17 things you only know if you’re a true ski aficionado

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All ski lovers agree that there’s nothing quite like skiing – the crisp snow crunching underfoot and the sense of exhilaration on the slopes is the best feeling in the world.

happy-woman-skier-by-chair-lift

Here’s a whole load of other skiing experiences that only true ski aficionados will understand – how many of these do you recognise?

1. Ski wax smells great

From recreational skiers to competitive ski racers, there’s nothing that puts us in the mood like the smell of ski wax. Sure, it makes skis glide faster and increases their longevity, but most importantly it smells amazing. The occasional stain on your clothing is a small price to pay for achieving maximum speed on the slopes.

2. There’s an art to layering

All skiers need to learn the mysteries of layering. You have to hit the right balance – not too warm and not too cold. The base layer regulates body temperature and keeps you dry, the mid layer traps heat and the outer layer is windproof and waterproof. Perfect – until you need to go to the toilet.

Read our ski trip packing list for more tips on what to take.

3. Being cold and sunburnt at the same time

Re-applying your sunscreen while fighting winter chills – it makes no sense but it’s so necessary. The dangers of sun exposure on slopes become all too real once you’ve seen your face taking on the colour of a boiled lobster.

Did you know that the higher you are, the more intense the exposure? The thin air at the top of the mountain can’t properly filter the UV rays. Plus, snow is highly reflective which is why you can get burnt in unusual places such as under your chin.

4. These ski boots aren’t made for walking

For a beginner, ski boots might seem like an ancient torture device designed to punish the inexperienced. They're difficult to put on, difficult to take off and difficult to walk in. The only thing they're good for is skiing. The best part of owning ski boots is being able to kick them off at the end of the day.

5. The goggle tan is inevitable

The uninitiated might call it raccoon eyes, but the tan that appears only on the lower half of the face under your ski goggles is held in high esteem. It’s the sort of tan that never goes out of fashion in a mountainside town. Gorgeous.

6. Having to share chair lifts

Sharing a chair lift can be a challenge for even the most experienced skiers. Nobody is immune from skis getting tangled, poles getting caught at weird angles, or being hit by the safety bar. The drama of chair lifts is real.

7. Getting off the ski lift gracefully takes practice

We know the score – wait until the skis touch the platform, simply stand up and let the chairlift push the backs of your legs to move you forward. Experienced skiers make it look easy, but a momentary lapse in concentration is all it takes to end up being dumped unceremoniously in the snow. And if you hesitate a second too long, you end up going on a round trip on the ski lift – how embarrassing!

8. The struggle of trying to get up again when you fall over

Falling over is easy – standing up again is the hard part. There’s almost no way to make it look dignified. Our top tip is to keep the skis parallel and press with one hand on the snow to help move the body weight to the skis. Using the poles, push hard with your legs and you’ll be back on your skis ready to tackle the next slope.

skier-jumping-on-snow

9. Losing a ski and then poking around with no idea

If you fall hard enough to lose a ski, you’ll probably find yourself dragging your poles through the snow looking for your gear. And you’ll definitely only find the lost ski 500 metres downhill after poking around in the snow for an hour while your friends continue making tracks on the slopes. Our advice for beginners is to invest in really good ski ribbons.

10. The ski hair struggle is real

The mountain is no place for good hair days. Ski hat static and helmet hair affect us all, and the cold, snow and wind don’t exactly make for perfect locks. It’s probably best to just tuck it under a hat.

11. Kids whizzing down the slope

The passion for skiing can take over at any age and some of the most enthusiastic skiers are kids. But it’s common as an adult on the slopes to be going along thinking you’re doing a great job and be overtaken by a tiny ski expert zooming past fearlessly – with no ski poles.

12. Setting off is easy – stopping is more complicated

It’s a universal law of physics: things travelling downhill at speed cannot stop easily. We know that. You know that. And yet the people in the queue for the ski lift have spread across the bottom of the slope. And now you’re travelling at an uncontrollable 50 miles per hour towards them screaming for them to get out of the way.

13. Knowing how to say ‘beer’ in loads of languages

This is our top après-ski tip. No matter where you are in the world, a tiny thing like a language barrier won’t stop a true skier ordering a refreshing beer. All ski lovers know how to order drinks in a range of languages, from French (une bière s'il vous plaît) and German (ein bier, bitte) to Spanish (una cerveza, por favor).

14. The thrill of skiing over fresh powder

All skiers crave making fresh tracks in the untouched powder, leaving their trail for everyone to see. Although fresh powder requires a special ski technique, the reward is a magical ride down the mountain that feels like you’re floating over the snow.

15. Falling over is inevitable

Falls ultimately build confidence (and they are a good excuse for a sit down). But if you find yourself spending more time on your derriere than riding the slopes, don't throw in the towel. Those glorious mountain views come at a price that might involve one or two wipe-outs. So what? We ski aficionados know that knock-backs are part of the deal. Plus, you can worry less about the unpredictable when you have skiing insurance looking after you and your equipment.

16. Fear is a good thing

There is always a little bit of fear, even for the most experienced. Most of us feel a small knot of anxiety kick in right at the top of the slope – you’re tackling a mountain after all. The great thing about skiing is that it forces you to just go for it. Even when you're scared, you can only ski if you lean forward and face the slopes head on. Great skiing needs a little fear, so don't let it hold you back.

17. You’ll never forget how to ski

Skiing is like riding a bike – once you learn how it’s done, you’ll always be able to do it. No matter how long it’s been since you were last on a mountain, you’ll know exactly what to do when your boots click into your skis.

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