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Stay on piste with our beginner's guide to Alpine skiing

Posted on Tuesday 06th January 2015 by Steve Thomas

With beautiful Alpine resorts like Haute Nendaz, Les Collons, Val D’Isere and Meribel to choose from, it's hardly surprising that many people eyeing up property for sale in France and Switzerland dream about getting stuck into that most Alpine of activities: skiing.

With winter in full swing, many prospective property owners are turning their eyes towards chalets for sale in the Swiss and French Alps, with a view to squeeze in a little on-the-slope-action during the peak winter season.

Who can blame them? Surrounded by crisp white snow and powdered peaks, you're bound to feel the urge. Before you strap on your skis for the first time, however, it pays to know what to expect. To help prepare you for your inaugural skiing session, we've assembled a series of tips that will help beginners stay on piste, turning them from humble novice to slaloming Superman in next to no time.

Balance is key

If your body isn't used to it, skiing will put your limbs into configurations generously described as slightly awkward. Your boots will push you forward, while the weight of the skis strapped to them will conspire to gently push you backwards. As a result, many a beginner will list forwards or backwards in a bid to balance themselves out, quickly leading to exhaustion and frustration. We know it's difficult, but you must resist the urge to scoot along on your backside; after all this is skiing, not tobogganing!

Concentrate on keeping your legs straight and squarely under your torso. Next point your shoulders down slope. Positioned like this, the weight of your body will hang directly over the ski's narrowest portion (or sweet spot), helping you maintain control and improve your technique.

Top tip: don't look at your tips

It may sound silly, but a lot of people wearing skis for the first time are mesmerised by the tips of their new footwear. There's nothing wrong with that, but concentrating on what the ends of your skis are doing instead of what's going on in front of you can have painful repercussions. You want to concentrate on a spot roughly ten feet in front of you; this will give you the measure of the terrain and help you avoid oncoming obstacles, not to mention allow you to better enjoy those breathtaking Alpine views.

Terrain to win

In much the same way you wouldn't set about conquering Everest on your first mountain climbing expedition, heading out of the ski area to find the gnarliest, most hardcore slope you can is never a good idea for a beginner. Start out by hitting a nice, flat run, then, when you have the posture and the confidence, try something with a little more speed.

We all fall down

Last but not least, don't be afraid to take a tumble or two. When you first hit the slopes you're going to fall over. A lot. Luckily, snow is nature's crash mat, so you're unlikely to injure yourself. If you do fall down, pick yourself up and try again...

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