How does it work?
Skiing is a great way to work all the core muscles in both your upper and lower body and an excellent way to tone up those wobbly thighs and firm up your derrière. It is also a great cardiovascular exercise as it keeps the heart pumping rapidly. Skiing involves focussing on your balance and co-ordination to stay upright on the slopes and it can be scary at first if you’ve never done it before. Most people go alpine skiing which involves skiing downhill, then using a mechanical ski lift to get transported up the mountain. If you haven't skied before you can have lessons with an experienced instructor either privately or in a group. Instructors will teach you how to hold your skies, how to get up after a fall and the basic manoeuvres such as the snow plough, which is a basic controlling technique, with the skis in a `V' form from the tips.
There are many different runs ranging between green, blue, red and black, which is the hardest slope to ski on. All resorts and indoor ski slopes have visible signs indicating which run is the best for you, so if you’re a beginner don't try to do a red run, stick to the easy green and blue slopes. However if you are a confident skier the black run is the best slope to show off your skills.
To get down the slopes and ski your way to fitness, you need to get some skies to hire, which are made from aluminium. They come in many different sizes and styles, depending on whether their intended use is cross-country, downhill (also known as alpine skiing), ski jumping or freeskiing. The bindings that attach the ski to the boot vary, depending on whether you are a beginner or intermediate skier and whether you are going alpine or cross-country skiing. Most skiers also use a pair of poles, each of which has a wrist-strap on the top, a sharp tip on the bottom, and a circular ring about 4 in. (10 cm) from the tip to prevent it from sinking into the snow. The bottoms of skis may be waxed for maximum glide in varying snow conditions.
Is it for me?
Skiing is great fun for everybody whether you are 6 or 86. However it’s not for everyone- if you are a thrill seeker then skiing is a great way to get your adrenalin pumping, but if you suffer from height problems you may just want to stick to the nursery slopes and green runs which are gentle, or even better you can use your local gym - just hop onto the cross trainer to get an intensive ski workout.
Some centres also offer ski fitness training sessions that allow you to improve on your ski techniques and learn how to stay out on the slopes for longer. They also give you great tips on how to eliminate the morning after muscle stiffness.
Good to Know
You don't need to buy all the ski gear - you can hire everything from jackets to ski boots. However ski wear now is a lot more affordable - you can buy salopettes and ski jackets from most department stores. You need to make sure your clothes are waterproof, especially if you have never skied before as you may spend a lot of the time on your behind.