Q&A: Willem from Intersport talks buying skis, and what to wear on the slopes

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Renting or buying equipment is the first step for any aspiring boarder or skier. And unsurprisingly, there is a massive industry around it. We caught up with Willem from Intersport, a rental shop that Chalet Chardons works closely with, to hear his thoughts on the world of renting and buying equipment.

First, tell me a little about your background and how you got to be here?

So, I’m Willem, the manager of the Intersport ski shop in Tignes Les Brévières. It’s my fifth season here, and my seventh in total. I did my first two in Les Arcs. I always spent my ski holidays in Tignes, so to work here was obvious. I’m a skier only, and started when I was 6 in Les Vosges.

What are your favourite conditions to ride in? And your favourite week of the year to go riding?

I’m lucky to be able to ski almost every day for 5 months, so I ski only when the weather is nice. But the best month to ride in is January, when the slopes are quiet and the snow is fresh.

What are your favourite skis that Intersport rents out?

Black Crows skis are my favourite skis that we rent. You can do everything with them. It’s an all mountain ski that you can use every day! And we have the equivalent in board with the Nitro Prime!

For someone who’s never bought skis before – What should be your key considerations? And how much should you be expecting to spend?

For that kind of material, you have to expect 600€. But if you never have bought skis, and you are a good skier, count around 450€ to buy slopes skis. My advice before buying a pair will be to know your ski level and what kind of skiing you want (only slopes / all mountain / freeride). And it will be exactly the same advice to buy a snowboard.

How important is it to spend more money on a better quality helmet?

In every case, if you rent skis or if you have your own, don’t forget to protect yourself! A helmet is very important. Starting price for a helmet is 60€. They all follow the European standards in terms of protection, the price difference will result in the quality of materials and the weight.

What is the one piece of ski clothing people always forget to wear which is important?

It’s also important to have good clothing. Only one pair of ski socks in the boots, and cotton is prohibited. Sometimes in Tignes we can have -25 degrees, so it’s important to dress properly. And have eye protection! I never go out without my goggles.

What one piece of advice do you always give to first time skiers?

So, to conclude, if you are beginner, take 2 hours of ski lessons as it’s always good to know which position you need to have on skis, and to know the rules on the slopes.

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