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5 Dec, 2012

Ski holiday countdown begins

 Ski tunnel with mountain views and a skier in yellow

It's time to dust off the Christmas decorations, which means it's nearly the ski holiday season. December 15th marks the start of many resorts' winter seasons and the beginning of short ski breaks for the next few months.

With the countdown on for the first cheap ski breaks of the year, now's the ideal time to make sure you're all set up for a cracking time on the slopes.

Lessons

If you're just heading off for a short ski weekend, then you don't to be wasting time in resort struggling to stand up. Try to squeeze the odd trip to dry slope or indoor ski centre in the UK before you go.

"To get the very most from a ski break, it is always worth splashing out on a few lessons before descending on the slopes – even a few basics will help with confidence, technique and safety," says Sarah Woods, travel writer, author and broadcaster.

Insurance

Don't leave home without it. Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office says: "We strongly advise anyone going on a winter sports holiday to ensure their travel insurance policy covers them for all winter sports activities." An up-to-date EHIC card is also vital when skiing in Europe.

Ski Hire

Now's the time to decide whether you want to buy skis and boots, or if you're happy to hire. You can often find good deals on kit hire when making your booking.

Get fit

With just a few days on the slopes, it pays to maximise your time by being physically fit. Don't wait until the New Year; hit the gym now so you're ready to take on La Face. "This will result in a double whammy positive - your body will be better prepared to handle the physical excursions of skiing and you will be able to ski longer for harder thus getting more value for money," says Chemmy Alcott, Britain's top female skier.

Get the Gear

You can always find a pair of ski gloves or a new hat in the resort, but it's probably better to make sure you have all the major items – ski jacket, salopettes, etc before you land in the resort.