Some say snow boarding, skiing and general Winter sports are to be the most beautiful sports in the world, and a sure-fire way to bring out the endorphins. Fresh mountain air, spectacular mountain views, carving fresh tracks on freshly groomed slopes, and of course the delicious mountain food and après-ski drinks!
For all the non-skier sand sea and sun seekers, you may not know what you are missing...
Do you have that friend or family member who takes it upon themselves to question your choice of spending valuable holiday time in the mountains rather than on the beach. “What’s the big deal about skiing?” they ask. To answer their questions on “what is the big deal about skiing” (don’t shout at them,) just send them this article, if it doesn’t convert them, there is sadly no hope!
1. 'It’s Too Expensive'
Winter holidays aren’t just reserved for the lifestyles of the rich and famous any more, with a host of budget-friendly resorts catering for even the most thrifty holidaymakers. The price of ski holidays has come under fire on many occasions, but it’s no different to booking a sunny holiday, all you have to do is book early for the best prices and make the most of incentives advertised by certain operators.
2. 'Taking The Kids Would Be A Nightmare'
We won’t deny family ski holidays often come with a few twists and turns along the way. But thankfully, family-focussed operators such as Esprit Ski, Ski Famille and Mark Warner have got everything covered, and resorts are keen to welcome families of all ages to the slopes. Not only is it a great way to keep the family active on holiday, skiing or snowboarding together also provides the chance to make holiday memories like no other, smiling faces and rosy cheeks: yup, a new generation has caught the skiing bug! Years later they’ll still be thanking you for this amazing gift - but be warned, parents, grand parents – there’s a possibility that one day you’ll be the one trying to keep up with them.
3. 'Why Should I Trade Sun For Snow?'
The phrase "goggle tan" exists for a reason. Visit the mountains in spring and you’ll get the best of both worlds – blue bird skies, bright sunshine and slopes with a season’s worth of snow. Grab a deckchair, slap on the sun cream and enjoy some high-altitude tanning. Plus, you don’t even have to ski, if you would rather chill out and sit back with an ice cold alcoholic beverage or warming latte with views above the clouds, just grab yourself a lift pass and enjoy people watching, riders will love this, as you can also look after their belonging, you will become priceless!
4. 'I’m Going To Spend The Week Falling Over'
Ok ok, that is a possibility, it’s most probably going to happen at some point, but as long as you're safe and in control, it's usually only your dignity that’s bruised. And it makes for great viewing on YouTube, they say laughing is good for your health, whether that be at yourself or someone else, it’s still laughing!
5. 'Exercise Isn’t Fun On Holiday'
Yes, skiing and snowboarding is technically a sport, and yes, technically you’re spending your holiday working out, but we challenge you to find one skier or snowboarder who says the ache in their legs after a day on the mountain – whether it be from freestyling in the terrain park, cruising the pistes or reveling in the off piste – isn’t worth it.
6. 'The Accommodation Resembles An Old Barn'
We beg to differ. Luxury chalets are a big thing in the Alps. We’re talking spas, open fire places, indoor climbing walls, wine caves and movie rooms – you name it and there’ll be a luxury chalet somewhere in the mountains that’ll have it. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to the hefty price tags of these fancy dwellings, there’s a choice of hotels, catered chalets or self-catering apartments at every price point.
7. 'I’m Too Old To Learn To Ski'
Age is just a number, they say, and this couldn’t be more true on ski holidays – just look at the over-90-year-old skiers proving just that. When it comes to learning, we guarantee on the first day of lessons every beginner in the group will be just as baffled by the term “snowplough” or “pizza” as you are.
8. 'There’s Nothing To Do But Ski'
Drinking, eating, shopping, spa treatments, Ice skating, dog sledding, paragliding, ice diving, ice driving, swimming, indoor surfing, snow shoeing… need we go on?
9. 'The Food & Drink Sounds Boring'
Trust us, it’s not all just cheese, bread and cured meat. The mountains are a haven of Michelin stars, fine dining and local delicacies which you’ll only ever get to sample in these snowy climes. Taking a seat at a sunny mountain hut terrace, you experience a heady sense of satisfaction.
10. 'I’d look Ridiculous In The Kit'
Guys, the 1980s were a long time ago and ski fashion has come a long way since then (although we’re not saying the retro look isn’t coming back into fashion though). Kit is now not only super-technical, with new innovations in goggles, helmets and jackets, it also meets every budget – and brands have gone a long way to make even the dreaded one-piece suit fashionable. You can actually look super cool in ski gear, as you will see below, Marina looks seriously bad ass - @marinabriss.
11. 'Why Would I Go All That Way Without Knowing What I’m Doing On The Slopes?'
Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail, try out one of the many indoor ski centres and dry ski slopes near you and that’s that problem solved. It is possible to learn to ski indoors in just six hours, believe it or not. This is a great option for those nervous first-timers who might be wary of splashing the cash on a ski holiday without the guarantee of actually enjoying the sport when they get there.
