Alpine skiing is also known as downhill skiing. Each of the ski resorts offers a variety of facilities and ski runs, from beginner to advanced. When planning your alpine ski trip, select an alpine ski resort which caters for your needs.

Lessons

Most ski resorts offer ski school facilities suited to a variety of age groups and skill levels. Not only will lessons speed up your learning of the sport, but it will give you a good idea of which areas are suited to your skill level.

Clothing

Clothing can be divided into two types: insulating layers and the outer layer.

1. Insulating Layers

In cold weather these are the most important layers. Several thin layers that trap air and are made of material that will stay warm, even when wet, are better than a couple of thick bulky layers. The number of insulating layers you wear depends on the weather and the activity you are participating in.

Wearing thermal underwear will also help insulate against the cold. Wool is a good natural fibre and manufactured fibres such as polypropylene and fibre pile are also effective. Cotton undergarments perform poorly in cold and wet conditions.

2. Outer Layer

Staying dry and reducing the effects of wind chill are important, therefore your jacket and overpants should be waterproof and windproof. The outer layer also helps to insulate by trapping warm air next to the body. If you don’t have your own windproof and waterproof outer clothing you can hire them from most ski hire outlets.

It is important to wear a warm hat as significant body heat is lost from the head. Woollen or synthetic socks and gloves or mittens should also be worn. On wet days, large rubber dishwashing gloves worn over the top of your gloves help to keep hands warm and dry.

Never wear jeans or cotton/vinyl gloves as these do not give adequate protection against wind, rain or snow.

Equipment

Alpine ski clothing and equipment is specialised. Before purchasing or hiring equipment and clothing, ensure that they are suitable to your skiing needs. Consult your local professional ski retailer who can advise you on the best equipment to meet your requirements. If you have your own equipment, always have it checked and serviced regularly by a reputable technician before riding lifts. Clothing requirements for alpine skiing are basically the same as for snowboarding, but special boots are worn. Helmets should be worn by children, novices and experienced riders.

Boots

Ski boots have attachment points on the heel and toe that lock into the bindings on skis. It is important to have ski boots properly fitted by a professional.

Skis

Skis are available in different widths and length and are selected based on your height and skiing preferences. Seek advice from a professional about which skis are appropriate for you and ensure your skis are professionally fitted to your boots.

Poles

Poles can act as a balance aid while skiing and provide leverage for stops, starts and turns. The pole length and materials and are selected based on your height and skiing preferences. Seek advice from a professional when deciding which poles are right for you.

Helmets

Helmets may make a difference in reducing or preventing head injuries. Snow sports helmets are insulated for cold weather and provide better coverage and impact protection than other sports helmets, such as bicycle helmets. Be sure that the helmet you choose meets current recognised snow sport helmet design standards.

Before buying clothing, seek expert advice and remember that showerproof is not waterproof.

Safety

Do not try to ride on a slope that is beyond your ability as you will endanger yourself and other snow area users. Observe the Alpine Responsibility Code at all times for your own safety and the safety of others.

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