Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Explore the history, health benefits, and safety tips of skiing in this article. Plus, discover the perfect solution for reaching the slopes hassle-free.
Winter is here, and for many people, that means it’s time to hit the slopes and enjoy some skiing or snowboarding. Have you ever wondered how skiing became one of the most popular winter sports in the world? Well, skiing dates back to ancient times, when people used skis to travel across snowy landscapes. Today, they are fun-filled activities that offer many benefits for your body and mind. However, skiing also comes with some challenges, such as: finding the right equipment, choosing the best location, and staying safe on the slopes.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to overcome these challenges and make the most of your ski trip. Plus, we unveil the perfect solution for reaching the snowy heights, so that your journey to the slopes is as thrilling as the ride down.
Table of Contents
- A Brief History of Skiing
- Health Benefits of Skiing
- Tips on How to Stay Safe on the Ski Slopes
- The Challenges of Driving to the Slopes for a Ski Trip
- Global Perspectives on the Slopes
- The Ultimate Solution for Your Winter Getaway: Blacklane’s City-to-Slopes Service
- Find Your Perfect Match
- Blacklane City-to-Slopes Routes
A Brief History of Skiing
Skiing is an old activity that dates back to prehistoric times. The earliest evidence of skiing is from Russia, where skis that are between 8,000 and 7,000 years old were found. In northern Europe, many ski fragments that range from 1,000 to 3,500 years old have been unearthed in bogs in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
Some of the first skis looked more like snowshoes, as they were short and broad. But skiing was not exclusive to Europe. In China, the first written references to skiing are from the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) and describe skiing in the northern part of the country.
Actually, skiing was essential for many people who lived in places with long winters and heavy snowfall. The Sami people, inhabiting the northern parts of Scandinavia, believed that they were the original inventors of skiing and used skis for hunting. The Vikings also skied from the 9th to the 11th century. Skis are still sometimes used today for transportation in rural areas of Russia and the Scandinavian countries.
Skiing has also undergone many innovations and developments over time. The first recorded indoor snow slope was created in Berlin in 1927, with a mixture of crushed ice and salt. The first ski chairlift was installed at Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho, USA, in 1936. And the first snowboard was invented by the Michigan engineer Sherman Poppen in 1965, when he tied two skis together and called it a “snurfer” (snow surfer)!
Today there are over 6,000 ski resorts in the world, offering a variety of slopes, lifts, and facilities for skiers of all levels. Whistler in Canada is one of the world’s most popular ski resorts, with over 200 trails, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers to explore. It is part of the Whistler Blackcomb ski area, with 8,171 acres of skiable terrain and 37 lifts. Another popular destination is Aspen in Colorado, that consists of four ski areas: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass, each with its own character and terrain. You can also experience the highest ski resort in Europe, Val Thorens in France, which is part of the Les Trois Vallées ski area, the largest in the world, with 600 km of slopes and 200 lifts. If you want to learn more about these and other ski resorts, you can check out our comprehensive guide on the most exotic, unusual, and unique ski resorts in the world.
Health Benefits of Skiing
Skiing is not only a thrilling and adventurous activity, but also a healthy and enjoyable one. One of the benefits of skiing is that it can be a great workout, as a moderate run down the slopes can burn between 300 and 500 calories per hour. Cross-country skiing can burn even more calories, as it involves both your arms and legs to propel yourself forward. Additionally, skiing involves a lot of balance and coordination, which improves your proprioception and core strength. And skiing not only boosts your overall happiness and well-being, but also promotes deep sleep.
Besides the physical benefits, skiing becomes a passport to explore the stunning scenery, unique cultures, and delightful cuisine of different ski regions. It is a complete adventure package!
Tips on How to Stay Safe on the Ski Slopes
Skiing is a fun and exhilarating sport, but it also comes with some risks. To enjoy skiing safely, you need to follow some basic safety measures and precautions. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Always wear a helmet designed for skiing or snowboarding. A helmet can protect your head from serious injuries in case of a fall or a collision. Make sure your helmet fits properly and keep the chin strap fastened.
