(Back) On Skis: Top Offers for Beginners and Improvers


This season, the winter is all about new beginnings. Whether you are completely new to the sport or picking it up again after a few years out, the skilled winter sport instructors with their innovative teaching methods will have you skiing or boarding in no time.

There’s nothing to fear carving your first turns on the perfectly prepared white slopes, as long as you have the proper gear and a bit of motivation to help you along. There are more than 220 Tirolean ski schools, with many specifically trained to teach beginners, improvers and lapsed skiers. During winter 2013/14, some regions will offer special packages to make sure that the key elements of fun, safety, ability, success and affordability are covered. There’s nothing to stop you now!

• Who says the Kaiser has to be wild?: A special programme designed exclusively for lapsed skiers is being offered in the Wilder Kaiser region. With a "money-back guarantee", this offer provides a gentle launch back into fun on the slopes. With up-to-date equipment and helpful tips you will be up to speed in no time.

• In the Ski Jewel ski area the special course for lapsed skiers course provides guaranteed enjoyment. Or if that isn’t the case, then the cost of the ski course, ski rental and ski pass will be reimbursed on a pro-rata basis. The offers in Alpbachtal Valley and the Tirol Seenland are valid for three or five days. 

• The relaxed path to success: The wide slopes in the Wildschönau ski area offer ideal conditions to regain confidence in your own skiing abilities at a gentle and leisurely pace. With the "Steig Ein" ("Come aboard") special offer, you'll be celebrating your achievements in just three days.

• The trend continues: The Pitztal Valley also caters for improvers and lapsed skiers out there and is offering great package deals as well, intended to guarantee you an enjoyable introduction to the ski slopes.


Step 1 · Find the right ski resort


Most of the roughly 80 ski resorts in Tirol do, of course, have special beginners' areas with gentle slopes as well as ski schools and equipment hire shops. But it is nevertheless a good idea to inform yourself about your prospective destination in advance. After all, small and quiet areas often provide the best conditions for those learning to ski for the first time or returning to the sport after a while away.

To make things easy for beginners, a number of ski resorts in Tirol have come up with special offers for newcomers. For example, the Hochzeiger ski resort in the Pitztal Valley, the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau and the Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann ski area all offer made-to-measure packages for beginners and those returning to the slopes. These deals include accommodation, skiing lessons in small groups, private tuition for skiers who are coming back to the sport after a long time away, lift pass and equipment hire. In the resort Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau the package even includes the Alpbachtal Seenland Card or Wildschönau Card, both of which offer services such as use of indoor swimming pools and guided snowshoe hikes. And if you are struggling to get back into the swing of things, there is even a money back guarantee for the ski lessons.

Step 2 · Practise your first turns with a ski instructor


Learning or relearning the right skiing technique only takes a few hours with one of the 7,000 experienced wintersports instructors in Tirol. Not only children but also adults will find it easy to carry out basic exercises such as the snowplough position and skiing around cones. The region's professional instructors have plenty of great tips and tricks to make beginners and those returning to the sport feel relaxed and comfortable on two skis.

Of course, having fun is one of the most important elements of skiing. Instructors have lots of ideas on how to incorporate different games and challenges into the lesson, taking into account the progress and ability of each individual skier. They also know the respective resort like the back of their hand. That means they can select the right slope for the right group at the right time, as well as knowing if or when a group is ready to move on to a longer or steeper descent. Some resorts such as Skigebiet Hochzeiger in the Pitztal Valley have a special practise area for adult beginners. Set away from the rest of the slopes, this is the ideal place for an enjoyable and relaxing experience on the snow. Modern techniques such as video analysis are also used by the resort's instructors on request.

© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Short turn techniques
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Carving techniques
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Escarpment skiing
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Difficult conditions
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Freestyle skiing
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Mogul skiing
© Tirol Werbung
Ski lessons: Avoiding mistakes

Step 3 · The right equipment: buy or hire?


Visitors coming to Tirol to go skiing need not worry about their equipment. All the things they need can be hired or bought in the resorts. Tips and advice on the best wintersports equipment for your needs are available from instructors, ski schools and shop staff.

The first thing to get right when skiing is your clothing. Here is is really worth investing in quality material that will last you several seasons. It should be warm and functional as well as windproof and waterproof. Good wintersports clothing can also be used for tobogganing, snowshoeing and winter hiking, so those who enjoy being out and about in nature during the winter months should make sure they have salopettes, a ski jacket, ski underwear, ski socks, a functional pullover and gloves. The outfit is rounded off, of course, by a helmet. These can also be hired in the resort.

The key equipment – skis, boots and poles – can be hired quickly and easily from one of the rental shops in the ski resort. That saves you having to drag around the equipment, costs less and guarantees that you will have the latest gear in top condition every winter. The ski schools in St. Johann in Tirol offer a special service which involves your personal skiing instructor coming along with you to the hire shop and helping you to choose the right equipment for your needs. Those thinking about purchasing their own equipment should talk to a member of staff in a sports shop. They have many years of experience in finding the right equipment for skiers of all ages and abilities, so they will know exactly the right model, length and ski shape for you. Beginners often start out with a relatively short ski that is easy to turn.

Last but not least, do not underestimate the sun's radiation in the mountains. It may be cold out on the slopes, but the sun is very strong. Therefore skiers should make sure they have sunglasses, suncream and lip protection with them at all times.

Step 4 · Physical fitness, staying safe on the slopes


Skiing is not just a fantastic way of experiencing nature but also a great way to stay physically and mentally fit. Benefits include a reduced risk of heart attack. Remember: it's never too late to (re)start on the slopes. Good ways of preparing your body for skiing are sports such as running, cycling and gymnastics. These increase your fitness and reduce the risk of injury. Check out our five exercises to get fit for the next winter. It is also a good idea to warm up and stretch your muscles immediately before you hit the slopes. At first it is best to ski just short runs with regular pauses. As you get fitter and more confident, you can begin to ski a little further each time.

The 10 FIS rules of conduct on the slopes apply to all skiers and snowboarders. They help to keep everyone safe on the slopes. Beginners and those who are getting back into skiing after a while away should know these rules before taking to the slopes.

Step 5 · Storing and preparing ski equipment


Regardless of whether you have your own equipment or hire it for the duration of your holiday, the best way to store skis and poles is by depositing them at the ski storage depot run by the ski resort itself or the ski school. That way you can pick them up the next morning and head straight out onto the slopes. This also makes it easier to walk to your hotel or head to a nearby bar for a little après-ski without having to carry your equipment around the resort. When it comes to your ski boots, the best idea is to take them with you to your accommodation and dry them overnight on the boot dryers in the boot room. This way you can start the next day with dry, warm feet.

The 3 best ski resorts to learn and relearn how to ski


 

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