25 Useful Things Every Skier Should Read
Our most usefull blog posts from the last few years. 25 Useful Things Every Skier Should Read.
Our most usefull blog posts from the last few years. 25 Useful Things Every Skier Should Read.
Whether you’re a seasoned skier or are in the process of booking your first ski trip, you’ll probably know that hiring ski equipment can be daunting, or just a bit of a hassle. What level are you? How much do you weigh? How tall are you? However, your ski gear is a very important part of your holiday, and here at ES, we know having the right equipment can make all the difference to your skiing experience. The guys at our partner store in Verbier, Mountain Air, know this, too. Luckily, they have over forty years of experience in the ski hire industry, so they know how to make renting your gear as easy as possible. Here are their top tips on how to hire your ski equipment and how to make the experience hassle-free:
When hiring ski equipment, price is not and should not be the be-all-and-end-all. Ski hire is not a commodity like a bag of coffee… It’s what you’re getting for your money that counts.
When booking a ski trip, especially for a group, it can be very tempting to just take whatever looks like the biggest discount.
But don’t be fooled!
With third-party booking sites, you’re likely to get a lot less information and choice about who you’ll be hiring from. They often use the same form for a variety of shops and you may well find that you can’t change ski categories or make free exchanges once you’ve booked.
It’s well worth doing some research on your resort and which are the most reputable rental shops.
It might not seem like a big deal beforehand, but we’ve seen many a trip ruined because something has gone wrong with equipment and it can’t (or won’t) be replaced. After all, you’re coming here to ski, right? So why settle for second best when it’s such an important part of the experience.
At Mountain Air, you can organise your ski hire before you arrive in resort by booking online.
Booking in advance is the simplest thing you can do to help keep your ski rental experience as hassle-free as possible.
Most often this will save you both time and money and likely relieve a great deal of stress too.
Most establishments will offer exclusive deals for pre-booking, too, and you can rest assured that you’ll have all the kit you need when you arrive.
For example, at Mountain Air, we offer you free consignment storage at the bottom of the lifts if you pre-book, or we will deliver your equipment and fit it at your chalet!
This is very important and unfortunately a point most people forget in all the excitement of arriving.
Whether you’re hiring ski equipment from a company for the first time or not, be sure to take the time to ask about their equipment, servicing, and terms and conditions.
Good questions to ask include:
– How often do you service / replace your equipment?
– What range / how much equipment do you stock?
– What equipment is included in each category? They all have different names which can make it a little confusing.
– Can I change my equipment if I don’t like it?
– Will you deliver to my accommodation? Is there an additional cost to that?
When hiring ski equipment, getting the right skis and having your boots fitted properly should be one of your highest priorities.
Far too often we’ve seen people come into Mountain Air after being let down somewhere else by their equipment, because it wasn’t fitted properly to start with. But getting your equipment right, whether buying or renting, will make all the difference to your trip.
The best shops won’t be satisfied until you’re completely happy with your equipment.
We think this is so important we replace all standard foot beds with quality orthotic shaped foot beds that will help your feet feel relaxed and offer the best control.
At the very least, you should expect your rental shop to:
– Measure BOTH your feet, and assess the general shape, size and width of your foot and ankle.
– Put your boots on for you
– Adjust the straps and buckles, including explaining what they do and how to use them
– Check the fit for comfort and be prepared to offer you alternatives.
The best general advice we have for finding the right boot-fit is to listen to your toes…
If they don’t touch the end of the boot when you put it on for the first time then the boot is too big. And if it’s too long, it will likely be too big everywhere else too.
Once your boot has been fitted, the buckles should hold your heel properly in the pocket, bringing your toes back from the front of the boot.
Adjusted properly, the grip shouldn’t be too tight either; aim for something akin to a firm handshake.
Although this is not a standard option offered by most ski rental shops, as the premiere delivery service in Verbier, we couldn’t leave it out.
Our expert technicians will come to your accommodation to kit you and fit you with whatever equipment you need.
We’ll even collect it all at the end of your stay – so you can spend as much time as possible on the mountain.
How’s that for hassle-free?
Mountain Air is located in Place Blanche, Verbier, where you can also find the European Snowsport meeting point and our Verbier sales desk. At Mountain Air, it’s easy to hire and store your equipment a stone’s throw from the base of the Medran so you’re ready to go for your ski lessons every morning!
If you’ve been skiing a while, you may well have seen people telemark skiing. At first you might think they’re skiing… but then you see their heels lift up and away from the ski and their body take on a rather graceful lunge position as they make turns. Well, this is what you’ll see if you spot a good telemarker, anyway! While it may be dwindling in popularity compared to its booming cousin, Alpine skiing, telemarking is actually super fun, really good for you and a great way to improve your Alpine ski technique. Our lead telemark instructor, TugWilson, explains…
‘Last weekend was an unusual one for me. I am Tug Wilson, the lead ES telemark instructor, and it was unusual in the fact that I had not one, but TWO telemark lessons on the same day. In the morning I had a Swiss gentleman who had been taught to telemark by a friend, but was struggling to get the basic fundamentals firmly embedded into his muscle memory, and in the afternoon an eight-year-old boy for his second lesson. The key fundamental of telemarking is the stance; once this has been mastered then you are well on your way. This is where both clients initially had problems but after carrying out various drills and exercises it was beginning to become second nature to them. You are never too young, or old for that matter, to learn this graceful and enjoyable method of skiing.
