Georgina Tait, a seasoned skier, discusses her experiences with brumski as a beginner and as a more advanced skier
Skiing holidays are an exciting time of the year. There’s nothing better than that invincible feeling you get when you’re flying down a mountain next to friends or family members, with a breath-taking view of never-ending snowy mountains ahead of you.
At the end of an exhausting day, if you’re lucky, you might go back to a luxury chalet, pull off your boots, helmet, sallopettes and goggles, grab yourself some cake and prosecco, and jump in the hot tub. If you’re on a budget, accommodation is probably a cheap AirBnB to compensate for the bank-breaking costs of flights, a ski pass and ski hire.
Whatever accommodation you’re in, the more important question is, who are you with? A group of beginner-level skiers, a group of advanced skiers, or a combination of the two?
As a beginner, it’s quite demoralising to watch your fellow skiers, all far more experienced than you, sail down a piste like it’s second nature, and do a big jump as they pass you falling over for the 27th time. On the other hand, it’s not always pleasant to have to wait five minutes in the cold, at the bottom of each piste for the slower skiers who are still learning.
Perhaps, as a first-time skier, it is easier to keep up with the professionals, as you can simply just bomb down the small hills (this is not recommended). On a snowboard however, there is no easy way around it; you simply have to learn. Bombing down a piste at beginner level on a snowboard will almost guarantee you a nasty fall in the space of about three seconds.
That being said, the diversity of having a mixture of both skiers and snowboarders in a group is more advantageous than disadvantageous (despite the ever-lasting rivalry between the two). When there’s a slight upwards hill preceding the chair lift, snowboarders are stuck and have to awkwardly one-foot it up the hill, usually resulting in a nice leg cramp. If you’re with a skier, though, providing they use poles, you can just get them to pull you up, holding onto their ski poles.
Similarly, after a dramatic fall from a skier, their poles and skis are likely going to have fallen off half way up the piste, leaving the skier below to have to trek back up the hill to retrieve them.
Snowboarders though, have no poles or anything to hold, so they can easily pick up some skis and ski poles on their journey down, and drop them off to the slightly bruised skier below.
Surely, if there are advantages to the diversity of having skiers and snowboarders together, there too must be benefits to having a range of levels within a group. Having a more experienced skier/snowboarder with you provides you with the opportunity to watch and learn from them, ask them for tips and receive some much-needed motivation after you’ve fallen down one too many times.
Natalia, a second year who went on Brumski in Christmas 2018, agrees that having a group of various levels enables everyone to ‘challenge each other’ and makes the whole trip a lot more ‘interesting,’ as long as the runs that the group do are reasonably suited to everyone’s capabilities.
Having a less experienced skier or snowboarder with you provides you with the rewarding opportunity to assist and teach them, which can then in turn help you to reflect and improve on your own technique.
In addition, it means all the epic falls, funny moments, and beautiful scenery can be captured in the video sessions, whilst waiting patiently for the others.
Further to this, some people go on ski holidays without skiing at all. At face value, this may appear pointless, or a waste of money, yet it is still a holiday. Whether you’re in France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Canada, or somewhere in the U.S, you’re still able to go on solo adventures on foot through the mountains whilst the others are busy bruising themselves, as well as explore the culture, go sight-seeing, experience the amazing views, try the new foods, all whilst avoiding the bruises, aches, and costs of ski hire!
With all this being said, Brumski, the University’s biannual ski trip is coming up soon (although unfortunately the deadline for booking this event was a while ago). The six-night trip begins on the 13th of December, allowing skiers to settle in back home just in time for Christmas on the 21st. They will travel to Tignes in France, home to an impressive 300 km of pistes. Their next ski trip runs in Easter, with information regarding the trip being released in January, on their Facebook page: Brumski and Board.
Whatever level you may be, it is a brilliant opportunity, so if you’re lucky enough to have a spare £415 in your savings, do it! A university trip is the most convenient way to go, as everything is organised for you, whilst keeping student prices in mind.
Some more winter warmers for you…