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Advice please - taking a novice on their first trip!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

I have finally persuaded the other half to come skiing, in the hope that it will become a regular thing!

In order to get her agreement I had to organise a different trip to what I usually would, catered chalet with a sauna & hot tub, private transfers and flights at agreeable time’s!!!

I learnt as a kid, and will ski anything, so I can’t really get into her mindset. She’s fairly nervous and is worried about being cold and not enjoying it/not being able to to it etc (I’ve told her it’s bloody March in France and I’ll book her lessons!!)

My question is, what else can I do to make sure she enjoys the trip? Any help would be great!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@LDP816, involve her in the planning, it will either get her enthusiastic about it or spread the blame if it goes to poop.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
- The right instructor

- Don't take her down anything too difficult

- Make sure she gets fit before going

- Nice long lunches

- Decent kit - clothes/accessories/hardware (Decent doesn't necessarily mean expensive)

- She may not be as obsessive about skiing as you (probably) are...so take this into account.
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Definitely to get fit! I had a disastrous 1st skiing holiday - mainly struggling to get back up after falling, on a virtually flat slope, which was so exhausting! Also, being physically active all day was not something I was use to! Layers to keep warm & plenty of hot chocolate with rum or vin chaud also helps enormously! On a happy note, that was over 20years ago & I’ve been back every year, twice when we can, and absolutely love it
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

Don't take her down anything too difficult


Don't "take her down" anything. If she wants to continue skiing after her lesson (after a decent rest), find out where she has been with her instructor and would like to try again, then follow her down. At a distance.

Quote:

involve her in the planning

This.

Quote:

The right instructor


And even more this.

Where and when are you going?
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

Don't take her down anything too difficult


Don't "take her down" anything. If she wants to continue skiing after her lesson (after a decent rest), find out where she has been with her instructor and would like to try again, then follow her down. At a distance.

Quote:

involve her in the planning

This.

Quote:

The right instructor


And even more this.

Where and when are you going?


We are off to Les Arcs, having done some research it seems like a good choice for a mixed ability group, our trip is planned for the first week of March so hopefully not too cold either!

I’ve ruled out teaching her myself, I am going to weigh up the cost of individual or group lessons too! Should I not bother looking at group lessons? There is one other novice on the trip so maybe they could both learn with one instructor? I think the lessons will make or break the experience for sure.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this trip is going to be slower paced a lot of the time, the idea of only doing runs she has done with the instructor is something I hadn’t thought of but makes perfect sense!

Thanks for the help, great forum!
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The tips on getting fit probably apply to me more than her rolling eyes
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
LDP816 wrote:


We are off to Les Arcs, having done some research it seems like a good choice for a mixed ability group, our trip is planned for the first week of March so hopefully not too cold either!

I’ve ruled out teaching her myself, I am going to weigh up the cost of individual or group lessons too! Should I not bother looking at group lessons? There is one other novice on the trip so maybe they could both learn with one instructor? I think the lessons will make or break the experience for sure.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this trip is going to be slower paced a lot of the time, the idea of only doing runs she has done with the instructor is something I hadn’t thought of but makes perfect sense!

Thanks for the help, great forum!

This will be down to whether she is somebody who likes being in a group, or not.

Lady F never did, in fact she hated it....and it was only a patient instructor that got through the initial stage.
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Quote:

Should I not bother looking at group lessons?

In my experience group lessons tend to the best for absolute beginners. They are with other people in exactly the same boat and can form friendships and help each other.

Where are you staying in Les Arcs? I'm sure you realise that you are going over the half term holidays and it will be busy. As you know occaisionally skiing can be cold and it is one thing that many people who have never skied before worry about. Reassure her and make sure she has the correct clothing including zips and vents so she can actually cool off.

@Old Fartbag, not everyone likes long lunches
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Wet wipes, chocolate, and a hip flask of spiced rum.
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johnE wrote:


@Old Fartbag, not everyone likes long lunches

True....but often it's very keen skiers.

People who see it as a holiday that includes some skiing, often (IME) like a more relaxed approach, especially if learning (which is often knackering).
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johnE wrote:
Quote:

Should I not bother looking at group lessons?

In my experience group lessons tend to the best for absolute beginners. They are with other people in exactly the same boat and can form friendships and help each other.

