10 things all beginners should know about skiing

My first time on the slopes really was my first time on the slopes. They (the ski experts of the world) recommend you give an indoor slope a few whirls before heading out to resort just to see if you even like it/your knees can hack it. I decided not to heed their advice and went straight to the slopes, straight to the beautiful slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

Loaded up with all the necessary gear as recommended by my friends, family and delightful colleagues, I was the true epitome of that well loved saying... all the gear and (absolutely) no idea.

Learning-to-ski-sunshine-village

With that in mind, I’d like to assist the other beginner skiers of the world! Here is my top 10 list of things to know before you go.

1) Make sure your trousers are waterproof (this one seems super obvious but I did meet a girl who’d opted for price over quality...), sit high on your waist and are fairly well cushioned – you’re going to be falling over a lot and snow has a habit of getting into even the most covered up of places.

2) Putting on ski boots for the first time is really weird. They’re unnaturally tight and for them to fit correctly when you’re in the ski squat position, your toes need to touch the end when standing normally. Note: you WILL feel like a fool when you try to walk in them!

3) A helmet is not only a hugely fashionable piece of ski attire, it is essential - whatever your ability and despite what anyone says. Falling over at speed and hitting your head in the process is a lot less damaging with one.

4) When they hand you ski poles in the rental shop, turn them upside down and hold them under the basket bit – if they feel too low, they’re too short – get longer ones! I spent a whole morning squatting down extra low just to use them until my instructor pointed out I should probably change them!

5) Your friends are not ski instructors – don’t listen to them when they say they can teach you how to ski (unless they are actually ski instructors). Book a lesson and learn the basics – you’ll thank yourself in the long run and you’ll also still be talking to your friends at the end of the trip.

6) Don’t let falling over knock your confidence. Once you get the knack of it, it oftentimes provides a well needed excuse for a sit down to regroup and channel your inner Olympic skier.

7) EVERYONE has trouble getting off a ski lift at first. Put your poles in one hand, lift the bar up, shift yourself forward, put your skis down, lean forward, push yourself up with your other hand and hope that your “I learnt to ski before I could walk” ski pals don’t grab you on their way down!

8) No one ever tells the truth about how steep a run is. If, like me, your ski experience is limited to the beginner slopes, standing at the top of and looking down a run can be a rather daunting experience, no matter how green/easy/flat you’ve been assured it is. The key is to stay calm (I forgot this part), remember what you learnt in ski school (and this part) and take it at your own pace – you will make it down! (Eventually)

9) There are some ski lifts you can come back down on! If you’re worried you might have a moment of paralysing fear when you reach the top, check before you get on it. It also means you can avoid a lonely lunch whilst all your friends eat, drink and get merry in a restaurant with amazing views at the top of a mountain of black runs.

Learning-to-ski-downloading-ski-lift

10) Perseverance is key! Your legs will hurt after half an hour, and after a day of falling over and realising how difficult it is to stand back up again, all you’ll want to do is take your skis off and slide down the slope straight into the nearest bar. That said, trust me - it gets easier... and once you’ve got the hang of the basics, you actually start enjoying yourself!

So there you have it – a not-so-definitive guide for the first time skier! I hope it’s been of some use to you but if you have any questions or anything to add, we’d love to hear it - tweet us @flexiski!

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