Winter is indeed just around the corner, but there are still several weeks remaining until the the first ski lifts open and we can find true happiness once again.
So, what can we do to pass the time and amuse ourselves until we are officially allowed to hit the slopes?
Well, it’s always good to have a plan, and we have one right here with our 7 ways in which to while away the hours waiting for the ski lifts to open…
1. Visit one of the 5 indoor snow slopes in the UK (or anywhere else in the world for that matter!)
Yes the runs are relatively short – at no more than a couple of hundred metres – and not particularly demanding – with gradients the equivalent of a blue run in the Alps, but they are a brilliant way of getting your ski legs back into action and ironing out some of those bad habits (Who, Moi?). They also offer a great opportunity to test any new equipment you may have purchased for the season ahead. Aside from recreational skiing, there are many courses and training programmes you can join such as “Learn to ski or board in a day”, “Mastering bumps” or “Freestyle”. The school holiday programmes are a great way of introducing children to skiing and before you know it they will be making a pizza and French fries with the best of them! There’s a full range of options for just about every level of skier or boarder imaginable, children or adult alike. Remember to take warm and waterproof clothing as these places are chilled to – 5 degrees!
Snowsport England has recently launched its 2015 “30 days of snowsport” and “GoSkiGoBoard” campaigns as a way of getting more people participating in snowsports, so look out for events taking place at indoor facilities in your area.
The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead is the closest indoor ski facility with real snow to central London.
2. Buy a new ski suit
Fellow skiers can tell a lot about you from your ski suit, and that fluorescent green and turquoise combo is just so last year isn’t it? You can spend hours, days or even weeks trailing through endless websites looking for, “the one”! We have a few favourites of our own:
The Glamorous one – with its glorious range of jackets, pants and apres outfits, Winternational takes some beating when it comes to glamour. The new range will be available from early November. Watch this space.
The Technical One – Ellis Brigham has something for everyone, from grungy looking snowboard pants, to stylish, go faster techy pieces for the seasoned pro – from trusted mainstream brands such as North Face, Salamon, Eider and Norrona.
3. Buy some new ski boots
You could wait until you are in resort of course but if you think you might be short on time when you arrive, far better to put the hours in at home before you go. You could do worse than to pop along to Pro Feet‘s Ski Boot Lab in Fulham before it gets uber busy, and allow them to carry out some fancy biomechanical analysis of your feet (it doesn’t hurt – we promise), ensuring the perfect, pain free fit.
4. Visit a ski show
Nothing gets you in the mood for the ski season quite like a visit to a ski show. The Telegraph Ski and Board Show North takes place in Manchester from 30 October – 1 November and the London Ski and Board Show takes place a week later at its new venue – Battersea Evolution. Expect authentic Alpine food, Olympic athletes, resorts, top ski brands, fashion shows, tour operators, live demos, music and even comedy from the likes of Marcus Brigstocke!
5. Find an apres-ski bar here in the UK, and take up residence there
Nordic Bar in London’s West end – Scandi-style food and drinks, ping pong, karaoke and bar games. It’s Happy Hour again, and again, and again…
Bodo’s Schloss in Kensington – dirndl clad waitresses serving snitchel and strudl bring the true taste of Austria your table and an old fashioned style school disco brings the sound of music to the dance floor. Expect proper Austrian apres, with a Made in Chelsea twist. Oh, and quite a lot of gingham…
Say “howdy” to Beaver Lodge in Chelsea – think cowboys, cowhide, line dancing and liquor. Be warned – the “shotskis” are not for the feint hearted. Yee-haw!
The Lodge at the Snowcentre in Hemel – we’re all for killing two birds with one stone, so why not get your ski legs into action then enjoy some mountain fayre and a spot of apres in the bar when you’re done?
6. Prepare your travel documents – Boring! We know ! But it has to be said that a bit of prior preparation can go a long way towards ensuring that a holiday runs smoothly. Make sure your passports and EHIC cards are up to date and that your insurance policy covers you for winter sports. If you are taking a pet, make sure that you are complying with all the necessary rules and regulations and that your pampered pooch has his passport too!
7. Book all of your ski trips and flights for the entire season
This is the best bit obviously! There are so many reasons why you need to book as many ski trips as humanly possible – The season opener (think Solyneou), the family Christmas trip (think Montana), New Year (think Chopine), Russian New Year (think Shemshak), Feb Half Term (think Grande Corniche), Easter (think Lhotse), spring break (think Jejalp), the boys weekend (think Marco Polo), the girls weekend (think Elephant Blanc), your birthday (think Mont Tremblant), your wedding anniversary (Les Brames), season closing parties (think Le Rocher). Shall we go on? There are many advantages of booking early too – you can secure the best flights, the best accommodation, the best ski schools and the best childcare. And never underestimate the power of anticipation – having something to look forward to can do wonders for your well being.
And FYI, the official dates for the grand opening of the ski lifts in our favourite resorts are as follows:
Val d’Isere Sat 28 Nov
Courchevel Sat 5 Dec
Les Gets Sat 19 Dec (Or possibly 12 Dec depending on snow conditions)
Morzine Sat 5 Dec
Meribel Sat 5 Dec
So that’s only 45 days until the lifts open in Val then? Not that we are counting…
These dates are not necessarily set in stone as the resorts may open for the odd day here or there if the snow Gods are looking down favourably on them, so do look out for last minute announcements.
Let it snow!