So why do I telemark? I love the freedom of movement when flowing from turn to turn, the fact that I know if I am not accurate and precise it WILL result in a fall and, most importantly, I know it is improving my Alpine skiing. Telemarking improves your balance, rhythm, co-ordination and timing, all of which are vital for both disciplines. Yes, it does look painful doing lunges down the a busy piste or through the bumps, but once you have developed the necessary movement patterns and rhythms throughout the turn, the pain diminishes and it is replaced with a kind of euphoria. Honestly, it is. Would I lie to you!?
If you are an accomplished Alpine skier and you are looking for a challenge, come and give it a go. The boots are a lot more comfortable so, like the Swiss flag, that is a big plus! For the dads out there who feel like skiing with the family is too slow for them, why not telemark with the family instead? You will be skiing at the same pace but working slightly harder. You will also be the coolest dad around.
In my next blog I will give a brief history of telemark skiing and how we came to be the poor relations to fellow Alpine skiers.
Until then ‘free the heel and free the mind!’’
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are almost upon us and here at European Snowsport we’ve been getting ready for months! Kids’ ski lessons are a big part of what we offer, but what exactly can your kids expect from their ski instructor and their lessons? And what do you tell them when they ask about it? Our Kids Academy manager, Kate St. Clair-Tisdall explains why kids’ ski lessons with ES are the perfect option your family ski holiday:
As a parent you can’t wait to be skiing around the mountains as a family, sharing your love of skiing with your little ones.
So you book your kids a ski lesson.
You meet your instructor on the first morning and hear the plan of action; whether you have booked one lesson or a week’s worth of lessons there is always a plan. Ski safely, ski to learn and ski to have fun. Group lessons for children are great. Not only do they learn but they get to make new friends and there’s no better feeling then skiing around with all your friends.
‘But my child isn’t a beginner so do they need lessons?’ I hear you say. And my answer to that is yes. Every day is a school day, there is always something to learn. Never been in the park? Book a lesson. Want to ski bumps in control? Book a lesson. Even though the main aim of kids’ ski lessons is ski techniques to help improve their skiing, they will also learn the basics of ski safety, mountain awareness and how to carry their own equipment. You may laugh at the latter part but who wants to be carrying three sets of skis and poles, usually dropping something along the way while your children are tottering after you?
With ES you don’t just get a ski instructor, you get a friend, someone you can trust and look up to, and as a parent you can feel at ease knowing that your children are learning the best they can in the most fun and safe environment. You can go off and ski the runs you want to ski knowing that one day you will be able to ski it all with your little ones.
Our instructors love teaching. Not only do the children we teach make friends, we get to make friends too and when clients come back year after year you build up a good friendship. We get to see their progression over the years from the first time they put on skis at the age of three until they take their last freeski lessons at age seventeen, and sometimes even beyond that! Skills are built, technique is improved, memories are made.
We run three types of kids’s group ski lessons depending on age. Penguins is for kids aged between three and five, which includes half a day on the slopes with the option of an afternoon club run by our friends at Verbier nanny service, Petit Verbier. Kids Academy is for kids aged between six and twelve and ES Freeski is for kids aged between eleven and seventeen. And of course, we also offer kids’ private lessons.
If you’d like to organise some ski lessons for your kids, get in touch! We want your little ones to have just as much fun as you do.
Now it’s December there’s no doubt that you’ll be getting excited about your upcoming ski holiday! If it’s your first time hitting the slopes, now’s the time to think about kind of ski gear you’re going to need. If you’re a seasoned skier, do you know where all your gear is and does any of it need replacing? If you’re having ski lessons it’s great to have all your kit ready before you start so you can maximise your ski time. That’s where our handy ski gear checklist comes in.
Larger pieces of kit like skis, boots, helmets and sometimes outerwear can easily be rented, but it’s the smaller essentials like socks, gloves and eye protection that are the most important – and the most often forgotten. These are what can make the difference between staying on the mountain and retreating back to the chalet when it’s cold and snowy – especially if you want to make the most of your ES ski lessons! Here are our top picks of ski essentials that are all too often overlooked or forgotten in a drawer at home.
If you find yourself in Verbier, Nendaz or Zermatt without some essential pieces of kit, you can head to our partner stores, Mountain Air, Premier Alpine Centre or Glacier Sport and they’ll help you find what you need.
Your fingers are the outermost extremities of your body and they’re usually the first thing to get cold on the slopes. A good quality pair of gloves will definitely make the difference between a good day of skiing and a day spend feeling cold and miserable! Mittens are great if you get cold easily because they allow your fingers to stay close and share heat like huddling penguins.
Bonus tip: Make sure you dry your gloves out at night. No one likes putting on damp gloves in the morning.
