Every four years during the Winter Olympics, you curl up on a comfy couch with a mug of cocoa and cheer for Canada. It goes without saying that skiing is one of the top sports in the world and our country just happens to have some of the best skiers around. If you’ve never actually made it off the couch and into a pair of skis, not to worry: Your Canadian identity won’t be revoked. If there is one place pro and amateur skiers alike swear on, it’s the Swiss Alps. Pack your bags and jump on the first plane for Switzerland. Here are some tips for skiing down these famous slopes for the first time:
Lesson the Embarrassment
Let’s just come right out and say it: You’re going to fall during your first time on skis. A lot. These are world-class slopes with many of the trails designed for pros. Cut down on your downtime by signing up for one of the many ski lessons. These instructors have seen it all, are used to international visitors, and are more than ready to show you the basics. Lessons will help your confidence soar as high as the mountains, and you’ll be able to accept the slope challenge without giving up and heading to the lodge for a hot toddy.
Turn the Alps into the Hima-Layers
Anyone who lives in Canada knows cold, so you’ll come prepared with plenty of fleeces, jackets, and sweaters. What you may not expect, though, is that all that alpine exercise under the sun is going to give the word “sweaters” another meaning. To avoid soaking yourself through in an unpleasantly smelly way, make sure you have layers that can be easily removed and stashed in your backpack.
Keep this in mind, though. No matter how many outer layers you take off during your little adventure playing strip skiing, don’t remove your gloves. We don’t care if they’re dripping sweat. Skiing without gloves is just asking to scrape your hands on your skis or a tree branch, and you’ll have to trek to the first aid station to get it bandaged up, cutting into your precious ski time.
Don’t Gain the Pain
We mean a literal pain. Even if you’re a decent athlete, spending all day on the mountain will work muscles you’ve never heard of, and if you don’t pace yourself, you’ll wake up the next morning feeling sore. But not to worry! That’s your body becoming a champion. How do you keep yourself from turning into a shuffling, moaning ski resort zombie? Well, as eager as you are to learn the ropes on the slopes, staying out there from dawn until dusk is going to have some serious consequences. Take it easy after a few hours, and push yourself a little further each day. Luckily, Switzerland is full of artisanal chocolates and other delights to pass the time between ski lifts.
Remember the View
While you’re in town on a mission to ski, don’t forget to see the sights! Even if you don’t whiz down the Matterhorn, you can’t miss snapping a few photos in front of this famous pike. You may also want to hitch a ride on the Gornergrat, the rail line that rides through the slopes with four stops for you to explore on foot. Once you’re hungry, just head down to Zermatt, a quaint village that’s completely car-free. Fill up and get ready for a new session of skiing down the mountains.
You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a ski weekend in the Alps. Soon you’ll be able to brag to your friends about zipping down the most famous mountains in the world. Just keep up that positive alp-itude!
What are you looking forward to the most during your Swiss vacation?