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First timer on short rental skis and big boots.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm 47 and tried the sport for the first time today. I am 5'8" and 210lbs, fit and muscular build and athletic. Not a couch potato build at all. The rental shop at the resort set me up with rossignol 140 length skis and big boots. At first this morning at 18 degrees I had some success with the wedge, though limited, but later at 40 degrees I wouldn't slow down a bit. Then I noticed the instructor ahead of me tracking straight and true at an angle across the slope while I was following him with parallel skis and my skis were slipping sideways downhill as I moved straight ahead. On groomed surface I felt like I had nearly no control turning etc. I managed on the bunny slope to parallel ski and make turns without the wedge and stop by cutting sideways and got fairly comfortable with it, but I noticed the skis skidding more and more in the turns as the day progressed and the sensation that the back of the skis were slipping downhill from my direction of travel. My question is considering my newbie status, were my skis too small for my weight?

post #2 of 21

Welcome to EpicSki, and welcome to skiing!

 

I work at a ski shop at a resort and see this all the time.  First time skier walks into the shop in rental boots and says, "I love the sport and I want to buy equipment" 

 

95% of the time the skier is in boots too big, usually a minimum of 2 sizes too big.  

I'm going to bet that your feet were moving around inside the boots which weren't giving you the control you were hoping for.

 

 

First, if you like skiing and want to continue to ski, go to a boot fitter and get boots that fit your feet. 

 

Demo or rent skis with your new boots and you'll quickly grow in the sport and your skis will be longer than 140cm before you know it. 

post #3 of 21

To directly reply to your question, vintageguy, yes, your skis were too short. I have friends who are in the low range of 5', way much less than you do and ski 140s or sometimes even more. They're not much more proficient than you are on skis, so it's not an ability difference, either. For reference, I'm 5' 11", 155 lbs and I ski 170 in my frontside skis and I definitely could have gone longer and still been fine.

 

But, I agree wholeheartedly with Trek. Your boots were probably the bigger issue here. While the skis were too small, they didn't make you slide down the slope sideways when following that instructor or make you feel out of control in general. Most likely, a combination of newness to the sport and, as a result, a lack of aplomb (definitely not an insult, it was your first time skiing - I'm in my first season, though roughly 25 days, I don't have technique either :D) and boots in which your feet could wiggle and slide and curl and move a lot before the boot moved with them. So, yes, go get fit by a reputable bootfitter and really spend time finding boots that fit well, it changes so much.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. Of course I had hoped to "conquer the mountain in a day" but knew it wasn't going to happen, especially after I moved off the first time on skis, ha ha. But I had read about ski sizing and thought that with my height and weight on the rental form that they would use that to pick my skis so I was surprised when everyone from skinny 13 yr olds to 6ft 250lb plus people all got the same skis. I did not know that the boots had to fit so tightly either. I've went to forums in the past that were a waste of time and the folks not very nice, it's refreshing to see a forum like this. Thanks again.

post #5 of 21

That's the right attitude to have - wanting to conquer the mountain! Join the club here, it sounds like you fit in well.

 

Also important to note here is that having skis that short isn't going to be disastrous or have a huge effect on your skiing, especially on the first day. Longer skis are more stable (look at the length of skis used in downhill or super g olympic races, where the skiers are going at ridicuous speeds), but harder to initiate for turns. So, having shorter skis may actually have been a benefit for you in learning to start making parallel turns! However, I would be more than a bit confused by a rental place giving out the exact same skis to everyone who comes in, but maybe they have some secret reason for doing it.

