it one more time: use lip balm and sunscreen with a high factor. You probably want to share some cool stories when you come back home, right? Not being the clown of the group – literally with that big red nose.

8. Do a little warming-up before you’re heading to the slopes. That way you easily prevent some injuries.

9. Take a map of the ski area, so you know how the area looks like. And so you know when the lifts will close. You don’t want to end up like the people in the movie Frozen

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I hope this article and the previous ones helped you preparing for a winter trip. Do you have any additions? Don’t be shy and share them with me and other readers!

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