Most people get nervous when they go skiing for the first time but they don't have to be. Skiing is a great way to have fun during the winter and get outside. If you are considering learning to ski, remember the tips below and you'll be ready to have a great day.
Layers are the best way to make sure that you stay warm throughout the day. Every new skier should try to wear at least 3 layers consisting of a base layer, a hoodie or similar heavy mid-layer, and a ski jacket over top of it all. Dressing in multiple layers and having extra clothes available will allow you to add or remove layers to adjust to the temperature outside. Nothing is worse than getting too cold halfway through the day and having to return to the ski lodge. To help you prepare and pack appropriately, make sure to look up the temperature at the ski resort before you go.
One thing many beginners forget for their first day on the mountain is to pack ski goggles. If you rent your ski gear through Arrive, you'll have a pair of ski goggles delivered right to your door before you go skiing. If not, ask your friends to see if anybody has an extra pair. Many ski resorts don't offer ski goggles as part of their standard rental so you'll most likely have to bring your own. Ski goggles are essential to cutting down glare off the snow, keeping the wind out of your eyes, and protecting your face from the cold. If it’s a little warmer (around 40 – 50 degrees outside or above), you may be able to get away with wearing sunglasses with UV protection instead of ski goggles.
While not required at some ski resorts, helmets are becoming more and more essential on the mountain. If it's your first time skiing, you should expect to fall at least once or twice. Be sure to wear a helmet to protect yourself throughout the day.
If you're a first-time skier, the one thing that is essential to do is to sign up for a lesson. Having a professional teach you the basics of skiing will go a long way towards making sure you have a great first day. Every ski resort typically offers group lessons, private lessons, and a ski school for children. If you're worried about cost, choose a group lesson. At most ski resorts, the group lessons are deliberately kept small to make sure that everybody has time with the instructor. If possible, try to book your ski lesson first thing in the morning. That way, once you are done, you will have the rest of the day to practice what you learned.
Don't let the excitement of your first time skiing stop you from taking breaks throughout the day. At times, you won't know how tired you are until you get back into the ski lodge and sit down for a moment. Because of the cold temperature, you also may not know how much you've been sweating. It's important to take multiple breaks and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.
Skiing uses a lot of smaller muscles that aren't commonly worked so remember to stretch before and after your first day. Before you hit the slopes, do some dynamic stretches for your legs. Exercises such as high knees, butt kicks, and individually swinging your legs back and forth are great at preparing your legs for a long day. Afterwards, be sure to do some static quad, hamstring, and calf stretches to prevent soreness.
One thing many beginners struggle with is the proper fit of their ski boots. Your ski boots should feel tight around the shins but not feel like they are crushing your legs. To add to that, they shouldn't hurt your feet but they also shouldn't feel like you're wearing a pair of tennis shoes. Many beginners make the mistake of going up a size in ski boots. They try to find a more comfortable fit but ultimately end up with ski boots that are too big for them. This can lead to your feet sliding around in your boots resulting in you having trouble controlling your skis.
After you take a skiing lesson, make your way up the slopes and start practicing. One of the biggest things to remember is your ski stance. As you go down the mountain, your knees should be slightly bent and your arms should be out in front of you bent at a 70 to 80 degree angle. You should be leaning slightly forward and should feel your ski boots pressed against your shins. This position is designed to give you maximum control over your skis so you can safely make your way down the mountain.
As a beginner, you'll certainly fall a couple times throughout the day. The first time you fall, remember to put your skis together across the slope. The tip of your skis should be pointing toward the edge of the slope, not down towards the bottom. Many beginners point their skis down the slope leading to them slipping down the slope as they try to get up. Once you have your skis in front of you and pointing towards the edge of the slope, dig your poles in behind you and slowly push yourself back to a standing position.
One of the best ways to accelerate your learning after taking a ski lesson is to ski with people who are better than you. There's no need to push yourself too far, too fast though. Try to find people who are patient, know that you are a beginner, and will help you learn throughout the day. The last thing you want to do is end up on a slope you are not prepared for.
While skiing may look intimidating, most beginners pick it up quickly and soon realize the obvious: skiing is a lot of fun. If you are prepared for the weather, take a lesson, and remember to take some breaks and stay hydrated, you'll be in for a great first day.