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Silver surfers? Going down the piste for the first timeSilver surfers? Going down the piste for the first time

Never mind police constables and teachers getting younger by the day, it seems that now the population on the snow slopes is getting older and older. Increased life expectancy and improved pensions have meant that baby boomers that have reached the age of retirement are increasingly unwilling to sit in front of the fire waiting for the grim reaper to come along to tell them there time's up.

So, do you fancy a slide down the piste for the first time but you're more enthusiastic about the après-ski than the activity that precedes it? Here's a few tips to help you:

It's a sports activity

If the last time you did any sport in anger was playing cricket or football with the grandchildren, you'll probably need a bit of preparation. That doesn't necessarily mean signing up for the gym months before you go away, but don't move straight from couch to piste in one go. Get plenty of exercise and think about warming up before putting your skis on and warm down when you take them off. You'll ache a lot less.

Indoor slopes

There aren't too many "real snow" artificial slopes in the UK, but it may well be worth while having some lessons and a dry run on an indoor slope before you leave. You'll be able to decide whether or not you like it, you won't waste time trying to get to grips with things when you are away and you'll be one step ahead of your peers.

Falling on your backside is good

Really.... Even if you start with lessons (and you should) and don't go gung-ho from the off, you will spend some time sliding down the slope on your rear-end rather than on your skis. people will laugh at you and you may be advised to laugh at yourself, it's all part of the learning curve. Practice makes perfect and it'll all come good in the end.

Your skis are not your enemy

Even if you think so. Your skis will be very good at getting you to the bottom of the slope. After all, that's what they were designed to do. However, your instructor is there to help you train them so that you are in command and so they get you there in a timely manner and preferably on your feet rather than on your bum.

What about the insurance?

So this is a travel (insurance) blog. Of course we're going to talk about insurance. Indulge us a little. One of the fastest growing areas of travel insurance is to cover the over 70s, it covers pre-existing conditions and, as long as you don't go silly and start wandering off-piste, you can behave just like the young 'uns - even go snowboarding. How cool is that?

Why on earth do it in the first place?

There are many people that think that climbing to the top (or almost the top) of a mountain only to hurtle at breakneck speed right back down again is sheer madness. So why do it?

  • The feeling of smugness that you've actually managed to ski down to the bottom of a run and successfully stop yourself for the first time.
  • Looking back up the mountain that you have just raced down, however slight the slope, never fails to leave you with a feeling of immense respect for the power of nature.
  • There is really nothing like the cold fresh mountain air blowing on your face combined with the midday sun beating down on you. That lethal combination of sunburn and snow can be quite surreal at first. You have sunburn but there's no beach. Euh?
  • If you want to get away from it all, it's one of the best solutions. Chances are you'll spend a lot of time concentrating on staying on your two feet, so skiing really is the perfect way to get away from all your woes!

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