Skiing is an incredible amount of fun, but of course it is not for everybody. However, many of the people who try it once and never do it again may not have given it a fair chance. Below are a few tips to make your first efforts at skiing more enjoyable.
1. Expect to Fall
Much of the frustration with being a beginning skier is you may walk in with unreasonable expectations. Just about every one who skies goes through a difficult first day or two. Here are some things to expect on your first outings:
- You’re going to fall awkwardly a lot.
- It is difficult to get up with these long skinny things on your feet. You might even feel embarrassed.
- There will be little kids skiing happily around you and you’ll feel like an idiot.
- You’ll vacillate between being bored and scared to death. Going too slow and too fast are common for the beginning skier.
The great news is, this difficult period does not last long. After your first outing or two, you will start to become more comfortable on your skies. And you will actually find some times during those first experiences when you are having a blast. When you aren’t falling down!
2. Wear Good Gear
One of the biggest complaints of the beginning skier is not having good-fitting gear. This often revolves around the boots. Maybe your feet are cold, or so, or there is not enough circulation. This is why it is important for you to get boots that fit (you will most likely be renting equipment at this point).
Your boots should make it possible for you to still wiggle your toes. If you can’t, your feet are going to get cold. However, your ski boots should not let you turn your foot to the side inside the boot. If you can turn your foot, you’ll never be able to keep your skies under control.
Make sure that your socks are not too thick, and do not wear multiple pairs of socks. The key to staying warm is being able to move your feet a bit and keep the circulation going.
Next, make sure you are wearing ski pants. Please do not wear sweatpants or jeans. The reason is, you’re going to fall, remember? And you will soon be soaked to the bone and cold if you have on jeans. Ski pants are waterproof and are padded. So, when you fall, you won’t get wet, and you’ll have a bit of cushion.
It is also important to have on a waterproof coat of some kind. You need to make sure that you are wearing the proper amount of layers depending on the temperature. You should check with your skiing friends to see how much clothing they are wearing that day. You’ll be moving about a lot and you will get hot if you have on too many layers.
3. Pick Your Skiing Partner Carefully
This is very important for your beginners’ skiing adventure. You need to find a friend who does not mind losing a day of skiing time to help you. This may be harder than you think. You need to find someone with a good deal of patience.
Another option is to go by yourself and take a beginner’s skiing lesson by yourself or with other beginners. Another option is to go with another beginner skier and take a lesson together.
4. Beginner’s Techniques
When you fall, (not if, but when!), do your best to land UPHILL. And see if you can land on your rear. See if you can make your fall sort of like sliding into 2nd base – feet first. You will find it easier to get up if you follow these guidelines. The steeper the hill, the easier it is to get on your feet.
Getting up is hard because your boots prevent your ankles from moving, so it’s harder to get your legs beneath you.
Here’s what you do:
- Position your feet down hill.
- Tuck them in as close to your rear as you can.
- Push yourself from a squatting position, and use your poles if necessary.
To stop, beginners are usually told to ‘snowplow.’ This is, point your skis inward towards one another. When you do this, it is easy to get your skis tangled and go down.
What you need to do is pull together you knees, while pushing your feet apart. Learning how to snowplow is very important to keep your speed under control. See the picture below.
You will find after the first 4-5 hours that you ski, it will become easier and more natural. Good luck!