Let the Winter Olympics inspire you to hit the slopes

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The Sochi Olympics opens to the world on 7 February and this auspicious event may well inspire you to take up a winter sport. If you’re a novice skier here are a few ideas to get you on your way.


Breaking into skiing


There used to be a time when winter sports were the exclusive reserve of the wealthy. Thankfully, those days are long gone. The slopes are open to all and if you’ve always wanted to take up this sport – or you want to enhance your skills – then have a look at Thomas Cook ski holidays. You might even find that snowboarding suits you better than skiing, but you’ll never know until you try just one of these winter experiences.


Mountain holidays and beginners


If you’re at all nervous about starting skiing, try not to be. Most of the major ski resorts have a beginner’s school where you’ll be able to build up your confidence before testing your new skills. Soldeu in Andorra in the Pyrenees is an excellent place to start. Alternatively, Cervinia in Italy also has a recommended nursery slope and you’ll be allowed to move higher up the mountain the faster your skills develop.

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The world of winter sports is opening up


For many years, France, Italy and Switzerland were the most popular destinations for anyone who wanted to ski. Colorado, Canada and Scandinavia came a close second. Many people are now looking at alternative destinations, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. One of the attractions of these resorts is that they are more competitively priced; the other might be that these destinations aren’t as crowded as more traditional destinations.


Bansko, Bulgaria: A skiing paradise


If you’ve always been attracted to skiing away from the hustle and bustle of the more famous resorts, then Bansko in Bulgaria might be the place for you. The resort is actually set within a National Park. Last year Bansko hosted the women’s downhill World Cup. The town of Bansko itself is picturesque and a perfect place to enjoy an après-ski environment. This might be the ideal place to develop your skiing passions, especially if you’ve been inspired by Sochi but have never dared try the sport before. After all, the locals have always known about these wonderful slopes, but they’ve only recently started to share the secret with the rest of us.

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