Going skiing? Five top tips for the first time skier

Skiing. What a palava.

Skiing. What a palava. It would be nice if it was as easy and glamourous as the Made in Chelsea lot make it look, all fur hats and roaring fires, but realistically, you’re more likely to end up doing a Bridget Jones and land head first, legs akimbo in a snow drift. These tips are essential reading for anyone preparing to pop their skiing cherry this season.

Practice before you go.

Obviously it’s handy if you have a mountain in your back garden and a permanent supply of snow in your shed for this one, but if this isn’t the case, head to your local artificial ski slope. Real snow slopes, such as those at Xscape venues, are best, as they allow you to acclimatize to cold conditions and get a feel for real snow under your feet. If all else fails, dry ski slopes will do – just learn the basics such as stopping and turning, and practice using ski lifts.

Wear a helmet

The legal requirements for wearing a helmet are somewhat sketchy, and vary from country to country and age group to age group. Ultimately, it’s worth paying the extra few quid and losing a bit of glamour to wear one- remember the tragic case of Natasha Richardson (Liam Neeson’s wife) who died from a skiing head injury. At the very least, it means you have to buy and pack less woolly hats, saving you money and suitcase space.

Sharpen your elbows

If you thought the Boxing Day queue for the Next sale was lethal, wait until you see the queue for the ski lift. You ain’t in England no more, so the concept of civilized queuing was left at the bottom of the mountain, along with your dignity and the luxury of circulation in your toes. Instead people jostle their way through to the front as though their life depends on it. Kids ski through your legs (kids who are barely old enough to stand, yet are dressed head to toe in designer ski suits and can ski better than you) to get to the front, people jump the turnstiles. In a nutshell, it’s chaos, and if you’re very British about it, you’ll spend your entire holiday queuing at the bottom of the mountain.

Ski lifts are NOT your friend

After a hard day on the slopes, the very idea of having a cheeky sit down – even moving rapidly at several hundred feet above sea level – will seem very appealing. However, do not make the classic rookie mistake of getting comfortable on a ski lift –assuming you’ve managed to hop on in one piece, that is. Do not wait for them to stop at the top before you jump off, because they DO NOT STOP. If you don’t take the opportunity to hop off, one of two things will happen. A very angry ski lift operator will shout at you in [insert appropriate language here] OR, a very amused ski lift operator and all his ski resort buddies will laugh at you in [insert appropriate language here]. Either way, you’ll have to do the ride of shame, which involves riding the whole way back down the mountain, past the crowd waiting at the bottom to hop on, and then all the way back up.

Watch out for fences

Stop laughing in the back, it happens. *Shifty eyes*. Such is the nature of the skiing lifestyle that ski instructors seem to build slalom courses wherever they like – even if there wasn’t one there yesterday, there might be today. It’s a conspiracy, set out to shame first time skiiers who haven’t yet found where the brakes are located in their ski boots. You come round the corner and BAM. Fence.  The fences used are thin, tarpaulin-esque structures, which, although they don’t do you any damage, do little in the way of deterring your unintended and unstoppable path down the mountain towards the tree below.