- Apply sunscreen and wear ski goggles that fit properly with a helmet. The sun’s rays are stronger at higher altitudes and can cause sunburn and snow blindness. The wind can also dry out your skin and eyes
- Your boots should be comfortable and snug, but not too tight. Your bindings should be set according to your weight, height, skill level, and type of skiing. Improperly fitted or misadjusted gear can cause injury, so it’s best to ask for expert advice when purchasing and fitting boots, bindings, and skis.
- Dress in layers and wear warm clothing, including a hat, gloves or mittens, snow pants, and a winter jacket. A neck gaiter (which goes around your neck and can be pulled up over the face) can help keep your face warm. Avoid cotton clothing, which takes a long time to dry and will make you cold. Choose wool or quality synthetic materials instead.
- Stay with a buddy or a group and keep an eye on each other. If you get separated, have a meeting place and a way to communicate. If you ski alone, make sure someone knows where you are and when you plan to return.
- Stay on marked paths and never go past the ski area boundary or into a closed area. These areas are not monitored and there is no way to know what the snow conditions are. You could encounter rocks, ice, avalanches, or other hazards.
- Be aware of your surroundings and other skiers. Before you start down a hill or merge onto a trail, look uphill to make sure no one is coming toward you. Skiers in front of you have the right of way. Keep your distance and stay in control. Never stop in the middle of a trail or in any spot where you can’t be seen from above, such as below a drop-off.
The Challenges of Driving to the Slopes for a Ski Trip
Driving to ski resorts and slopes can be risky and stressful, especially if you have to drive yourself on the winding, snowy mountain roads. Here are some potential challenges:
- Weather Hazards: Changing weather conditions like snow, ice, fog, or wind can reduce visibility and traction. Additionally, avalanches, exposed rocks, and other natural hazards may pose risks on the road.
- Vehicle Preparedness: Equipping your car with winter tires, snow chains, and other necessary accessories is crucial, especially in countries like Austria, Germany, and Italy where it’s mandated by law. Carrying emergency essentials like a warning triangle, reflective jacket, shovel, and tow rope is also advisable.
- Extended Driving Hours: Long hours on the road can lead to fatigue, impacting judgment. Navigating through traffic jams, road closures, or accidents may cause delays in arrival or departure.
- Driving in a Foreign Country: Dealing with the stress of driving in a foreign country, where language barriers and unfamiliar road signs may be present, brings unique challenges. Adhering to different rules and regulations, including speed limits, overtaking, or right of way, may require extra attention.
Global Perspectives on the Slopes
Skiing is a fun and exciting activity that many people enjoy during the winter season. But what are the factors that influence the satisfaction and enjoyment of skiers? To answer this question, we gathered some data and analyzed the preferences and behaviors of UK and US skiers. Here are some of the interesting findings that we discovered.
What Brits Need for a Perfect Ski Trip
Exploring what British skiers like, we find the important things that make a perfect mountain adventure.
- Five Must-Haves for a Perfect Ski Holiday
According to our survey, British skiers have spoken, ranking the following as their top five must-haves for a perfect ski holiday:
|Having a view from your chalet or hotel
|Minimal queues at restaurants and ski lifts
|Peace and quiet away from noisy crowds
- Top Five Travel Aspects Brits are Most Willing to Invest in
Beyond the slopes, our survey shows the aspects of travel that British skiers are most willing to invest in for an enhanced holiday experience. The top five travel priorities include:
|Peace of mind
- Top Five Stressful Types of Holidays
While the pursuit of the perfect holiday is exhilarating, our survey also sheds light on the top five stressful types of holidays, according to British skiers:
What Americans Need for a Perfect Ski Trip
To find out what makes a ski holiday really great, we analyzed the opinions of winter sports fans from the US. We discovered their preferences, likes, and dislikes when it comes to planning the perfect mountain getaway.
