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What to Know for Your First Time on the Mountain

What to Know for Your First Time on the Mountain

by Arshpreet Multani | January 08, 2020

Your first time heading to a ski resort can be overwhelming. What are you supposed to wear? Where are you supposed to go? What do you need with you throughout the day? To help you on your first day, read through these tips for your first time on the mountain.

Arrive Early – Especially If You Need to Rent Gear
If possible, try to get to the base of the mountain early. Most ski resorts start running the ski lift around 8:30 but you should try and be at the base of the mountain by 8 am. If you have to rent equipment from the ski resort, you will spend time waiting in line, filling out paperwork, and getting your equipment. It also takes some time to put on your snowboard or ski boots and get them adjusted properly. This can take up a lot of time for beginners and most people forget to account for it. If you have all of your equipment on and are ready to go by 8:45 to 9 am, you'll be well ahead of most people.

Get On the Mountain In the Morning
If you arrive early and get set up quickly, you should also try to start skiing as early as possible. The goal here is to beat the influx of people so you will have some time with the slopes all to yourself. The ideal schedule for your first time on the mountain is to get started early and then take multiple breaks around mid-day. The mountain will likely be the most crowded between 11 am to 2 pm making that the ideal time to take snack and lunch breaks.

Layer Up
For your first time on the mountain, you want to make sure you dress in multiple layers. The most common recommendation is a 3 layer system consisting of your base layer, middle layer, and outer layer. Your base layer is typically a wool shirt and pants and your middle layer is normally a hoodie or lightweight jacket. Your outer layer should be your ski jacket. The benefit of this layered system is that you can easily adjust it to the temperature outside. If you are too hot, simply take off a layer next time you take a break. If you're feeling a little cold, add another layer.

Pack Snacks and Stay Hydrated
One of the most important things that beginners forget to do is to pack snacks and stay hydrated while they're on the mountain. A backpack is great for this but you don't necessarily need to bring one if you don't want to. Little packets of nuts or small snacks should easily fit in the pockets of your ski jacket or ski pants and provide you with a little energy throughout the day.

It is essential to stay hydrated as well. You should either carry a small water bottle with you or plan on stopping 2 to 3 times throughout the day to drink water and eat something. Skiing/snowboarding can be exhausting so make sure you are prepared!

Don't Ski Alone


If it's your first time skiing or snowboarding, always remember to never ski alone. Although it may sound childish, use the buddy system and keep an eye on each other at all times. Having somebody with you will allow both of you to help each other during falls and when navigating around the resort. If you're skiing with somebody more advanced than you, try to also take some tips from their technique as they glide down the slopes.

Take a Lesson
If this is your first time at a ski resort, be sure to sign up for a skiing or snowboarding lesson. Skiing is generally easier to pick up than snowboarding but for both, lessons are essential. Many ski resorts offer a "ski school" designed for both children and adults learning how to ski.

In terms of cost, private lessons are the most expensive but they aren't  essential when it's your first time skiing. Instead, you should choose a small group lesson taught by a skilled instructor. Most lessons last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half and it is time extremely well spent. During the lesson, you'll learn the very basics of how to ski including how to go down the slope, brake, and turn.

Pay Attention to the Signs

As you're making you way around the ski resort, make sure to pay close attention to the signs. As a reminder, green is for beginners, blue is for intermediate, and black is expert terrain. The last thing you want to do is make a wrong turn and end up on a steep slope which you are not prepared to go down.


Stretch Before & After Skiing

Skiing is a taxing sport on your legs making stretching one of the most important activities you should do both before and after your day on the slopes. Before you put on your gear, do a couple of active stretches to make sure your legs are warmed up. After a long day of skiing, you will want to perform some static stretches to stretch out your quads, hamstrings, and calves. If you have a foam roller, you can use that to help massage your muscles. This will help prevent soreness the next day and allow you to keep skiing for multiple days.

Going to a ski resort for the first time can be an intimidating experience but it doesn't have to be. Try to make sure there are other beginners in your group so you will have companions accompanying you throughout the day. Skiing can be one of the most fun winter activities to undertake and the best way to fall in love with it is to have a great first day. Make sure you're prepared, dressed warmly, and plan to take a lesson or two, and you'll be sure to have a good time.

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