Where are you staying in Les Arcs? I'm sure you realise that you are going over the half term holidays and it will be busy. As you know occaisionally skiing can be cold and it is one thing that many people who have never skied before worry about. Reassure her and make sure she has the correct clothing including zips and vents so she can actually cool off.

@Old Fartbag, not everyone likes long lunches


Perhaps I’ll chat to her about the group lessons vs individual and let her decide.

We are actually staying near peisey-Vallandry in the hope that things will be slightly quieter than other areas?

I can see the merits of long and short lunches, but for a beginner who is going to be tired, long probably makes sense, I have friends who will eat a packed lunch on the chairlifts so they can ski through, which to me sounds completely crap and not much of a holiday! Each to their own, eh?!
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LDP816 wrote:

I learnt as a kid, and will ski anything, so I can’t really get into her mindset. She’s fairly nervous and is worried about being cold and not enjoying it/not being able to to it etc (I’ve told her it’s bloody March in France and I’ll book her lessons!!)


Danger danger!! This is her holiday, not yours. Probably best to restrict yourself to bigging her up at every available opportunity, organising her kit before she goes out and when she gets back from skiing - but not noticeably so, providing drinks in nice locations and generally making sure that all of her preconceptions about hard work, cold, ineptitude etc etc are completely unfounded. Then you stand a good chance of getting her to buy in to the whole thing. Nothing worse than having all your preconceptions validated. All the best!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Scarletgirl wrote:
Definitely to get fit! I had a disastrous 1st skiing holiday - mainly struggling to get back up after falling, on a virtually flat slope, which was so exhausting! Also, being physically active all day was not something I was use to! Layers to keep warm & plenty of hot chocolate with rum or vin chaud also helps enormously! On a happy note, that was over 20years ago & I’ve been back every year, twice when we can, and absolutely love it


+1 more or less matches my experience except for Gran Marnier in the HChoc. Yum.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Giving alcohol to a novice who is probably already having difficulty balancing is not a good idea, however yum it may be in a more appropriate context, like after skiing is over for the day.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
LDP816 wrote:


Perhaps I’ll chat to her about the group lessons vs individual and let her decide.


I have to say this sounds extremely condescending and if I were her and read this would really get my back up. Obviously I know this could just be the dangers of written words loose tone of voice etc.

However absolutely essential to get her personal take on her learning styles.

My gut says small groups as it is easy to get demoralised when you feel everybody around you can do it but a group of beginners together can share the comradery of learning.

I would also recommend a course of lessons in UK before going out on local dry ski slope.

A +20 for don’t take her on anything she hasn’t skied in lessons already and only if she has any desire to do so.
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nigelg wrote:
Giving alcohol to a novice who is probably already having difficulty balancing is not a good idea, however yum it may be in a more appropriate context, like after skiing is over for the day.


Which is when I had it (Le Bel Air with option to decant down in gondola if wished). I didn't advocate when to have it particularly - just suggested it as an addition to HC. It is up to them to decide when and if they consume it.
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nigelg wrote:
Giving alcohol to a novice who is probably already having difficulty balancing is not a good idea, however yum it may be in a more appropriate context, like after skiing is over for the day.


My first instructor passed his hip flask round the group one day. We only had a sip or two each, but I think it was a good move, helping moral and atmosphere. We were all struggling down a blue on a cold day. Obviously, you don't want to ski drunk, especially as a beginner, but if it takes the edge off the cold and nerves then it can help a little.
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@LDP816, I am in the very same boat. I have been trying for years to get my wife on the slopes, she comes on the holidays but never skis.
She has some lessons here on dry slope in a beginners class & was actually one of the better in the class then the fall came (she actually hit a crash mat) & that scared her.
This year she has agreed to try again but on slopes, so I have booked her 2 hour private lessons (she prefers to dictate the pace of the learning) with a female instructor for the first 4 days of the trip. Yes it is expensive, this 1 trip cost more than my other 6 next year combined but if it get her skiing it will be worth it.
I am also extremely mindful of how hard it is to get dressed, boots on & carrying skis ect when you are new to it all, so I will be helping her with boots, carrying her skis (beginners have to concentrate on walking in ski boots) & making sure I hand her over to instructor as stress free as possible & I will meet them after the 2 hours to take her for a coffee & get her home if she wants or I will be skiing greens & blues for the afternoon.
Basically I have written off any proper skiing for me that week but as I said if it works I will have years of the benefit.
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@LDP816,

A few snowshed lessons first if possible.