 

I come from a rock climbing background and I remember my first time trying on ski boots and remarking to the fitter that wow these feel so much better than my climbing shoes and that I could move around and felt free. Immediately he took them off and downsized - apparently I picked two sports where performance footwear is a necessity.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

I'm 47 and tried the sport for the first time today. I am 5'8" and 210lbs, fit and muscular build and athletic. Not a couch potato build at all. The rental shop at the resort set me up with rossignol 140 length skis and big boots. At first this morning at 18 degrees I had some success with the wedge, though limited, but later at 40 degrees I wouldn't slow down a bit. Then I noticed the instructor ahead of me tracking straight and true at an angle across the slope while I was following him with parallel skis and my skis were slipping sideways downhill as I moved straight ahead. On groomed surface I felt like I had nearly no control turning etc. I managed on the bunny slope to parallel ski and make turns without the wedge and stop by cutting sideways and got fairly comfortable with it, but I noticed the skis skidding more and more in the turns as the day progressed and the sensation that the back of the skis were slipping downhill from my direction of travel. My question is considering my newbie status, were my skis too small for my weight?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

Thanks for the replies. Of course I had hoped to "conquer the mountain in a day" but knew it wasn't going to happen, especially after I moved off the first time on skis, ha ha. But I had read about ski sizing and thought that with my height and weight on the rental form that they would use that to pick my skis so I was surprised when everyone from skinny 13 yr olds to 6ft 250lb plus people all got the same skis. I did not know that the boots had to fit so tightly either. I've went to forums in the past that were a waste of time and the folks not very nice, it's refreshing to see a forum like this. Thanks again.

Welcome to EpicSki!  Thanks for asking the question in the Beginner Zone.  I'm sure there are many others who wonder the same thing.

 

Where are you skiing?  That can make a difference in terms of what the mountain's rental shop stocks in terms of rental skis.  Even at the nearby rental shop off mountain for my small home mountain in northern Virginia, the longest skis they have in the rental pool is 146cm.

 

Does your place have a beginner package?  At Massanutten, the beginner and adv. beginner packages that include lift ticket, rentals, and lesson are priced such that the lessons are essentially free.  Midweek or first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon can be a great time to have only a few people in those group lessons.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm about an hour from Winterplace, Ghent WV and they have a "learn to ski package" that is an 1 1/2 hr group lesson and all day lift ticket. During the week it is about the same price as just equipment rental. I'm going back and will approach it a bit differently this time armed with advice from this site. I was pleasantly surprised not to find myself very sore from my first outing. I'm active and workout but everything has its own unique muscle movements. I also won't be giving into my son, also a first timer and 13, who started with the "let's get on the lift and try some steeper trails" about a 1/2 hr after our maiden group lesson. I held him off for about an hour stating we should really be very comfortable in the basics before advancing and I was actually doing better than him but gave in and we went up the mountain. I had fallen the first time I moved and then not again until we got out on the mountain. But our first trip down didn't go well. We'd get going well then one or the other would wreck, basically we took turns wrecking all the way down. I was comfortable in wide areas and turning well, on parallel skis, but I got tight and nervous when the trail narrowed down, then the speed started becoming an issue. I knew I needed to turn to bleed it off but instead wanted to wedge and that didn't go well. Hence the question about my ski size. I got too far outside my comfort zone. My head said don't fret the speed, just turn. My body was going, LOOK OUT! YOU'RE GONNA GO OVER THE BANK! STOP! WEDGE WEDGE WEDGE! I'm going back and take the build muscle memory approach, where the moves come naturally and not forced. Enough went well though to keep both myself and my son wanting more.

post #8 of 21
WelcomeYou're absolutely correct: the skis are too short, but much, much more importantly, the boots are too big.

If you can, rent from a ski retailer in town when the store isn't busy. They sell skis and boots, and if they know you're enthusiastic they'll be nicer because they want you to come back and buy gear from them. I mostly rented from REI because it was cheap at the member rate, but in retrospect I'd have done better, and improved faster, if I'd gone down the road and paid $10 more a day at Christie's, a regional retailer with good staff. Also, if you're reasonably personable and get to know the rental people, you might find that they'll try to find the most recently-tuned and waxed ski and least battered boot for you.

I suggest that you know the length of your foot in centimeters before you go,** and then get the guy behind the counter to give you three or four likely boots to try on. You're looking for a "firm handshake" all around your foot. You need the boot to be snug enough that they'll transmit your movements to your skis. If the shop has a performance package, all the better, because it's likely those boots have been used less. Read this very good article called Which boot will work for me? for other ideas on picking out the best of even the worst lot.

