Top Tips for Skiing in Bad Weather

Being completely honest, although one pictures perfect blue skies, contrasting white peaks and gleaming sun throughout their school ski trip, the reality sometimes isn’t always as picturesque. 

Whilst we can help to guarantee certain happenings on your trip (such as perfect school ski trip accommodation, ease of paperwork etc.) the weather, unfortunately, is something we haven’t yet conquered. Instead, we’ve pulled together a list of top tips for bad weather skiing that may help you on your otherwise perfectly planned ski school trip:

Keep Warm

Although this may seem pretty obvious, if you know you’re starting to ski in sub-zero temperatures, ensuring that your ski equipment is not frozen from being left out all night is important for starting the day the right way. Once you’re warm, it’s easier to stay warm before you start skiing. Throughout a cold day, make sure you have stops planned in warm environments so that everyone is able to warm up and get comfortable – here, students can also make adjustments to their gear to stay warm this way

Layer Up

If there’s a chance of a storm or super cold weather, make sure you and your students are layered up with a lot of base layers, ideally made of technical fabric. These will be moisture wicking whilst also providing warmth. Socks should be made of smart wool and long johns are an absolute must. Then, you should advise students to wear a fleece or wool layer finished off with waterproof and windproof ski coats and salopettes. Faces can become incredibly cold even in warmer skiing conditions so make sure your students’ faces are covered with a neck and face mask, balaclava and goggles with no gaps between them and the helmet. It’s worth noting that a ski jacket with a hood is particularly good for creating an extra layer to fight against the wind and the cold

Fuel Up

You should be encouraging your students to do this anyway but make sure that your meals are made up of warm, high energy food. This is particularly important for breakfast and lunch when your pupils are prepping for a day of potentially challenging skiing conditions. Be sure to keep everyone topped up throughout the day through frequent stops for tea or hot chocolate – this will also help to keep them hydrated when drinking may not be top of their priority list

Hand and Toe Warmers

Simple, cheap and a truly wonderful comfort in bad weather! If you’re skiing during the coldest months, advise your students to stock up on these and keep them at the ready for when it’s super cold

Mittens over Gloves

If there’s a choice, mittens may be preferable over gloves for super cold weather. Whilst some dexterity is lost a bit, fingers will generate and share more heat by being in the same compartment – if you want, you could also suggest wearing thermal gloves under the mittens for extra warmth. Another key glove tip here is to recommend your students have a spare pair if possible should the others get wet 

Take Hooded Lifts

If possible, opt for ski slopes that use hooded lifts or gondolas to get there. This will ensure that everyone gets a bit of a break from the elements when they most need it – when they’re static.  This will help to prevent anyone from becoming too cold during the lift up and be a very welcome break.

Short Breaks

As mentioned, it’s important to take short breaks during bad weather. Bad weather requires a lot more concentration and physical exertion than good weather so your students will likely tire more easily. It’s important to let them recharge, fuel up, warm up and relax. Accidents on the slopes are significantly more likely if your students are too tired to make sure they can give the slopes their all by allowing them to take the day slow and steady. 

What to do in a white out

Stick to the Trees

Bad weather covers a myriad of possibilities when it comes to mountains but one of the more risky situations is a whiteout – especially in a school group. When this happens, try and keep to slopes in the trees so that you have good contrast as to where the piste is.

Goggle Wipes

When visibility is bad, there’s usually snowfall to accompany it which unfortunately then hinders vision even further which isn’t ideal! Make sure you tell your students to always have a goggle wipe with them so that they can clean their lenses when needed 

Piste Markers

When visibility is bad, try skiing from piste pole to piste pole – this means you won’t go off the edge. Encourage your students to follow each other this way, led by a ski instructor. This will also help you to stay together as a group which is also highly important. Here, you can also discuss how many poles you’re going to pass before stopping for a break and regrouping. We also recommend ensuring that your students are buddied up so they can look out for anyone who perhaps is a bit slower

Stay on Piste

Whilst we never recommend taking your students off-piste, we would just like to reiterate how dangerous this can be in bad weather. Ensure that your students have a map of the resort and know to stay on piste no matter what. It’s also advisable to explain the routes to your students beforehand so that they feel more familiar with the map when visibility is poor and so they can be sure they will not veer off-piste

We hope these are have been helpful and do get in contact if you would like to find out any more about our school ski trips or would like a quote.

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