21 Nov 10 Things to do before you hit the slopes
The year is drawing to a close, and I bet you’re already thinking about the holidays. If you’re planning a snow trip then you’re in luck! Niseko’s famous powder soft snow is already falling in the village and the winter season preparations are well underway for YOUR winter holiday. However, before you even thing of jumping on a plane, there’s 10 things that should be on your must do list before you hit the slopes!
1. Book early!
We’ve all heard the saying, book early to avoid disappointment, right? Well that’s because it’s true! No one want’s to see the holiday of their dreams disappearing in a puff of white snow because flights and accommodation are booked out. The official opening of Niseko’s 2014-15 season is November 22, and there are still vacancies available. Agencies like Niseko Accommodation can help you book your holiday package, so get a snowshoe on and book now!
2. Consider a season pass.
If you know you’ll be out in the snow a lot over the season then you should definitely look at investing in a season pass. This year, Niseko United has teemed up with Vail Resorts Inc to include Niseko in its Epic Season Pass for the 2014-2015 season. This unique partnership allows Niseko United All Mountain Season Pass holders to experience 5 consecutive days of free skiing and riding at some of the best ski resorts in the USA, so keep an eye on Niseko United for details. Your snow season just got extended, no thanks necessary.
3. Get snow sport fit.
When was the last time you did any snow sports, let alone any actual exercise? Skiing and snowboarding uses many different muscles groups in the body that you may not exercise on a regular basis, and inactivity of these will lead to stiffness and soreness in very strange places. To spend more time on the slopes and not in the physio’s office, start an exercise regime early to get your fitness and endurance up to scratch. Just think, when everyone is heading home tired and sore, you’ll still be out carving up the snow all to yourself.
4. Check your gear.
Make sure your gear is just as ready as you are, so show your skis or your board some love by having them serviced professionally. As a minimum this should include a base wax, a fresh grind and having the edges sharpened. And while you’re at it a safety check of the bindings doesn’t go astray either. A preseason service will ensure your skis or board is more responsive giving you a more enjoyable ride, as well as prolong the life of your gear overall. Wins all around!
You will be on your feet a lot and it’s paramount to have well fitted and comfortable boots to wear. If you’re looking to invest in a pair, shop around and try on a lot of boots! It’s worth getting correctly fitted boots that are adjusted especially for your feet that will allow you enough flex to make your moves (on the slopes, silly!). On the other hand if you’re looking to rent while you’re there, the same principles apply; shop around, try on a lot of boots and talk to the technicians. It’ll take some time and effort but ultimately you’ll stand a better change at staying on your feet for longer!
It probably seems obvious that you’ll need clothes before you go on a ski trip, but having the right kind of clothes for the climate will make all the difference between being out on the slopes for a whole day in comfort, or getting soaked through and shivering down the mountains before lunch time. Ditch your cotton clothes and invest in woollen undergarments that will keep you warm in the cold, yet allow perspiration to evaporate from your body when you’re too hot. Also, ensure that your outer garments are weatherproof with no holes or rips in them from the previous season, the weather can change in an instant and you don’t want to get caught out.
7. Think about sun protection.
Even in the winter time the sun can be damaging, especially reflecting off crisp white snow. Be sure to pack appropriate sun protection including a strong sunscreen for both your skin and your lips. Sunscreen has the added bonus of protecting you against wind burn and bad googles tan lines, which brings me to the next bit of protection you’ll need – a pair of sunglasses or snow googles with good UV protection. Your eyes can take a beating after a day looking out at glare, and can cause headaches and migraines, so make sure you invest in a decent pair to add to your snow kit.
8. Check the forecast.
Sometimes it doesn’t snow and other times it snows too much; so what are you going to do if a blizzard closes the mountain for part of your holiday? By keeping an eye on the forecast you can plan your days on the slopes as best you can, and schedule in rest time or other activities on the days where the weather takes a turn for the worse. So keep an eye on the forecast in the lead up to your trip, and have a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t go your way.
9. Buy Travel Insurance.
Even Shaun White has bad days on the snow, and if you have an accident and don’t have travel insurance, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s a fact of life, accidents happen on the slopes and winter weather can wreak havoc on transportation, so make sure you’ve taken the time to find the best travel insurance to suit your needs. Most travel insurers will not only provide coverage for snow sport activities and travel mishaps such as flight delays or cancellations, but also extends coverage to lost or damaged snow gear. Be safe, travel smart, and buy travel insurance before you go!
10. Confirm your bookings.
Unfortunately, bookings do get lost in the tangle web of the internet. However, it will only take you a few minutes to either pick up your phone to call or to jump online and email your accommodation and any snow sport reservations you’ve made, to ensure they have your bookings correct. The last thing you want is to turn up with all your snow gear and posse in tow, to find out that your hotel lost your booking and is completely booked out. Don’t be that person sobbing loudly in the foyer – confirm your bookings now!
And don’t forget, FastFun Japan are here to help you get back in to the groove of things, so contact us for booking your ski or snowboarding lessons, expeditions, backcountry and guided mountain tours. Hopefully, by the time you’ve ticked off all these 10 things you’ll be ready and set to go hit the famous Niseko snow!