Top Ten Tips for Silver Skiers

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1. Pick your resort. Sounds blindingly obvious, but it IS important to find a place where you can stay within your comfort zone. If you're an experience skier, then you may have favourites you know very well, but if you're heading for a new destination, or you're a novice of any age, then do ask for advice. Don't go to a place where you could end up scared to death and can only cope with a couple of the runs... even if you're an expert, choose a place with plenty of easier runs to play on and with lots of local atmosphere for any days when you might want to give skiing a rest.

St Johann Alpendorf2. Take time to study a piste map and take a good look around. Whether you're a novice or a veteran in an unfamiliar region, learn your way about, so that if you do get a twinge, feel tired or decide you've had enough, you'll be able to call it a day and get home without the risk of getting hopelessly lost or ending  up in the wrong village.

3. Be prepared! It's not the Olympics or the World Cup, but get yourself as reasonably ski fit as you need to be, because the fitter and more flexible you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself or cause lasting damage if you do take a tumble. And take extra, extra care getting off the ski lift for the first time at the start of your trip... it's all to easy to catch an edge and embark on a slo-mo forward fall that could wreck your knees before you've even reached the slopes.

4. Make sure your insurance is up to the mark to cover EVERYTHING; and also ensure it's up to date, along with your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which has replaced the old E111 form many of us still have tucked away. This is free on - read more details. See my Travel Tip in the Forum.

Ski lift5. No wish to be too negative or labour the health aspects, but put together a basic first aid and medication kit, including suitable painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (check with your GP or pharmacist), plus maybe a pain-relief spray and an elastic knee/ankle support. Your hotel or chalet should be more than capable of supplying an ice pack, or ice cubes for the necessary drinkie-poos, should you come to  grief. See the Blog for my Ski Risks for Wrinklies!

6. Carry some high-factor sunscreen for high-altitude protection, as well as a dry-oil spray if you're a bloke with a pink solar panel to expose when you take off your ski helmet or woolly hat. And don't forget to put cream UNDERNEATH your nose and chin - snow is very good at reflecting harsh sunshine upwards!

7. Do make sure your boots fit properly. If you don't have your own, take plenty of time in the rental shop and make the most of their expertise to get them snug and comfy - ill-fitting boots and sore, cramped feet miles from anywhere could turn into a nightmare and easily ruin a holiday.

8. We often lose muscle bulk, and prominent shin bones can soon become chafed and raw even with the best-fitting boots, so put a good shake of talcum powder or a dollop of Vaseline (really!) into a small polythene  sandwich bag, smooth it out flat, then tape it to the front of your sock, thereby cutting friction with the boot tongue and preventing your leg being rubbed to bits. An oldie but goody - and it really does work!

Crans-Montana9. Drink lots of fluids - but take it easy with the booze. It's easy to get dehydrated when you're high in the mountains, so take on lots of water or juice; and if you're on skis, don't get even higher on alcohol. If you're planning a largely-liquid lunch, or are led into temptation by the ambiance and sunshine on a restaurant terrace (oh, the temptation!), then back off from skiing and , if need be, take the lifts back down to base. Booze might make you more relaxed, but it can also make you more reckless, and mixing that with slowed-down reactions and possibly-fragile older bones is not a good cocktail.

10. The most important tip of all... have a great holiday! Life IS too short, so make sure every precious day on the snow really counts; and try not to be on a downer and think about all the ski resorts you would never have chance to visit even in two hedonistic lifetimes. Strangely enough, the three letters in the word SKI can also be an acronym for Spending the Kids' Inheritance - and if that's the way it has to be, then so be it! ENJOY!

For information about skiing in Austria, read more.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • juneski
    over 6 years ago
    Thank you for the tips David, and also for the comments from Jim. I have not skied for over 10 years and thought I was getting too old (52) but reading your comments it is really giving me the inspiration to try again. However, I will have to take special note of the tip to get ski-fit first.
  • SilverTravelUser_2939
    over 7 years ago
    I commend the tips provided by David Graham - they are well worth noting and following.

    As an ageing skier (now 71) and having skied for the best part of my life, Biathlon, Cross Country and Alpine, I know only too well the risks involved (I have the shoulders and aches to prove it).

    I have worked for the past 15 years for all of the ski areas in New Hampshire as well as the NH Department of Tourism. I can recommend New Hampshire and New England as a safe ski destination - most of the ski areas have around 50% intermediate skiing and enough challenging skiing for most of us more adventurous wrinklies. They also offer terrific customer service both on and off the mountains, and the atmosphere on the piste is hugely friendly and welcoming.

    They have 100% top to bottom snowmaking on every trail at the major resorts in NH and average 20-30 feet of natural snow each winter.

    The New Hampshire Ski Group USA (who work with most of the major UK Tour Operators) offer a Multi Mountain Ski Passport at around a 30% reduction in the rate paid at the mountain - the Passport covers Waterville Valley, Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods and Mount Cranmore. The area is totally safe, no avalanche risk, no altitude sickness and renowned grooming techniques and the ski areas only stock shaped skis and quality rental equipment.

    The area is often overlooked by ski pundits and journalists in favour of the major resorts in Europe and West Coast USA and Canada. Despite that, it offers affordable skiing (the lift pass is about 50% of the cost out West) and a wide range of affordable and comfortable lodgings to fit every pocket.

    If anyone would like more information contact me at
    [email protected].