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Taking to the piste

Taking to the pistePublished: 14 September 2017

Author: Stephanie Coulter

I’ve been skiing for many years and I never tire of the joy of the fresh crisp air, the stunning mountain vistas and the sheer exhilaration that you experience on a run down from the top to the bottom of the piste.

Oddly while there’s no denying it’s a full on holiday due to the physical exertion required (and that’s just carrying your skis and walking in ski boots!) I actually find it very relaxing, mainly because I don’t have time to think about anything else when I’m skiing so ‘normal’ life feels a million miles away.

And on top of that you get to relax with après ski.

In the last few years I’ve started to take my children away with me so while that’s capped the previous freedom a bit, it’s a joy seeing them progress and love it as much as I do.

If you’re thinking of taking to the slopes my top tips are:

DIY Bookings

While it can feel like there are a lot of aspects to organise, I’ve always found it really easy to book a ski trip myself. Everything you need is, in the words of Peter Kay, on t’internet – the flights are cheap, accommodation options abound and other items such as transfers and ski schools can be sorted at the touch of a button. If you have a group make sure you nail down the week that everyone can do, the budget people are prepared to fork out (and make sure they account for ski passes, equipment hire, food, drinks etc….) and if you have a big group (I once arranged a trip for 23!) don’t leave it to the last minute; start looking around October for the best choice.

Catered Chalets

Although I’ve stayed in hotels and self-catering apartments by far the best option, in my humble opinion, is a catered chalet. For me it makes life just so easy being in what is essentially a home from home but with hosts that are on hand to look after you as well as cooking delicious meals (apart from lunch and one night a week when you get to go “out out”). You even get to enjoy a freshly baked cake on your return from the slopes - bliss. While it might sound like an expensive option, it’s actually great value for money and well worth every penny.


There’s no denying that it’s a bit of a military operation getting up and ready for a day on the slopes but being prepared is essential if, like me, you want to head out early and make the most of your day. It’s pretty obvious but packing your bag the night before or leaving your items together so you can pack them easily means you won’t be panic packing half asleep (and find you’ve forgotten key items when you’re already on the gondola).

Backpack Essentials

When heading to the slopes I always have in my backpack – Factor 50 sun lotion, SPF lip balm, tissues, a neck scarf that can be pulled up to cover my nose (good for cold chairlifts), quality sunglasses, a woolly hat (while a helmet should be warn when skiing, a hat is good for when you take it off at lunch or at the end of the day), a water bottle, a small purse and mobile. Also it’s well worth investing in a good pair of goggles (vital if visibility is poor), gloves and proper ski socks to make sure toes and hands keep warm.

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