After much anticipation we arrived in Austria and were greeted by snowy Alps and a stand-up shot of the potent local schnapps at our Mayrhofen chalet. Everything was as it should be. Now to sort out our ski rental.

Ski rentalWe’d prearranged our ski hire with Manni of Mayrhofen (part of the worldwide Skiset rental network), so we headed into town to their centrally located ski rental shop. First up, we each got on one of the touch screen computers and filled out our basic information and ballpark weight and height.

Ski boot sizing

Then I sat down to try on my first pair of ski boots. Kicking down my heel for the snuggest fit it became clear that my usual size-four shoe was a little too roomy for skiing, so I went with a size down instead.

When choosing your ski boot sizing it’s important to get a tight fit. That way your heels hardly lift up as you manoeuvre and you can transfer all your force directly to controlling your skis.

My kit expert got me to pull up my ski socks and strapped me in, clicking shut the straps before asking me to stand up and wiggle my feet about. That’s when I realized that ski boots are angled forwards, so that you’re forced to stand in an odd position, slightly leaning forward with your knees bent. Then came walking… Have you ever seen the Mr Soft advert? Well, if you just imagine that you are walking to the Mr Soft tune, or pretty much any dub reggae track, then you’ll find the whole thing much more natural.

Carrying your ski kit

After that I was issued with a pair of Head brand skis and two poles and pointed in the direction of Mayrhofen’s town centre ski lift, just a short walk from Manni’s ski rental shop. Heading off up the road, along with troops of other skiers and snowboarders, I hitched my skis onto my shoulder, counterbalancing with a hand at the front, and then grappled with my poles.

There’s a lot of kit to negotiate when skiing, and in a crowd I felt much safer opting to carry my skis vertically facing up. This way I had less chance of thwacking anyone in the face and causing an injury before even arriving on the slopes. I did spot an ingenious little kit carrying set up of hooking the loops of your poles around each end of your clipped together skis and carrying them all together in one clutch – one to try later!