With the Winter Olympics in full flow in Sochi, an increasing number of people are taking an interest in winter sports. For many of us, there’s recognition that there are many winter sports that were previously something of a mystery to us.
Skeleton, luge and curling may capture the imagination every four years, but I wonder how many people are really tempted to actually try these sports out? I would suspect that engagement levels continue to be relatively low, although it’s likely that the success of individual nations will boost participation numbers within a local context.
What we do see is that people continue to book trips abroad where skiing and snowboarding form a central focus. These activities are undoubtedly enjoyable and most people taking part are probably more interested in aspects associated with leisure, rather than trying to become future Olympic champions. From my own experience, I would suggest that there is motivation to be gained from looking to take on more difficult challenges.
The fun of facing increased challenges
As I move on to more complex ski runs, I feel an enormous sense of satisfaction. I don’t imagine become a downhill ski champion any time soon. I’m realistic about the limits of my own ability and I don’t see such limitations as being a negative. I’m happy to be spending time outdoors and to be making the most of the scenery that surrounds me. I think that most other enthusiasts feel the same way.
If you’ve never been skiing before, however, then you may have your own feelings about whether this all sounds like fun. After all, do you really want to be spending endless hours learning to ski? Would you consider that to be a relaxing break?
I think that posing such questions probably ignores the reality of what a ski trip is all about. There are certainly those who are committed to spending every possible hour on the slopes, refining their techniques. I’ve seen plenty of people take this approach and I admire them for it. I would not say, however, that this is typical of those who choose to visit the leading European resorts.
From my own time spent in Switzerland, it’s clear that most people want to relax, to unwind and to have a great time. Being on the slopes is part of that enjoyment, but it’s representative of only a small element of what’s involved. When your body decides that you can’t ski any longer on a particular day, that’s not the end of the fun.
Away from the ski slopes
The established resorts often attempt to sell accommodation and breaks on the basis of what’s available aside from the skiing. That may sound rather strange, but it makes a lot of sense, when given further consideration. It goes without saying that we want to have plenty of snowfall, together with all of the associated facilities.
We want to be sure that we aren’t waiting for too long at the ski lifts, or fighting over a desperate lack of expert tuition. But we also want a selection of great places to drink coffee, to have lunch and even to party the night away. It’s these amenities, away from the piste, which tend to be the big differentiating factors between the various resorts.
So, when you are thinking about your own plans for the year, it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of seeking all ski experiences as being identical. Instead, there’s scope here for you to draw up a list of what’s important to you and your family.
Do you, for example, want to make your way to a resort that offers no end of nightclubs and bars? That may sound absolutely perfect, although other people will naturally choose to opt for quieter options, where there are suitable forms of entertainment for children.
The quality of the ski lodge that you choose will also have an undoubted impact on the entire experience. If you’re thinking about a ski trip for the very first time, then it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of concentration on what will happen when you are on skis. But what happens the rest of the time can be just as exciting and even more important to the overall success of your trip.
Think about what’s right for you and your family. You will then be able to find a resort that truly meets your needs.