Chamonix treeline

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Ski FAQs

Q Equipment : Should I hire or buy equipment?

For a beginner it is probably best to hire equipment. If you buy equipment as a beginner you quickly outgrow it as your skiing level improves. Wait until you have done a few weeks’ skiing or boarding and make sure that this is a sport you will practice regularly, and then consider buying. The cost of purchase will pay for itself over 4 or 5 weeks.

Boots are the first thing to buy as technically they have the most influence on your ability and can be very painful if badly fitting. If you have unusual sized or shaped feet then it may be worth buying them early on in your 'career' as well as customised insoles (well worth the investment). Due to their intensive usage, hire boots can sometimes lack a bit of padding and therefore warmth, especially later on in the season. Remember you should wear thin socks in your well-fitting boots (contrary to popular belief!) as it is blood flow round your body which keeps you warm - tight boots and socks reduce the flow. (World-cup skiers even wear stockings or nothing at all to ensure maximum contact with their boots!).

The cost of hiring skis and boots for 6 days (adults) varies from around €90 - 110 for beginners, to around €110 - 150 for experts/top of the range equipment. Most shops offer an insurance against theft and breakage of equipment which can be worth taking even if you have other cover.

Q Insurance : Should I get ski and travel insurance?

Without a doubt, 100% Yes! Insurance cover is one aspect of your holiday that you shouldn't scrimp on although it's something you hopefully will never have to use. However, when taking part in winter sports and mountain activities, accidents can and do happen and you want to ensure that you are properly covered for the activities that you will be undertaking.

Q Ski School : Should I have lessons?

Yes! Everyone should take lessons because that’s the way to improve and to get more out of skiing/boarding. In Chamonix it is also worthwhile taking a qualified instructor or mountain guide to tackle some of the harder terrain and is a must for serious off-piste and glacial trips. It is essential for beginners to have correct instruction for the first week or two, and group lessons are an ideal way to learn. Good intermediates or above may benefit more from private tuition. In general most ski schools have excellent English speaking instructors. The main Ski School in Argentiere is by the Lognans/Grands Montets cable car.

Q Theft : How can I avoid having my skis/board stolen?

It’s a sad fact that in this day and age, we can no longer leave our skis outside as we enjoy a warming hot chocolate, après ski, or a leisurely lunch at the side of the piste. "Prevention is always better than cure" so be very careful about how and where you leave your skis unattended. Top tips to minimize the risk of having your skis stolen are as follows:

• Never leave your skis unattended for a long period of time outside a bar or restaurant. Some bars may offer a “ski monitoring” service.

• Avoid leaving skis on your balcony, even if your apartment is located on the higher floors of the building (thieves have been known to scale up to four floors for the latest skis and boards!)

• Always keep your skis in your line of vision. • Swap a ski with a friend when going into a mountain restaurant or bar; but don’t put the unmatched pairs next to each other!!

• Where you have rental skis, ask the rental shop to write your name on the skis as many people will have the same or similar pairs, and may take your skis by accident.

• Use ski lockers where provided.

• Invest in a ski/board lock. Although they won’t prevent the determined thief, they may deter them.

• Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered should your own skis, or rental skis be stolen. (See below for what to do if your skis do unfortunately get stolen)

Q Theft : What should I do if my skis get stolen?

Double-check the area where you left them, just in case. It is possible they have fallen over, and / or have been put back in a different location?

Report the theft to the police as soon as possible. Don’t be fobbed off if you are greeted by a lack of interest by the local police force. They see this type of incident all the time, and are therefore not always the most helpful. However, be persistent, obtaining a police report is necessary and required by all insurance companies.

If they were rental skis, you'll probably have to deal with the shop, and they may be able to providesome assistance. When hiring the skis, some rental shops will offer additional insurance to protect you against theft. If you choose not to take this option, or the rental shop doesn’t provide this service, you will probably have to pay for the skis (to the replacement cost value) and then claim on your insurance.

Theft tends to happen when you least expect it, even placing your skis directly behind you as you sit in a café or bar can be a mistake…- BE AWARE!!

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