12. 'Ski Holidays Aren't Relaxing'
Once the lifts shut, if you’re not caught up in an après bar somewhere, it’s time to make the most of the rejuvenating qualities of the mountains. Whether it’s a scenic walk, a spot of mountain yoga or a trip to a local spa, the health and wellness scene in ski destinations is becoming increasingly popular. If all else fails, huddle round in the hotel lobby on a cosy evening together or in the hot tub with a glass of something fizzy is always a good place to start.
13. 'The Nightlife Is All Oompah Bands & Lederhosen'
In truth, this is partly correct. However, it’s those oompah bands and lederhosen that make the nightlife world-famous. The number of festivals in ski resorts grows every season, with high-altitude cabaret at venues such as the Folie Douce and late-night raves in igloos at events like Snowbombing creating some of the fondest (albeit slightly blurry) holiday memories.
If the above isn’t enough, our girl Marina has given us an exclusive insight into her life as a snowboarder and her favourite resorts. So if you don’t want to listen to YK DAILY, at least listen to her!
I remember the first time my mom let me snowboard. It was in Obertauern, Austria, in 2002 (we were there on holiday for NYE, I remember celebrating the switch to the Euro).
I was really sporty as a kid, played loads of different sports, but I’d been particularly interested in snowboarding for as long as I can remember. I’d been badgering my mother about trying it out for years, to no avail. Kinda hard to do in Paris, but we were lucky enough to go on a ski holiday once a year. She kept saying was that they didn’t make snowboards short enough for me... I now know that was a lie!
Thankfully, the daughter in the family that we’d gone with was a snowboarder and that reassured my mom a bit, it think.
So, the first time I clamped down (it was back in the metal rod under the boot era) I was 11, and I was addicted instantly even though the first thing the Austrian (I didn’t speak German at all) instructor made us do was one foot up a T-bar... the holiday lasted a week, I linked turns super quickly, even sprayed my family, duh, and I just couldn’t wait for the next winter holiday.
Skip ahead 10 years, graduated university, interned at Whitelines magazine, applied for an IEC visa for Canada, filled out 7 million forms, sent my file, crossed my fingers and waited.
I got to Banff, Alberta in October 2012 for my first winter season. I worked at Sunshine Village as a lifty for part of the season. I was lucky to get ride breaks at work (Canadians know what it’s aboot) so I had loads of riding time with really rad riders.
Between Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Norquay, there was so much to do, too much for just one season. I started to dabble around snowparks, tree runs, and powder. And oh, my, god, the powder in Canada is on another level. There’s a reason they call it champagne powder, I’ve never found anything like it since! Okay, okay, I’ve never been to Japan.
Living in Banff was awesome, I quickly got accustomed to the lifestyle, bought a few hoodies that were way too big, glued a beanie to my head, and went to the Dancing Sasquatch (yes) way too often.
By the middle of the season I got a job, still as a lifty, at Norquay, where I was stationed on the park lift. Needless to say we lapped the park pretty regularly on the clock, but shhhh. By the end of the season I was pretty confident on boxes, flat rails, and small to medium jumps. Even got a couple grabs in. Stoked.
We ended the season with friends in Big White, BC on closing weekend. I remember the resort was deserted with like a fresh 2m dump. What a sick resort, btw. I remember endless tree runs, so many first tracks, bluebirds, a lot of flip cup, jacuzzi time, and a whole lot of laughs.
I recommend Canada to anyone, if I could move there tomorrow, I wouldn’t think twice.
Back to the home turf, France, to keep on living this lifestyle I fell in love with. After four seasons in the 3 Valleys as a bartender (Meribel love forever), I now live in Les Arcs year-round for the third year running.
I work in the local snowboard shop and I’ve loved learning about all the geeky technical aspect of snowboarding over the past few years. I’ve had amazing mentors and I’m eager to learn way more. It’s opened up another side of snowboarding to me that I love almost as much. Eat, sleep, ride, talk ride, repeat!
Les Arcs is a really dope resort, fully bathed in sun until late afternoon. Sunset park sessions are definitely something I couldn’t quite live without now. It’s got loads of trees, high peaks, and long runs. I do spend most of my days in the park, though, I have to admit.
(Image of Marina by @by_kay)
There are loads of neighbouring resorts that are amazing too, with completely different terrain, like Tignes or Val d’Isere that have amazing parks, btw. The only way the valley could be better: year long winter. (Petition attached lol).
Even though there’s still (a lot) of room for improvement - isn’t there always? - I’m pretty confident around the park now. There’s literally nothing like flying off a kicker or stomping the line you’ve had in your head all day (all week, all month, or even all year, I’ll be there for you - sorry).
I’d say at this point, if there’s one thing I’m missing, it’s a girl crew. I’ve only ever ridden with insane riders, and riding with dudes can be a bit intimidating at times. I love seeing and motivating girls to ride. I mean we need to stop giving a f*** about what people think and be proud to fall and pick ourselves up. That’s way more than half the battle! It’s hard sometimes but pushing each other and challenging each other is the best way to improve.
So if you’re ever wondering where to go on your next season, grab your board, head over to Les Arcs, gimme a holla and let’s go shred!
Live free, stay wild.