You want to hit the slopes this winter. Good! You should. Skiing is an activity that everyone should try once in their lives (and preferably when they’re old enough to actually remember it). Here’s our list of our Top 6 skiing tips you should keep in mind when you ski for the first time.
Skiing Tip 1 - There’s No Shame in the Kiddie Slopes
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At almost every family-friendly ski area, there is a green slope or two just for skiing beginners. “Green” slopes are beginner slopes, and there’s no shame in getting on it. If you have never skied before, are completely out of of practice, or haven’t skied since you were a kid, hitting the green slopes is the best place for you to learn your skills. You won’t be going as fast, the terrain is generally more flat, and there are a lot less obstacles in the way. This is where you can learn your first and most important skill:
Skiing Tip 2 - Fall More, Fall Often
Why is the first thing you need to falling? Because you’re going to be doing it, a lot. And you know what? That’s totally ok. Unless you’re fairly competent in another sport that requires you to maintain balance on things that aren’t your feet (ice-skating, surfing, roller-skating, etc), you’ll be falling. Even competent ice-skaters who are first time skiers are going to be eating snow. Once again, that’s totally fine. If you’re on the “Green”, AKA beginner slopes, you shouldn’t be going too fast. Falling is also important because if you’re listening to your body and gravity, you’ll learn pretty quickly the stances that will send you tumbling. So how do you not fall?
Skiing Tip 3 - Balance & Bend Your Knees
If you’ve never been skiing before, putting long planks on your feet is going to feel a little awkward. Don’t stand up-right. Standing upright makes you a thin tree in the face of gale force winds. It also makes it hard to maneuver. So bend your knees. If you’ve ever been ice-skating or rollerblading, the principle is the same. Lowering your center of gravity increases the control you have over your movements. You’ve never seen an Olympic skier standing upright, have you? The second thing is to make sure you’re not leaning backwards or forwards. Before you get on your skis, practice this: Stand up straight and bend your knees so you’re going straight up and down. Your legs need to be under your torso.
Skiing Tip 4 - Dress Code At The Door
Just like you wouldn’t wear shorts and a t-shirt to an interview at the bank, you don’t want to wear that kind of stuff on the slopes. No, you don’t need to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but you should have water resistant pants (i.e. snow pants) and a helmet. I know it’s cool not to wear a helmet, but it will help keep your head warm and protect you from things and people on the slopes. Also, when sizing your boots, make sure they fit properly. Like ice-skating, having ill-fitting shoes will make your feet slide around inside your shoes and make it extremely hard for you to control your motions. Therefore, if you want to help prevent #2 and make it faster for you to learn #3, wear properly fitting shoes.
Skiing Tip 5 - Don’t Be Shy, Keep Your Eyes Up
As a beginner, it’s natural to want to look down at your feet. But just like walking and texting on your cell phone, all you will do is increase the chances of you running into something or someone. So keep your eyes up. You’ll be able to see obstacles in front of you and react faster if you’re looking straight ahead. You never learned to drive by looking at your feet; don’t learn to ski by looking at your boots.
Skiing Tip 6 - Take It Easy & Be Patient
Unless you’re a savant, there’s not enough time in the day for you to become an expert. But that’s ok. You didn’t learn to walk in a day, so why rush it? If you take your time, you’ll have more fun enjoying what you’re doing. You’re also less likely to injure yourself or wear yourself out. If you overexert yourself on the first day of a three-day skiing trip, can you imagine how boring your next two days will be? You’ll be sitting inside while your friends and family are hitting the slope. So slow down, talk to your friends, laugh with your falling family members, and be patient. You’ll get it.