Where are you going and when in March?
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LDP816 wrote:

We are off to Les Arcs, having done some research it seems like a good choice for a mixed ability group, our trip is planned for the first week of March so hopefully not too cold either!

I’ve ruled out teaching her myself, I am going to weigh up the cost of individual or group lessons too! Should I not bother looking at group lessons? There is one other novice on the trip so maybe they could both learn with one instructor? I think the lessons will make or break the experience for sure.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this trip is going to be slower paced a lot of the time, the idea of only doing runs she has done with the instructor is something I hadn’t thought of but makes perfect sense!

Thanks for the help, great forum!

One thing to watch is that first week of March in Les Arcs is still French holiday time and it will be busy both on the piste and in the ski school. A personal belief is that beginners do best in small group lessons, so that they have fellow beginners for moral support but have enough instructor time individually. These will almost certainly sell out quickly. You need advice from Les Arcs regulars as to which ski schools are recommended and guarantee small groups for adult beginners.
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Oh sorry, I missed that it was Les Arcs. Good choice.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@LDP816,
Quote:

In order to get her agreement I had to organise a different trip to what I usually would, catered chalet with a sauna & hot tub, private transfers and flights at agreeable time’s!!!


Are you usually a grungy windowless basement apartment, shared toilet, hitchhiking, night-flight sort of a guy then?
You never know, you might enjoy those little luxuries wink

Quote:

I’ve ruled out teaching her myself, I am going to weigh up the cost of individual or group lessons too! Should I not bother looking at group lessons? There is one other novice on the trip so maybe they could both learn with one instructor? I think the lessons will make or break the experience for sure.


Good decision, unless you were thinking of doing a BASI course before March. Even then, not without risks, teaching loved & cherished ones. After consulting with your client (AKA 'the other half') I'd go with her preference. IMO, at this stage of skiing, small group lessons with a good instructor have benefits. Especially if she gets on with and would like to ski with the other novice in your group. If that other novice also agrees, then they could both join the same small group. Or for more Euros they could at least share private lessons.

The other suggestion I'd make, especially in March, is go for morning lessons. Fresher learners, probably better snow, leaves afternoon free to practice what's been learned.

Quote:

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this trip is going to be slower paced a lot of the time, the idea of only doing runs she has done with the instructor is something I hadn’t thought of but makes perfect sense!


I wonder if 'the other half' might want to ski with other people anyway? For example, the other novice in your group? Or nice people they might have met if they do group lessons?
So you might be free to blast all around Paradiski like a bat out of hell anyway. Then you could swap tales of triumphs and pratfalls in the hot tub, sauna or bar later?

Although the week you're going is still a French school holiday, at least it isn't Paris week. So you'll only be held up in lift queues with relatively nice people from Lyon, Grenoble and so on, rather than those tiresome Parisiens.

Which bit of Les Arcs are you staying in?

snowHead
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@Jonny996,
Quote:

@LDP816, I am in the very same boat. I have been trying for years to get my wife on the slopes, she comes on the holidays but never skis.

She has some lessons here on dry slope in a beginners class & was actually one of the better in the class then the fall came (she actually hit a crash mat) & that scared her.

This year she has agreed to try again but on slopes, so I have booked her 2 hour private lessons (she prefers to dictate the pace of the learning) with a female instructor for the first 4 days of the trip. Yes it is expensive, this 1 trip cost more than my other 6 next year combined but if it get her skiing it will be worth it.

I am also extremely mindful of how hard it is to get dressed, boots on & carrying skis ect when you are new to it all, so I will be helping her with boots, carrying her skis (beginners have to concentrate on walking in ski boots) & making sure I hand her over to instructor as stress free as possible & I will meet them after the 2 hours to take her for a coffee & get her home if she wants or I will be skiing greens & blues for the afternoon.

Basically I have written off any proper skiing for me that week but as I said if it works I will have years of the benefit.



That's more like it @Jonny996, Very Happy
The only thing I'd suggest is, if there's a snowshed anywhere convenient for you, could she have a few lessons there before your trip if she wanted? That helps with all the getting used to gear again, as well as confidence building on basic technique.
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Lessons before you go!

Either on a dry slope (or I think she'll have more fun in a snow dome).

You don't want her first ski trip to consist of 2-3 days of, this is how you put on a ski, this is how you stand up and the dreaded snow plow......

