10 Things You Might Not Think About When Preparing for a Winter SeasonHere are my Top 10 Tips For Preparing for a ski season - the things you might not think about

Katie Blundell


1 month ago in News

Preparing For A Ski Season- 10 Things You Might Not Think About

It’s been decided!! You are jacking in the 9-5 and heading off to snowier climates, not just for a holiday, but for the whole winter season, SCORE! Your notice has been handed in, your flights are booked, your passport is in date (hopefully) and your sausage dog Sammy has been settled at his new home for his “ski season” (ie: you parents house). However you still have that niggling feeling that you may have forgotten something. After all, this is your first ski season EVER, there’s bound to be something you’ve over-looked??!

Well do not fear, here are my Top 10 Tips For Preparing for a ski season – the things you might not think about.

EHIC

This was formally known as the E111 and is now called the European Health Insurance Card. This is a really good thing to get sorted out before you go off on your season.

Obviously this only applies if you are doing a season in Europe. The card gives you the same level of state-provided medical care as someone who lives in the country you are visiting (kind of like the NHS in the UK). It covers you in the typical “ski season” countries ie: France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy. However, its still a good idea to get your normal travel insurance as well as depending on which country you are in, you might have to pay extra bills (as will the locals). The EHIC will also not cover repatriation (getting you back home after a medical emergency). If you do have a EHIC, some insurers wont ask you to pay the excess if you do end up claiming on your insurance. NB: All this may change with Brexit!

Insurance

Whilst we are on the subject of looking after you, let’s talk about insurance. As a seasonnaire, you will not only be doing an extreme sport (skiing or snowboarding), but you will need to be covered for other aspects of mountain life, from work to leisure activities. There are so many insurance companies offering insurance policies, but you definitely need to throughly read all the small print and make sure you’re covered for everything. Things you will definitely need are medical cover, mountain rescue, equipment (if it gets lost/ stolen), travel cancellation, ALL winter sports (including tobogganing, ice skating, dry land training, trampolining etc), ski/ snowboard lesson/ course cancellation, off piste, terrain park (a lot of insurance companies don’t cover this!).

You also need to look at how much excess you are paying if you do need to claim and also the length of time you need it for, often single trips will only cover up to 30 days. A lot of companies do special “season workers” or “seasonnaires” insurance, and some policies you can do “add ons” to include things like mobile phone cover (that feeling when you drop your phone off a chair life when trying to take a selfie).

Phones

Fingers crossed you wont drop it off a chair lift or leave it lying in a puddle of beer at apres! Most likely your phone will be used for a million different things (music whilst snowboarding/ skiing, taking snowy photos, maps, social media…..actually your whole life). A couple of important things you might not realise…….when your phone is cold, the battery will drain really fast. This can be annoying when you finally get to the top of the mountain and you want to take a photo, or a more serious thing, if you get hurt and you need to call someone. A good idea is to take a little recharge pack with you up the mountain so you’re never caught out. OR find a way of keeping your phone warm…..I’ve seen people using socks!!! Also, remember not to keep your phone in the same pocket as your lift pass as it will damage the lift pass. 100% back up your phone before you go, just in case.

NB: Whilst on the subject of phones, internet isn’t always easy to come by in the mountains. A lot of the time it might mean going to a noisy bar trying to Skype your family whilst people are doing Jager Bombs off your head!! Check with your phone company/ plan and see how much internet you have a month and if it will cover you abroad and not charge you a small fortune. OR you can always invest in an Internet Global Dongle that will give you unlimited internet anywhere you go.

Altitude

The mountains are pretty high up! Each ski resort will vary in altitude and how high they are. For some mountains, you might live down in the valley and travel up to the mountain, some resorts you might live right on the mountain. Some individuals may get Altitude Sickness for the first few days whilst they are adjusting to mountain life. Many forget about this adjustment period and go in guns blazing with the skiing and apres and then find they feel ROUGH. Take it easy when you first get there, drink lots of water, rest if you can, and give your body time to acclimatise before you go wild. And don’t worry if you do feel funny, it will pass quickly and you can get on with your seasonnaire life.

Self Care

Maybe one more for the girl seasonnaires….but its really hard to “keep on top” of things whilst you’re doing a season. I’m all for “growing a winter coat” to keep you legs warm, but 6 months you may resemble a Yeti! Stuff like waxing, haircuts, manicures are EXPENSIVE and actually really hard to come by in the mountains. Its all about “who you know” and you might be lucky to be working with a hairdresser (now chalet host) or beautician (turned pot-wash). You could be prepared and take out your won hair dye, waxing kit etc, or just go au-natural for the season. Luckily its winter so you can cover up (trousers/ hats etc) but could be a shock (for the general public) if you end up going swimming or to a hot tub party!!!! Another thing to note is the voltage on things. Sometimes electric razors, hair straighteners etc don’t work.

Equipment Care

If you are there for the whole season, your equipment will need some loving too. Normally an edge and a wax will be suffice, maybe a base grind if needed half way through the season. If you take it to a professional to get it done, it could cost you £20-30 each time. A good idea is to learn how to do it yourself and take out your own servicing equipment. You could even charge your new mates cheap rates to do theirs or get them to buy you some beers! Win win!

Down Day Activities

When you imagine a ski season, you imagine days upon days of blue skis, white snow, beautiful sunshine and skiing/ snowboarding. You won’t have time for anything else! There WILL be many days like this, but unfortunately there will also be down days. These are days where you cant go out riding because the weather is too bad. Sometimes these are greatly received as you have a good exercise to catch up on sleep and have a hangover in bed. However, if you have a few of these, they can get a little boring (and you can turn to drink and apres!!), so it’s a good idea to take lots of things to keep you occupied and stop you getting cabin fever. A good series to watch is a must, maybe some board games/ cards, knitting??! Whatever floats your boat

Pre Season Fitness Prep

You will get FIT on a ski season, provided you do actually make it out onto the slopes and not just the bars. Your body is a temple, and it’s a really good idea to do some fitness mountain prep before you hit the slopes. It will honestly make such a difference to all those aches when you first start skiing/ snowboarding. This can be anything from gym workouts, home workouts, running, classes, walking the dog! Anything that gets your blood pumping is better than sitting on the couch. You will get so much more enjoyment out of your riding if you body is ready for action.

Doctors

The pharmacies in the mountain normally stock a wide range of cures for most things (albeit quite expensive), but if you are in the unfortunate situation you need to see the doctor they are very well equipped for mountain ailments. The normally prescribe you a million things to help you, which you then have to go and buy at the pharmacy. You can claim this back on insurance but can be a faff so I would recommend taking out a little stash of drugs (not that kind!!) so you don’t have to fork out lots of money whilst your out there. Birth control is a good one to take a supply with you (heads up, they sell The Morning After Pill behind the counter at the Pharmacy!) as hard to get hold of the same one in the mountains, and any other prescriptions you might be on. If you explain to your doctor in the UK that you will be going away for 6 months they should give you a good supply.

Don’t Forget Your Swimmers

To most it wouldn’t even cross your mind to take your swimmers on a WINTER destination. But yes, DO pack them as guaranteed at some point you will get the opportunity to go in a hot tub!

Plus there are often swimming pools in mountain resorts that can be good for days you’re not skiing/ snowboarding. And (you may not actually need swimmers for this, depending on how many apres drinks you’ve had), there is a possibility that you will end up doing a * “snow plunge” at some point (ie:rolling around in the freezing cold snow- good for muscle recovery). Swimwear is also very useful for those fancy dress Hawaiian parties you will inevitably be going to

*naked

Now you are pretty confident you have every base covered, all thats left is to have a really epic time.