For maximum fun, I strongly suggest taking a regular adult beginner's lesson as soon as possible. You'll get an introduction to the gear and the sport, and you'll learn how to control your speed and stop, which are critical to being able to enjoy the "go go go!!" part of skiing. As marznc said, sign up for a series of lessons if they have such a thing. Group lessons are usually a few hours, so you'll get to ski with other people and then go do your thing.

Quick note about the skis: I'm 5'3" and let's just say not thin, and the shortest ski anyone put me on was 150cm, and now I ski in the mid-160s for skis without a lot of rocker. The right ski length is very personal, but at your height and weight you'll ultimately need something longer for stability. Maybe you could stay in the 140s-ish for your first lesson, and then see whether you feel comfortable on them.

Welcome to your world--our crazy, silly, wonderful world!

** I say this because most of our local shops marked rental boots in centimeters. I'd think that if your rental shop uses mondo sizing (e.g. 25, 25.5, etc.) they could convert the centimeters into sizes.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post

I'm about an hour from Winterplace, Ghent WV and they have a "learn to ski package" that is an 1 1/2 hr group lesson and all day lift ticket. During the week it is about the same price as just equipment rental. I'm going back and will approach it a bit differently this time armed with advice from this site. I was pleasantly surprised not to find myself very sore from my first outing. I'm active and workout but everything has its own unique muscle movements. I also won't be giving into my son, also a first timer and 13, who started with the "let's get on the lift and try some steeper trails" about a 1/2 hr after our maiden group lesson. I held him off for about an hour stating we should really be very comfortable in the basics before advancing and I was actually doing better than him but gave in and we went up the mountain. I had fallen the first time I moved and then not again until we got out on the mountain. But our first trip down didn't go well. We'd get going well then one or the other would wreck, basically we took turns wrecking all the way down. I was comfortable in wide areas and turning well, on parallel skis, but I got tight and nervous when the trail narrowed down, then the speed started becoming an issue. I knew I needed to turn to bleed it off but instead wanted to wedge and that didn't go well. Hence the question about my ski size. I got too far outside my comfort zone. My head said don't fret the speed, just turn. My body was going, LOOK OUT! YOU'RE GONNA GO OVER THE BANK! STOP! WEDGE WEDGE WEDGE! I'm going back and take the build muscle memory approach, where the moves come naturally and not forced. Enough went well though to keep both myself and my son wanting more.
biggrin.gif

You've got the right idea--stay on terrain where you can ski in control. There will be plenty of time to push your limits in the near future. Trust me, you'll be much happier if your first season doesn't end with physical damage either to you or to a little kid you can't avoid!! You'll also feel a lot more confident once you've learned a few moves--again, to avoid drilling in the evil Death Wedge or other bad habits. Ask about how to deal with narrow trails in your next lesson; I'm sure you won't be the only person who's wondering about it!

ETA: BTW, it's fun to read about your experience, because it reminds me of how exciting it was to do exactly what you're doing--coming in as a rank beginner, happily getting geared up, praying not to fall when exiting the lift, and coming down the hill, crash after crash after crash, happy as a pig in ****. You know, I don't think I get nearly as much exercise while skiing now that I don't fall down much. rolleyes.gif
post #10 of 21

Proper ski length is a combination of skier weight and ability, but at the demo centre where i work for ease and speed we give first year skiers skis that are roughly chin height, intermediates get chin to eye brown lengths, and advanced skiers get top of the head or longer but really they should know what length that they want.