- Least Favorite Parts of the Holiday
According to our survey, U.S. winter sports enthusiasts pinpoint the following as their least favorite aspects of the holiday:
|The risk of delayed travel due to poor weather conditions
|Busy slopes with long queues
|The risk of poor weather conditions
|The difficulty of getting around when you’re there
|Big groups of people
|Lack of après entertainment and restaurants
- Biggest Stress Involved in Going Skiing
According to our survey, the following factors contribute to the biggest stress involved in hitting the slopes:
|Big queues and waiting around in the cold
|The hassle and delays of vehicle or air travel in the snow
|Noisy and disruptive groups
|The amount of heavy luggage you need to take away with you
- Reasons for Avoiding Group Transfers
While the convenience of group transfers is often touted, U.S. winter sports enthusiasts have reservations. The following reasons outline why they might opt against group transfers:
|It’s loud and disruptive
|I can’t take as much luggage
|It doesn’t feel as safe
|It’s not as reliable
|I prefer luxury
The Ultimate Solution for Your Winter Getaway: Blacklane’s City-to-Slopes Service
As mentioned, driving to the slopes can be a hassle, particularly if you have to face unfamiliar roads, extreme weather, or deal with rental cars. Fortunately, there is a better way to travel from the city to your favorite ski resort. Blacklane’s long distance service allows you to travel stress-free and save time for your winter getaway. Whether it’s comfort, flexibility, space, or price, Blacklane has you covered.
- Comfortable Travel Experience: Enjoy the convenience of a premium vehicle with an experienced chauffeur behind the wheel. Our chauffeurs are expertly trained and well-versed in the best routes and current weather conditions. They skillfully navigate the roads, ensuring a safe and smooth ride. Relax in the backseat without the need to worry about navigating challenging mountain roads, checking the weather forecast, or finding parking.
- Versatile Fleet: Whether it’s a solo trip, a romantic escape, or a family adventure, Blacklane’s fleet is equipped to meet all needs. Our vehicles come winter-ready with snow tires and chains, ensuring warmth and comfort throughout the journey. Additionally, enjoy amenities like climate control and Wi-Fi.
- Flexible Scheduling: Unlike rigid train and flight schedules or limiting operating hours of car rental companies, you have the flexibility to choose your departure and arrival times, tailored to your preferences and schedule. Blacklane’s punctual chauffeurs guarantee a timely arrival at your winter destination without stress or delay.
- Transparent Pricing: With Blacklane, enjoy transparent pricing with fixed fares based on the distance and duration of your trip. Your fare remains unaffected by traffic or weather conditions.
Find Your Perfect Match
When planning your winter escape, selecting the right car class ensures your journey is tailored to your preferences and needs. With the Blacklane fleet, you are spoiled for choice!
- Business Van – Ideal for Family Adventures: If you’re traveling with family or have ski/snowboarding equipment, our Business Van is the perfect choice. With ample space for up to six passengers and their luggage you can enjoy a comfortable ride to the slopes.
- Business Class – Romantic Getaway: For a romantic couple’s retreat to the mountains, our Business Class offers a premium and intimate setting. Enjoy the journey in ultimate convenience, making your way to the winter wonderland with ease.
- First Class – Travel in Style: Travel in top-of-the-line vehicles and experience the best that our chauffeur service has to offer. Elevate your journey to the slopes with style and sophistication.
Blacklane City-to-Slopes Routes
We offer a variety of routes from major cities to the most popular ski destinations in the world, so you can choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.
- Vancouver – Whistler
- Calgary – Lake Louise
- Calgary – Banff
- Montreal – Mont Tremblant
- Montreal – Mont Sainte Anne
- Toronto – Blue Mountain
- Munich – Saalbach Hinterglemm
- Munich – St. Anton
- Munich – Soelden
- Munich – Ischgl
- Munich – Kitzbuhel
- Munich – Garmisch
- Denver – Aspen
- Denver – Breckenridge
- Denver – Beaver Creek
- Denver – Snowmass
- Denver – Vail
- Denver – Winter Park Resort
- Denver – Copper Mountain