First ski experience, at the ripe old age of 29!!!! If like me, you have lived nearly your entire life in a warm and tropical country with no snow, ski-ing is probably something extremely foreign and not your typical sport unlike swimming or badminton.
Having moved abroad to Switzerland for coming 4 years already… I finally decided to embrace the snow, pick up those ski gears and hit the slopes for the first time!
Read on below to find out my first ski experience in Switzerland and how it went.
Watch the full vlog here:
The Destination: Aletsch Arena
The Aletsch Arena is an extremely varied ski area in canton valais with a total of 104 kilometers of perfectly groomed pistes. The ski resort stretches along the mighty Aletsch Glacier at heights of 1,845 – 2,869 m. At such high altitudes you are bound to have snow all year round.
There are effectively seven different ski villages that comprise the ski resort at Aletsch Arena, so you will be completely spoilt for choice when it comes to staying overnight.
Three alpine villages, Bettmeralp, Rideralp and Fiescheralp have plenty of cosy wooden traditional chalets, and they all offer ski-in skin-out accommodations. These alpine villages are car-free & only accessible by cable car or gondola in winter.
When does Ski Season Start in Switzerland?
The winter ski season in Switzerland can start as early as 8 December and ends in the first week of April, before Easter Sunday.
Typically, January to February is the high season for winter sports when there is the most snow.
First Ski Experience in Switzerland
My first ski experience was with the Swiss Ski School at Fiescheralp.
If like me, you are learning to ski for the first time, it is important to find a ski resort with the right terrain, ski schools and facilities. For your first ski holiday, you would want to find somewhere with gentle slopes and good access to beginner areas.
In case you are wondering: How do I ski or snowboard if I didn’t bring along or have any equipment? Not a problem at all since it’s super convenient to rent directly at the ski school (aside from your own ski clothes (e.g. jacket), socks and gloves. Another alternative is to rent from places like Decathlon for the whole winter season, as usually it would be cheaper to do so that way.
There were varied lessons offered for ski-ing and snow-boarding, and you can choose between group or private instructors, depending on your skill level. I was on a media trip and so only had time for a single 3 hour session.
Nevertheless, If you intend to really learn ski-ing at the beginner’s level, a great idea is to sign up for a ski-camp AND go for intense classes every single day. By the end of the ski camp you should be able to go down some easy blue slopes!
There is a 3 day offer by the Swiss Ski School in various ski resorts in Switzerland. You can also read my post here on my family’s first ski experience in the beautiful ski resort of Saas-Fee last year!
The Ski School at Fiescheralp had excellent nursery slopes right next to the main village. Our ski instructor was a jolly old man (He has DECADES of experience, andstill going strong at over 60 years old!) who was extremely friendly patient with us.
Most of the instructors here are Swiss-German, but they also speak English, so communication is not an issue.
We learnt basic fundamentals of ski-ing:
- How to properly put on skis. …
- how to “waddle walk” with skis when not using using poles
- how to ski in a wedge (pizza)
- how to brake and stop
Initially I was a little self-conscious and embarrassed: Can you imagine a grown adult learning how to ski next to 4-6 years old? But you wouldn’t believe it, the Swiss parents looking from the outside were so encouraging, they even clapped for me and shouted “bravo” when I managed to go down a slope by myself! You’re never too old or too late to start learning, and your biggest enemy is just yourself and your ego.
Since it was just a short session, naturally I wasn’t able to master ski-ing within a single day. But I’m glad to have at least learnt the fundamentals. This ski season in 2022 I hope to pick up more ski classes and prepare for the blue slopes!
There are plenty of activities around the Aletsch Arena and Valais besides ski-ing.
Read more on this blog post if you are interested in our summer vacation in Valais and adventures: Including a spectacular visit to the great Aletsch Glacier, paragliding in the Alps and saying hi to the legendary St Bernard dogs!
This post is written in collaboration with MySwitzerland and Valais Tourism. All opinion are my own.