 

My suggestion for the OP is to rent something in the 150 to 160cm range next time out.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all the help and encouragement. I stayed up until 1:00am last night reading other threads and got so much from them. It helps to see others in the same boat and especially those that have been there and are now where I hope to get. Reading and day dreaming about those ski trips are great too. Best forum and nicest folks around.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

I'm about an hour from Winterplace, Ghent WV and they have a "learn to ski package" that is an 1 1/2 hr group lesson and all day lift ticket. During the week it is about the same price as just equipment rental. I'm going back and will approach it a bit differently this time armed with advice from this site. I was pleasantly surprised not to find myself very sore from my first outing. I'm active and workout but everything has its own unique muscle movements. I also won't be giving into my son, also a first timer and 13, who started with the "let's get on the lift and try some steeper trails" about a 1/2 hr after our maiden group lesson. I held him off for about an hour stating we should really be very comfortable in the basics before advancing and I was actually doing better than him but gave in and we went up the mountain. I had fallen the first time I moved and then not again until we got out on the mountain. But our first trip down didn't go well. We'd get going well then one or the other would wreck, basically we took turns wrecking all the way down. I was comfortable in wide areas and turning well, on parallel skis, but I got tight and nervous when the trail narrowed down, then the speed started becoming an issue. I knew I needed to turn to bleed it off but instead wanted to wedge and that didn't go well. Hence the question about my ski size. I got too far outside my comfort zone. My head said don't fret the speed, just turn. My body was going, LOOK OUT! YOU'RE GONNA GO OVER THE BANK! STOP! WEDGE WEDGE WEDGE! I'm going back and take the build muscle memory approach, where the moves come naturally and not forced. Enough went well though to keep both myself and my son wanting more.

Hmm, not that many options for ski equipment around Winterplace.  You can stop in and see what the Ski Barn has to offer as an alternative to renting from Winterplace.  As you've probably noticed, on weekends there are a lot of groups at Winterplace.  Best to get into the earliest lesson possible.  Before the groups are done getting their rentals.

 

Did you find the long blue called Wood's Run?  When I was there with my daughter and her friend several years ago, the girls enjoyed that a lot.  Especially after dark under the lights.  The friend was not that good a skier but liked that trail.  Snowbowl is also a good blue when you are ready.  Look At Me, after going down Ridge Runner can be a fun combination.

 

I know some young men (of all ages) think that falling a lot is a sign that they are learning fast.  But with lessons, it's actually possible to learn enough fairly quickly to avoid falling more than once per run. ;)

 

Please take a look at these tips for avoiding knee injuries.  Might as well learn how to fall in a safer way.

http://www.vermontskisafety.com/kneefriendly.php

post #13 of 21

Rule for boot sizing--

 

Get the smallest size boots you can wear without discomfort.  It is OK (and probably good) if your toes lightly touch the ends.

 

Buckle the tightest you can without discomfort.

 

One pair of medium thickness socks (thinner is better).  Thick socks are spongy and let the foot move around.

 

No long underwear or anything else inside the boot except those socks.

 

 

Ski size at this point, beginner flex skis--maybe chin height to lip height for a guy your weight.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

My son had a snow day so we returned for a second try at skiing. This time snow conditions were apparently better, for us anyhow, slower. Last time it was hard packed like rock, and fast. We rented longer skis and got proper fitting boots. Day and night difference. We had an enjoyable day and after some practice on the bunny slope spent the rest of the day trying out green trails. Great day. Without time spent studying skiing and reading comments by folks who are experienced at the sport, we likely would have gone once and quit and never gave a thought to what different conditions and gear could change. Thanks all for your help, advice and encouragement.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

My son had a snow day so we returned for a second try at skiing. This time snow conditions were apparently better, for us anyhow, slower. Last time it was hard packed like rock, and fast. We rented longer skis and got proper fitting boots. Day and night difference. We had an enjoyable day and after some practice on the bunny slope spent the rest of the day trying out green trails. Great day. Without time spent studying skiing and reading comments by folks who are experienced at the sport, we likely would have gone once and quit and never gave a thought to what different conditions and gear could change. Thanks all for your help, advice and encouragement.

 

The beauty of skiing is that unlike a lot of other sports, it can be thoroughly enjoyable at any ability level. Keep at it and the enjoyment will increase.

post #16 of 21

You know  you're hooked when you ski in your dreams. 

