The morning after from getting fully equipped from the ski store is a very exciting time because you get to use the skis and see if you can rise to the challenge, I felt like a kid on Christmas day.
I was fortuitous because the company that brought me out to Morzine also treated me to a ski instructor.
Now, before I go straight into the action I feel I need to give you some valuable advice, as that’s my job with this guide. Make sure you have breakfast before leaving your chalet, you will burn a lot of energy very quickly and no one wants to be the weak link or the spoilsport of the group. Please make sure you fill up before leaving. I made a crucial mistake when I went to my first ski lesson and that is I forgot to bring water with me. I’m telling you from firsthand experience that you will crave water whilst out on the slopes. Food and drink is an essential please don’t try and skip any of this, you will regret it.
By now you will be in your ski kit and have all your equipment on you, ready to make the climb up to the top of the slopes. You can get the cable carts up there that’s not an issue but you need a ski pass to use them, adult passes range from €44.50 – €900 depending on whether you want a 5hour or a season pass, prices can vary depending what region you’re in.
When I arrived on the slopes the only information I knew about my instructor was that his name is Grant and that he will be wearing all yellow. Which at the time I didn’t realise the complications this could have, and it was only when I seen the hundreds of skiers that it dawned on me.
My lesson was meant to be at 11:00am and I ended up not starting it till 12:30pm because we couldn’t find each other but with a bit off luck and a phone call we managed to get it together.
Grant McNaughton is an instructor for New Generation Ski School, who I would highly recommend. We started off putting one foot in a ski and keeping the other one free from the ski. The point of this exercise is to get a good indication of your balance but also to get a feel for the ski.
The next part major part to your ski lesson and the hardest technique for a beginner is the snowplough. This is where your ankles need to spread as far apart as possible but your toes need to be as close as they can without touching, this will then control the speed you go at down the slope. It took me a lot of attempts just to get it at an average standard but with a lot of grit and perseverance I managed to progress. I will admit that it took me a lot of walking up the slope just to go again and your feet start to go numb from the boots after a couple of hours.
Once you progress on you start to learn how to turn and then things start to get interesting because you can really see the how well you’re doing.
Grant was very encouraging and I felt that he was with me every step of the way and as an instructor he was faultless. Lessons for beginners in Morzine cost between €79 – €99.
I must touch upon something said in the First Time Skiers Guide – Part 1, I was wrong to ever think that the dry slope for skiing would help me.
Overall the experience of learning how to ski was a most memorable one and I would encourage everyone to at least try it once. You will ache, crash and fall but like the saying goes ‘no pain, no gain.’ On my last turn down the slope before the end of the lesson, I opened pointed my toes down on the skis too fast and came to a crashing stop where my shoulder plunged into the snow but you just have to pick yourself up and go again.
Morzine really has everything to offer for the best first time skiers holiday, the chalets are beautiful, the town fantastic and the ski resort is up there with the best. Although if you’re out drinking avoid the beer Mutzig it’s lethal at 12%!
Once we landed in Geneva and collected our baggage we were greeted by Ollie who is a representative for ChaletFinder. He drove us to our chalet and provided us with a document to go and collect our ski equipment and passes.
But before we arrived at our accommodation we were taken to an iced over lake called Lac de Montriond which supplied us with the most peaceful and breathtaking of scenes. It was just utter bliss.
After settling in and unpacking at the chalet we headed down to SkiSet who are a traditional and local company with stores based all around the resort. You can buy and rent skis, snowboards and mountain bikes from them and they were the ones providing us with our equipment.
The first thing they got me to do after telling them I’d rather ski than snowboard was measure my feet to fit the boots. It’s a bizarre feeling when you put them on for the first time because they are very tight, to say they were a snug fit would be an understatement! Also they instantly make you lean forward, which is a good thing, as that will help you when learning to ski. It’s like having a pair of ice-skates as boots, that’s the best way to describe them. I’m just giving you the heads up now so you know what to expect. Also whilst we are on the subject of the ski boots, I would recommend not trying to walk down steps or anything that can easily put you off balance as I nearly found that out the hard way (phew).
The next step is they determine what skis will suit you best. The way they do this depends on your height and weight and you will find that the length of the ski will come somewhere between your top lip and forehead. Although for beginners they tend to size the ski closer to your chin as it will help with being able to turn. This is what you can expect for your first ski fitting, as I don’t think many first time skiers would have a preference.
Last but not least is being fitted with your ski poles. This is still an important piece of equipment but you don’t really concentrate on using them much when you’re a beginner. The snowplough is the key movement to grasp, as you will come to find out soon enough. Again the poles are based on your height and ideally your arm should be parallel to the ground when you hold the pole.
Going into the shop and being kitted out with all the equipment really is a vital part of your journey to learning to ski. You will never forget this experience.
Part three is the big finale…