If you read my Sugar Mountain recap, then you got a taste of what my first time skiing was like. The next time I ski, I will still very much be a beginner, but now that I have one trip under my belt, I definitely know what I will (and will not) do as well as what I would have done differently. Here are a few tips for beginners from a beginner.
Stay near the slopes. If at all possible, stay near the slopes! There are often many ski-in/ski-out options, whether it be walk-to-slopes or slope-side. Or choose a location that is only a quick drive! Our rental in Sugar Mountain was walk-to-slope, but as I was a beginner, we chose to drive over to the base of the ski resort instead of me trying to ski down a blue right away. It was nice to have both options.
Try out a friend's gear. If you have a friend who is willing to let you try her or his gear, take them up on it! One of my best friends graciously lent me all of her ski gear, which gave me a great idea of what I want to purchase for myself before we go skiing again.
Dress in layers. I am quite the cold-natured individual, so when the high was only 5 degrees for our second ski day, I was a little concerned. But I prepared in advance and dressed in layers, and once I got the hang of skiing a little bit, I actually worked up a sweat! Dressing in layers will allow you to remove a piece or two just in case you get too warm but won't leave you so cold that you wish you were back in your cozy cabin.
So what are the layers? I wore a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer.
- On top: a long-sleeve shirt, a tight-fit athletic pullover in a quick-dry material (I wore this and it was perfect), and a waterproof ski coat.
- On bottom: fleece leggings, workout leggings in a quick-dry, and waterproof ski pants.
- On feet: One pair of very thick wool socks - I chose a pair made for skiing but there are a lot of great sock options out there.
- On head, neck, and face: an ear cover, a toboggan, googles, and a neck gaiter.
- Oh the gloves - don't forget the gloves. Consider wearing a pair of thin gloves under your ski gloves so when you take the outer pair off your hands don't freeze (I wish I had done this!).
Rent your ski equipment early. This will save you time when you're ready to hit the slopes! Whether you rent from a ski equipment store or from the ski venue itself, try renting the night before you plan to ski or make sure you account for plenty of time the day of should you want to go that route. You won't cut into your ski time and you and your party will be a lot less stressed!
Lip balm and hand warmers are your friends. I'm a huge fan of Rosebud Lip Salve, so I layered that on before we headed out, but an actual chapstick as opposed to a tin is easier to maneuver when you're on the slopes (though Rosebud comes in a tube as well!). And I definitely kept hand warmers in my gloves more often than not.
Take the lesson. I did not heed my own advice, but I definitely wish that I had. I went down the bunny slopes only twice before I headed over to the green - that was my first mistake. Though a green slope is designated for beginners, you should still work up your confidence and get the hang of being on skis before trying to master getting off the ski lift and going down a hill.
Give yourself time. I made the mistake of thinking that just because I could go down the bunny slope without falling that I was all ready to hop on a lift. Similar to the above, just give yourself time to get oriented. And if you choose to forego the lesson, this is extra important!
Pizza! If I heard this once, I heard this a million times. The "pizza," turning your skis into each other, will help you stop when going downhill. My problem? I pizza'd the whole time...
Have fun! Don't take yourself too seriously. You're probably going to fall and you're probably going to get frustrated. But skiing can and will be fun! Enjoy the learning experience.
Any tips you want to share?