Much better to learn these in an unattractive location, so when you get to a beautiful mountain she can experience it. And if she can be getting out of the snow plow before the trip, she won't be in an absolute beginner group/lesson and those groups tend to progress quicker than the day 1 skiers.
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Don't be surprised if you only ski on green pistes for a few years. My (very nervous) other half took perhaps 3 years of beginner lessons before she was confident enough to move on.

A possible downside to Les Arcs compared to other French resorts is that there are very few greens on the piste map: basically just one in each village. And the Peisey-Vallandry one is around the Cabri lift towards the top of the mountain, so I guess complete beginner lessons both upload and download on the Peisey chair(?). A number of the blues are fairly gentle, but you need to know which these are - and the ways to avoid/minimise any trickier bits - before risking taking beginners on them.
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A lot will depend on your other half but hopefully you have some idea of how her mind works but in general I'd say:

1. Try and get her some lesson time in a snowdome in the UK, be that private or group. Even if it just gets her used to putting on ski boots/clipping in to skis/the feeling of standing on skis, it's one less thing that's new on day one of the holiday. Some newbie friends I'll be skiiing with at half term did this with a day group lesson last month. Two of them took to it likes ducks, one was getting there, but the fourth just wasn't getting it and is now going to sneek back for a private lesson just to get some training at the pace she needs (and without sneering, snipping abuse from her eldest daughter Smile ).

2. For week 1, unless you're rolling in cash, I'd always say group lessons. The ski school will move people between groups so everyone is learning at about the same speed so nobody should feel like they're being really held back/holding everyone else up, and nobody is the only one not getting some part/alays falling/etc.

3. Assuming you don't want this to be the only week you ever go skiing together get your mind set to do all your hard skiing in the morning, while she's in lessons. Your afternoons should be set aside for skiing how and where she wants - or even NOT skiing if that's what she wants. The trick here is understanding "I'm going back, you can stay out skiing if you want" means at any point in time Wink If skiing, at least at the start of the week let her pick the slopes she's confident on from her lessons rather than suggesting one you think she can do. Generally ski above her - you can ski a defensive line against any ladies' front bottoms coming through and she doesn't feel she's having to chase you/get the feeling she's holding you up.
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Quote:

.. carrying her skis

It must be time for this again...


How to carry skis
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You know it makes sense.
Rcav wrote:
My first instructor passed his hip flask round the group one day..... but if it takes the edge off the cold


Afraid it doesn't! It opens the blood vessels near the surface so you lose more heat. Sorry to be a party pooper snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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As you can tell from the replies above - there is no one answer.

Without knowing the character of your other half, it's impossible to give a definitive answer.

Lady F learned, as it happens, in Les Arcs (1800). It was back in the mid 80s and it was the era of Ski Evolutif. She was not "sporty" and was terrified of speed and losing control. We were there for 2 weeks. The first week was in a group lesson and was a disaster. The second week she had a patient Aussie, who finally got her down the Blue to Arcs 1800, without falling, on the last day.

On subsequent holidays, she took a few private lessons during the holiday. She preferred being taught by a Man. The best instructors we had, were BASI and were in Val D'Isere.

In Les Arcs, Evo 2 are worth checking out. They have a maximum group size (8 IIRC) and English speaking instructors.

Group lessons can work well, for the reasons given above. If this isn't the way forward, ask on here for a recommendation and book them as soon as possible. Good instructors get booked up quickly.

She is now a competent skier - but doesn't want her holiday to feel like a Boot Camp. Her idea of hell, is first into breakfast, first up the Lift, a quick snack at lunch and ski until the lifts close. Bed early and repeat for the week.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Fri 22-11-19 13:26; edited 2 times in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I only recently learned at age 50 and I have two tips.

Tip 1 - go at or near Easter. Sitting in the sun having a drink outside after an exhausting morning is just great.

Tip 2 - the Getting Up thing from a fall, on a flat slope, is truly exhausting. So don't bother. Just reach back, unclip one ski and just stand up. Then pop your ski back on and away you go.

The latter won't work when you get on to steeper gradients but by then you will only be falling occasionally rather than all the time as you are to begin with. And getting up on skis is a lot easier when you have a gradient anyway.
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Honestly, some great advice from everyone here!

