Seeing and playing in the snow for the first time is a thrilling and fun experience. And skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, tubing, making snowmen, and having snowball fights are favourite and playful ways to make the most of your snow holiday. In this post, we share some tips and best practices for snow novices.

FFC-snow-snowboarding-Sunshine-Village-Banff Photo Jennifer Morton

Snowboarding lessons at Banff Sunshine Village. Photo Jennifer Morton

Where to find the best snow

It could go without saying that Canada tops the list of the world’s best snow destinations, but as a Canadian, I’m probably biased. But it’s a fact that Canada sports some pretty epic snowfalls that create stereotypical winter wonderlands throughout the country. Not only that, but the Great White North is blessed with fantastic mountain towns that offer amazing snow experiences, especially for the snow beginner. Favourite places for snow play and skiing are Banff, Whistler, Revelstoke, Big White, and in the east, Mont-Tremblant is not to be missed. To the south, the USA has Aspen, Vail, and Lake Tahoe, which are all up there with trendy places to get your snow fix. And it’ll be pretty hard to beat Switzerland and France for beautiful snowy mountain dream-holiday destinations.

And let’s not forget about the Southern Hemisphere. Yep, they get snow Down Under. New Zealand is your best bet with hip towns like Queenstown, Wanaka and on the north island, Taupo’s Mount Ruapehu. And believe it or not, Australia also has a few ski hills: Perisher Blue and Thredbo are the best known.

FFC-snow-snowboarding-Banff Photo Jennifer Morton

Strapping on the snowboard for the first time in Banff. Photo Jennifer Morton

When to go to the snow

The north hemisphere’s winter and snow season is December through to March, although some ski hills may open in November and offer ski and snowboarding services until April or May, depending on the weather and quality of snow.

In the southern hemisphere, the snow is best from July to early September, with spring skiing often lasting until early October.

FFC-snow-Sunshine-Village-Banff Photo Jennifer Morton

The world known Banff Sunshine Village Photo Jennifer Morton

What to wear for snow-based activities

If it’s snowing, that means one thing: it’s cold outside. If it’s your first time to the snow, you’ll want to be prepared to handle temperatures below freezing. In some places (especially in the Canadian Rockies), you may be dealing with -15 to -30 Celsius. Believe me, you’ll want to dress in warm and cosy layers.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• A good-quality winter jacket
• Snow-pants; vital if you plan to ski or snowboard
• Knit sweaters
• Wool (Merino is non-itchy) base layers: shirts and leggings
• Hat, scarf, mitts or gloves
• Winter boots – sneakers won’t cut it
• Goggles if skiing or snowboarding

Best things to do in the snow for first-timers

When we think of snow, images of children making angel shapes and snowmen often spring to mind, and rightfully so; these are joyful and fun ways to get in amongst the white stuff. Seeing snow for the first time is a beautiful and memorable experience. Even people who grow up in the snow will rush to the window to see the first snowfall of the season and declare how beautiful it looks.

FFC-Snow-angel -Photo Jennifer Morton

Snow angel! Photo Jennifer Morton

Of course, skiing is a long-time and much-loved winter sport that requires lots of snow, so it makes sense to combine your first snow holiday with learning to ski, or snowboard. But it’s not as easy as strapping skis or a board to your feet and speeding down a mountain. Beginners should sign up for multi-day lessons to make the most of your time in the snow. Ski lessons will give you knowledge of how the equipment works, how to position your body, and tips to keep you safe, which will give you the confidence to become a great skier. If skiing, snowboarding, snowmen and snowball fights are not your thing, a simple walk during snowfall will delight your senses and bring a smile to your face.

FFC-snowball-fun Photo Jennifer Morton

Snowball-fun Photo Jennifer Morton

Snow etiquette

• Never throw snow in someone’s face
• When throwing snowballs, avoid your opponent’s head and groin regions
• Always stamp the snow off your boots before entering public buildings and homes
• Remove boots and jackets in the wet room/porch before entering someone’s house
• Never eat or lick yellow snow