PREPARATION

 

If you have the opportunity before you go away, some stretching and strength work on your legs and feet will certainly enhance your ski experience.  For example - if you don't normally run and then go out running every day for a week, you will certainly feel the impact on your legs and feet.  It is the same with skiing, so any preparation work you can do will certainly help, making it a more comfortable and enjoyable time. 

In Ski Rental shops, most customers won't know exactly what they need when they arrive and will rely on the technician for advice.  Here are 5 simple tips designed to offer some guidance, to help get you on the right track from the start.  During your ski vacation, you want to spend as much time on the slopes enjoying the skiing as possible and certainly don't want to be back in the rental shop exchanging equipment.  We recommend spending a few minutes reading these tips, so you know what to expect and get the best from your experience.

1  Purchase Ski Insurance

Image by Anne Nygård

When renting skis many ski shops will offer an optional insurance, often at a low cost, that will cover you if the skis are damaged or stolen.  Whether you purchase this insurance or have rental equipment covered on your travel insurance, it is certainly worth taking the extra precaution to avoid the risk of getting a large bill.  Before leaving the rental shop check your rental skis for any damage and make the technician aware of anything you are concerned about.  When skiing there can be rocks hidden below the surface and these can cause a lot of damage to the base or edge of a ski, sometimes irreparable.  When leaving skis in racks, always try to separate them and partner with another ski if possible, to make a mismatched set.  This makes it tougher for someone looking to steal a set of skis quickly.    

3  Appropriate Ski Length

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It can be hard to recommend an exact ski length purely based on a person's height as there are various other factors to consider, such as the type of ski (whether a piste ski, powder ski, all mountain ski etc.), the skiers weight, skiing ability etc. The rental technician is there to assess all these details and provide you with an appropriate ski. However, it is always good to have some knowledge so that you can assess any problems that you are having. When the ski is too long, it will be faster and hard work to control. When the ski is too short, there is not enough stability and staying balanced will be tough. As a general rule, shorter skis are typically better for short turns, skiing bumps and beginner skiers, where it is easier to initiate a turn. Longer skis provide more stability if skiing at higher speeds and have better floatation in softer snow. So if you are having problems during your ski vacation, it is worth returning to the ski shop and speaking to a technician who will determine if a different ski length would help.

5  Check The Base Of The Skis

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During your vacation, keep a check on the condition of the base of the ski.  When the ski base starts to look grey/white and have a grainy appearance, it means that the ski is dry and needs wax.  When the ski is in this condition, it tends to stick to the snow and doesn't glide very well.  In this case, take the ski back into the rental shop and they should be able to wax it for you.  If you notice any deep gouges in the base of the ski, it's best to take them back to the rental store so the technician can assess whether it needs to be repaired, to avoid causing further damage.

2  Correct Boot Size

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When renting ski boots it is important to spend the time making sure the boot is snug and comfortable before you leave the ski shop to avoid multiple trips back.  The most common mistake with rental boots is ending up with a boot too big.  Ideally start by wearing a light cushion sock which is a thin sock but it provides some padding in the key areas.  Avoid thick socks or multiple pairs as this creates pressure points and usually results in colder feet, as it eliminates the air space around the toes.  When fitting correctly, your toes should comfortably brush the front of the boot.  When flexing/bending forwards, your toes should release from the front.  You should have a firm but comfortable grip around your foot and leg so that you move with the boot, and avoid rolling around inside the boot.

4  Rent Or Purchase A Helmet

Ski Helmets

Fortunately, over the last 15 years or so, popularity in wearing ski helmets has grown enormously.  You may think that it is unnecessary if you don't often fall but you can't predict if or when, someone skis into you.  Not only is there the risk of collision but there are many hidden rocks beneath the surface of the snow that can cause a lot of damage if you were to land on them.  Wearing a helmet gives an extra layer of protection by helping to absorb the shock or collision.  A properly fitted helmet will help reduce the risk of more severe head injuries.  If you ski regularly, it would be worth purchasing a helmet as there are many inexpensive options which can be cheaper than renting for a longer period.  However, if you prefer to travel without it, most ski shops now rent helmets.  During peak holidays, it is recommended that you reserve a helmet as they can sell out.

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