2018/19 has not been the greatest of seasons – particularly when it follows such an epic one. It makes you realise just how lucky we are to be mobile and what’s more, just how much longer the motorhome ski season is than for many.
My Facebook feed was wall to wall whinging from the wheel-less skiing fraternity who couldn’t even rely on decent conditions when booking 4 hours before jetting to the Alps on a Friday evening. The Motorhome and Skiing FB Group however has been the polar opposite! Boisterous snowmads reporting from here, there, and everywhere on snow conditions, accessibility and with live weather reports from the slopes. Just brilliant.
It’s in times like these that you realise that motorhome skiing is definitely the way forward (as if you were in any doubt). But perhaps we ought to change the name of our Facebook Group as our community increasingly encompasses tonnes of people who couldn’t give two hoots about skiing or snowboarding – they’re simply lovers of white fluffy mountains.
This year we’ve seen our numbers swell and with it, the activities they take part in too. Walking, snowshoeing, ski touring, tobogganing (Switzerland is the place for you!), and all manner of other sports and leisure pursuits. Open a motorhome ‘garage’ and you’ll likely find all sorts of gear designed to take advantage of any and all snow conditions.
It’s the multi-action snowmads in our party who get the most out of each and every single day they’re on the mountain. As the rest of us are complaining of ‘crud’ and ‘slushy conditions’ and how ‘you have to get out before 11 otherwise it’s a write-off’ – they’re shredding first tracks, making a mid-morning costume change, donning snow shoes and grabbing the dog for the mother of all picnics. In the afternoon they’re sticking on skins and sliding uphill – yes uphill, to get some proper exercise that can be redeemed against fondue later in the evening.
They’re irritatingly proactive and they even manage to nail a few jars and gracefully slide off the mountain without so much as a face-plant. They are the real life mountain Barbies and Kens.
So what can us amateurs learn from these Chamois?
We asked some of these all action heroes for their top five suggestions as to how best to enjoy the mountains as the white stuff is on the retreat.
- Take snowshoes. Always take snowshoes. Unlike your glue gun and your inflatable mattress (in-joke – see Our Zero BS Checklist), you will use snowshoes far more than you expect, not less. Conditions are bonkers and it’s a white-out? Snowshoes. The snow is rubbish and absolutely no fun on piste? Snowshoes. They’re amazing value, they don’t take up much space and anyone can do it. Check out our mate Viv’s Beginners Guide to snowshoeing here and see Decathlon for their full range of snowshoes.
- Check in at the Tourist Office – You’ll find many resorts have a lot more going on that you know about. From trying your hand at ice driving in Serre Chevalier to taking on a 13km toboggan run in Fiescheralp, Switzerland, there’s no real excuse for a duvet day in the mountains
- Move on! If you find that you’re thoroughly cheesed off, the weather’s simply crappy and you’re bored, un-hook, up chocks and move. Most of us have an inner argument at this point – is it better to stay and ride it out hoping for better days to come or move and risk even worse conditions (or worse – miss an incoming dump)?! We discovered this the hard way on a number of occasions and still play by the same rule – we’re snowmads and sitting about is not our thing. We do however have a list of things we’re keen to try in each place we go if we know there’s a bluebird on the horizon.
- The snow parks are usually well maintained right to the last day of the season and are nowhere near as intimidating as you might imagine. The Park Rats are no different from your hooded skaters – they’re a young fun bunch and in our experience, always keen to help and encourage new comers to their domaine.
- Stick a few quid in your budget for trying out something new – you won’t be short of options – the great thing about trying a new skill if that it’s often a nursery slope activity and these get groomed, bashed and restored to the bitter end. If you’ve got some serious coin (and can harness your adrenaline) speed soaring might be right up your street!
It’s all about searching for your inner ‘commitment-phobe’. If ever there was a time to avoid signing up to anything until the minute it’s upon you, it’s when in the mountains in a motorhome. And this is why motorhome skiers don’t have ‘bad seasons’.
More motorhome skiing ideas