 

Getting back out and using your prior experience to improve is a big step.  Your growth in skill and enjoyment should build quickly with that attitude.  Have fun, and keep at it.  Glad to see you're sharing the journey with your son. Thumbs Up

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

My son had a snow day so we returned for a second try at skiing. This time snow conditions were apparently better, for us anyhow, slower. Last time it was hard packed like rock, and fast. We rented longer skis and got proper fitting boots. Day and night difference. We had an enjoyable day and after some practice on the bunny slope spent the rest of the day trying out green trails. Great day. Without time spent studying skiing and reading comments by folks who are experienced at the sport, we likely would have gone once and quit and never gave a thought to what different conditions and gear could change. Thanks all for your help, advice and encouragement.

Thanks for the update!  Given the cool weather, Winterplace the next couple weekends could be fun.  Relatively few people still think about skiing in March in the southeast.  One of the most fun ski days I had with my daughter was when the temps were in the 60's.  We brought along a friend.  The girls were about 9 I think.  We skied in the morning, took a break for a few hours when it got too warm, then had a great time under the lights.  Spring skiing is a great time to learn.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Looks like the season is about over. We hit Winterplace again and nearly had it to ourselves, nice. I followed the advice of the folks here and took advantage of season closing sales and got proper fitting boots and was tickled with the results. Today we felt like skiers for the first time and were skiing down the mountain with nice turns at good speed. We rented at a local ski shop and tried out better skis along with good upgraded boots for my son, still renting for him since his feet are still growing. We liked the difference and are already making trip plans for next winter to try out some different places nearby. I got a chuckle out of Cirquerider's comment, I was skiing in my dreams all night a few nights ago and woke up with the covers kicked in the floor and wore out!

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

Looks like the season is about over. We hit Winterplace again and nearly had it to ourselves, nice. I followed the advice of the folks here and took advantage of season closing sales and got proper fitting boots and was tickled with the results. Today we felt like skiers for the first time and were skiing down the mountain with nice turns at good speed. We rented at a local ski shop and tried out better skis along with good upgraded boots for my son, still renting for him since his feet are still growing. We liked the difference and are already making trip plans for next winter to try out some different places nearby. I got a chuckle out of Cirquerider's comment, I was skiing in my dreams all night a few nights ago and woke up with the covers kicked in the floor and wore out!

Sounds like a fun day!  Looks like Winterplace will be open until March 23.  Another day? :)

 

Snowshoe will probably be open until the end of March.  Heard that Wintergreen in VA moved their pond skim to a week later because it might snow there this Sunday.  Definitely a good season for the southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

Looks like the season is about over. We hit Winterplace again and nearly had it to ourselves, nice. I followed the advice of the folks here and took advantage of season closing sales and got proper fitting boots and was tickled with the results. Today we felt like skiers for the first time and were skiing down the mountain with nice turns at good speed. We rented at a local ski shop and tried out better skis along with good upgraded boots for my son, still renting for him since his feet are still growing. We liked the difference and are already making trip plans for next winter to try out some different places nearby. I got a chuckle out of Cirquerider's comment, I was skiing in my dreams all night a few nights ago and woke up with the covers kicked in the floor and wore out!

 

Yup, you are now officially a skier. Next comes daydream/planning a ski trip to Quebec, Vermont, or the West.

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageguy View Post
 

Looks like the season is about over. We hit Winterplace again and nearly had it to ourselves, nice. I followed the advice of the folks here and took advantage of season closing sales and got proper fitting boots and was tickled with the results. Today we felt like skiers for the first time and were skiing down the mountain with nice turns at good speed. We rented at a local ski shop and tried out better skis along with good upgraded boots for my son, still renting for him since his feet are still growing. We liked the difference and are already making trip plans for next winter to try out some different places nearby. I got a chuckle out of Cirquerider's comment, I was skiing in my dreams all night a few nights ago and woke up with the covers kicked in the floor and wore out!

 

Yup, you are now officially a skier. Next comes daydream/planning a ski trip to Quebec, Vermont, or the West.

Maybe first driving to the Mid-Atlantic Gathering up at Blue Knob, PA or Timberline, WV.  Usually the last weekend of Feb.  @crgildart 's son would probably love to show a teen how it's done.  :) 

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