I’ve decided to book “learn to ski in a day” at the snow dome in tamworth for her, a month or two before we go, to help her get used to it, hopefully that will mean she can pizza slice and won’t be in a group with FDB’s. I don’t think it’s bad value at £130, does anyone have any experience of this? The option to do more lessons after this is also there if she wants/needs to do them, but Tamworth is a fair way from us!!

As far as lessons in les arcs go, I’d love to get some input on recommendations for companies to use? I will check out Evo 2!

Thanks again all!
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@LDP816, personally I would advice a course of lessons 1hr a time over several weeks over a learn to ski in a day thing.

Ski boots from snowdomes or dry ski slopes can be very uncomfortable and the longer you are in them the worse they will feel.

Secondly even if very fit she will be using new muscle groups - shorter regular sessions builds this up - a full on day could be exhausting and off putting.
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Old Fartbag wrote:

She is now a competent skier - but doesn't want her holiday to feel like a Boot Camp. Her idea of hell, is first into breakfast, first up the Lift, a quick snack at lunch and ski until the lifts close. Bed early and repeat for the week.


To be honest, that’s not my idea of fun either! We usually cover some fair ground, with a few coffee/ lunch stops and then plenty to drink afterwards!!
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LDP816 wrote:


As far as lessons in les arcs go, I’d love to get some input on recommendations for companies to use? I will check out Evo 2!

Thanks again all!

Evo 2 would be my VFM recommendation.

My top recommendation would be New Gen, who operate out of Peisey Vallandry: https://www.skinewgen.com/ski-schools/peisey-vallandry/
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LDP816 wrote:
Honestly, some great advice from everyone here!

I’ve decided to book “learn to ski in a day” at the snow dome in tamworth for her, a month or two before we go, to help her get used to it, hopefully that will mean she can pizza slice and won’t be in a group with FDB’s. I don’t think it’s bad value at £130, does anyone have any experience of this? The option to do more lessons after this is also there if she wants/needs to do them, but Tamworth is a fair way from us!!

As far as lessons in les arcs go, I’d love to get some input on recommendations for companies to use? I will check out Evo 2!

Thanks again all!


I've a mate that did that for a day before going off with a few of the blokes from the golf club on a short break holiday. He found it really useful. I can understand why people would struggle with such an intensive course though, but in my view, it's definitely worth it.

I've actually also advised my boss to do something similar at Hemel as that's closer to her before her first trip in March.

Knowing how boots and skis work before going is a massive boost in my eyes. I learnt a little via my school English teacher at Brentwood dry ski slope before going on my first trip.
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Quote:

I’ve decided to book “learn to ski in a day” at the snow dome in tamworth for her

Unless she's really fit that might be too much. What does she think about it?
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I learnt to ski on the Tamworth ski in a day a few years ago in my 40s. It aims to get you to a level where you can ski the slope top to bottom in control and i really enjoyed it. I would say give yourself enough time after this to go back and do some recreational sessions to build confidence before you go away.

Also bear in mind the variations in snow you can get on a mountain which is so different to that on a slope.

My tips would be stay near the slopes (but not in the ski in ski out chalet just off a red!) Theres nothing more likely to put you off than lugging all your stuff 400m in ski boots before you start.

+1 for getting your hooning about done while she's in lessons.

If she is having lessons beware giving out tips when you're skiing together - you're asking to get your head bitten off

Prepare for a tearful meltdown at some point.

Make sure she can side slip- useful for those points when you just CAN'T turn
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The learn to ski in a day thing should be good. There is a lot of standing around waiting for other group members. It's what I did many years ago and plenty of pals have done.

The suggestions of doing things to help that go under the radar is great. There is so much 'hassle' in getting ready that seems easy once it's in your morning routine but to a novice will be just one more thing after another.

Get up early on the first day so it's not a rush or a stress. Have time to sit, chill and see what's going on. Nice slow paced lunches sound like they would be great for you guys.

One thing I think is important is spending time together, it's a holiday you are going on together after all and whilst it is an activity holiday, it's the people that really matter at the end of the day.

I get excited whenever anyone I know gets into skiing. It's such a wonderful way to spend downtime.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
My wife did the Tamworth learn to ski in a day course, many years ago, never having touched a ski before. She loved it, and took to it like a duck to water. I wouldn't say she was particularly fit but she was used to being on her feet all day (being a hospital doctor). Her friend, another doctor, struggled, hated it and never touched skis again. So I guess it depends on the person as to how successful it is.
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