There is a reason why skiing is dubbed the “royal sport.” It requires a lot of technical skills and strength coupled with fitting gear. It would help if you were fit, agile, and patient to master the movement of being on two long planks of wood whizzing through snowy slopes.
However, if you are a beginner and will be going skiing for the first time, worry not because I have compiled a list of all the tips and tricks you need to learn before hitting the slopes.
What To Bring Skiing
Here are a few tips for what to bring with you on your first day of skiing:
Clothing: Base layer top and bottom (wicking fabric)
The most important thing is to dress in layers. A good rule of thumb is to have three layers: a base layer, an insulating layer, and a shell layer.
- The base layer is the first layer that goes directly against your skin. This layer should be made of synthetic material or merino wool to wick the sweat away from your skin. Cotton is not suitable because it does not draw moisture away from the skin and can make you feel cold. It is recommended that you wear a base layer from your head to your toes (socks and underwear included).
- Your insulating layer can be fleece or down, wool, or polyester. The purpose of this layer is to trap warm air and keep it close to your body. If you are skiing in cold weather conditions, you will want something hot such as down or wool. When skiing in warmer weather conditions, fleece or polyester will do fine.
- The shell layer should be waterproof and windproof so that you can stay protected from the elements while skiing. Your shell should feature zippers on the underarms to allow extra ventilation and pockets to keep your gear easily accessible.
Ski socks (wool or synthetic, mid-calf height)
- Skiing can be cold, especially if there’s any wind chill. Most beginners tend to get more freezing hands and feet than experienced skiers because they’re using muscles that aren’t used to working that hard — and you’ll also find it harder to regulate your body temperature when you’re a beginner because your body isn’t as efficient at burning fuel yet.
Ski gloves or mittens
- Choose gloves if you want more agility at the expense of a little bit of warmth. Mittens are warmer but more complex to pick things up with. Try both on in the shop and see which feels best for you.
Helmet (optional but encouraged)
Goggles or sunglasses with retention strap (optional but encouraged)
Sunscreen and Chapstick
- The sun reflects off the snow, so make sure to use sunscreen even if it is cloudy outside. The wind can also dry out your lips, so bring chapstick!
Tips and Tricks on How to Ski
Take An Introductory Lesson
Taking a group or individual ski lesson is a great way to learn the basics of skiing in a supportive, hands-on way. Ski instructors are trained to teach absolute beginners and will help you understand the motions and techniques needed to become a more seasoned skier.
Forget The Poles (For Now)
- You may have seen photos of skiers using ski poles to help them maintain balance on the slopes. However, for your first few times out on the slopes, you probably won’t need sticks (and your instructor(s) will probably tell you to leave them behind).
Bend Your Knees
- As you ski down the slopes, keep your knees bent and flexible so that you can navigate turns with more fluidity and ease. The more you allow your knees to bend and move freely, the easier it will be to navigate through the snow (and the less likely you will go out of control or fall!).
Embrace The “Pizza” Formation
You will probably learn the “pizza” formation of aligning your skis when you take your lessons. Because this is the best way to control your speed and movements, you should strive to master it.
- The pizza formation, in which the skis are parallel with the tips touching and the tails spread apart, is one of how beginner and intermediate skiers control their speed. Skiers on TV and out on the slopes will have their skis parallel, but when you’re first starting, you’ll want to keep your toes slightly pointed inward to make sure you aren’t going too fast or skiing out of control.
Look Up, Not Down
- It can be easy to lose your balance during skiing or run into another skier by looking down at your feet. To avoid this predicament, keep your eyes on the skier ahead of you and centered on the direction in which you are going. This will help you maintain your balance and prevent accidents.
Start On Smooth, Easy Slopes
- As a beginner, one of the best ways to improve your skiing skills is to visit an easy-trail area (such as green trails and training sites) for your first several runs. You can practice such techniques as turning and stopping—skills you will use on all tracks. When you become more skilled, you will be able to tackle more complex trials.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Falling
- Spoiler: you’re going to fall when you’re learning how to ski. Though you might hit the ground on your side, faceplant, or get your legs tangled up in all kinds of ways, what’s most important to remember—aside from remaining confident as you continue to practice your skills—is that everyone falls when they start skiing. So, don’t fear your inevitable tumble; instead, embrace it because it happens to everyone.
Skiing is one of the best winter sports for both children and adults. There is something about skiing that brings joy to people of all ages. You can ski at any age with the right skill, courage, and strength. No matter where you live, plenty of ski resorts have a lot to offer. Learning how to ski (even if you have never skied before) can be challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!
We hope our article was helpful and will help you in your new endeavor to ski; we’ve just scratched the surface. There’s so much more to skiing than what we mentioned; we encourage you to continue your learning with the help of other resources or by taking a lesson (it’s the best way to learn). Happy Skiing!