Glove liners are an absolutely essential piece of ski gear. They’re cheap and cheerful and they can live in your pocket until you need them. The temperature is so changeable in ski resorts that glove liners are an absolute must. They will warm up your fingers straight away when the temperature drops by creating a lovely warm barrier between your fingers and the outside world. We might even go so far to say it’s worth having two pairs in the event that you misplace a pair (easily done) or forget to dry them at night.
Bonus tip: try to get some glove liners with silicone grips on the palms, it makes it much easier to carry your skis!
A good pair of ski socks is super important. And all too easy to leave in a drawer at home! Try to take AT LEAST two pairs with you on your ski holiday; even if you buy merino socks, you won’t want to put them on when they’re stiff and sweaty on day six of your holiday. And try make sure all your socks are of a similar thickness instead of a mixture of thick and thin, it’ll make for a more consistent fit with your ski boots.
Bonus tip: Never wear two pairs of ski socks to keep warm – it’s a sure-fire way to get blisters and mess with the fit of your boots.
Never underestimate the importance of a good set of thermals. Skiing is such a stop-start activity that you could be boiling hot one minute and freezing on the chairlift the next. It’s essential to have some good thermals, made from a technical fabric that will keep you nice and warm on the lift but breathe freely and dry fast when you’re working hard. We recommend you try a few different thermal tops in a few different fabric weights so you can layer up or down according to the conditions.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget about thermal bottoms – try to get a three-quarter-length pair so they don’t end up tucked up inside your boots, causing pressure points and potentially blisters.
If you’ve never been skiing before, It’s easy to think you can get away with just wearing sunglasses for a week. We found out the hard way that you can’t. Even if you have a decent pair of sunglasses, when it’s snowing and windy they won’t do much to protect your eyes. A good pair of goggles will improve your vision in the snow no end and feel much more comfortable with a helmet.
Bonus tip: Sunglasses are great for wearing while you’re having lunch on the slopes or just around resort. It gets pretty bright when the sun is reflecting off all the snow!
Face protection covers sun cream, neck tubes, head bands and / or hats. Cold temperatures, strong sun and wind are all going to wreak havoc with your skin, so try not to leave it exposed for too long. Plus, goggle tan, sun burn and wind burn are not good looks to return home with! Neck tubes and face masks are reasonably cheap and can be kept in your pocket in case the weather tuns on you halfway through the day. Sometimes on a bad weather day it’s good to have two so you can put on a dry one after lunch!
Bonus tip: always try on your helmet (rental or your own) with your chosen face protection ensemble and goggles before you hit the slopes to make sure it’s comfortable.
‘Here at Petit Verbier we know all about ski holidays with children. From what extra layers to pack for babies to booking the right babysitter so you can enjoy après ski – you can get in touch with us for any information you need via our website.
Today we are talking specifically about your three- to five-year-olds. Your little ones will have a new-found independence at this age; they can concentrate for that little bit longer, are chatting away and probably teaching you new things every day! They could be excited about their upcoming ski holiday, or a little bit nervous, so let’s have a look at how you can make those first couple of years skiing the best possible.
Whether they have been longing to ski since watching their bigger sibling or it’s a totally new experience, you’ll want to make sure they have the best time. You might be super keen to get your little one on the slopes, but the most important thing is that your child is ready. Ski schools will only take children from the age of three and you must trust them in their decision, they are the experts!
For your younger children, it’s easy to make sure they don’t miss out on fun in the snow. Petit Verbier nannies will tailor activities around you and your family. They can even bring little ones up the mountain to meet you for lunch, or take them sledging and snowman building at Les Esserts.
So, you’ve booked in to ski school but there is no full-day option. Why? Well skiing is tough work, you know that! Those tiny little legs are just going to be too tired to do a full day. Not only that but children of this age have a completely different centre of balance to adults and their bodies have to work even harder to stay upright and make turns. Another reason is the concentration needed to take in all of that new information; it’s not something children are made to do… there has to be some playing, right? That’s where Petit Verbier comes in.
Petit Verbier offers an after-ski club, the Penguins Afternoon club for children aged between three and five; it’s a great combination for kids of this age. Little ones will be picked up by our Kids Club leader after skiing so there’s no need for you to race down from the mountain at lunch time. The end-of-day pick up is at 4pm – just when the bigger kids are finishing ski school.
At our Penguins Afternoon Club, children will be served a hot two-course lunch at Brasserie Le Bec after skiing. Then the afternoon is packed full of outdoor activities, sans ski boots, so those little legs have some time to rest before the next big morning of ski school. Penguins Afternoon Club operates on a maximum 1:5 ratio (one adult to every five kids) so children get all the care and attention they need. We have an indoor space for bad weather or simply when some quiet time and crafts is on the agenda.
Our Kids Club leader will make sure every afternoon is an adventure. Based on the idea of forest schooling, there will be snowman building, trails in the forest, mountain adventures, simple fun at the swings and lots more. Indoors there are toys to play with, books to read and plenty of craft materials.’
Our mission is simple: ES provides the best snowsport instructing experience in Europe’s leading ski resorts. The ES instructor’s mission is to become “my ski instructor” and not “the ski instructor”. How? By building trust and loyalty over many years of fun-filled holidays in the best resorts in Europe. Read more about why people choose us.