or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › How To Have Fun, and Not Look Silly Your First Day On Skis
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How To Have Fun, and Not Look Silly Your First Day On Skis

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
How To Have Fun, and Not Look Silly Your First Day On Skis
By Todd Murchison -- (c) copyrighted article

If you are going to go skiing for your first time, this article is going to make your life easier. Here are some practical tips about everything from driving to the mountain to how we can tell you are a beginner as soon as we see you get out of your car.

The idea here is to have fun: First thing, relax. Don't spend the night before you go skiing feeling apprehensive. Your friends are having lots of fun telling you horror stories about how dangerous skiing is. They are enjoying watching you squirm. The truth is that any time you get into your car you are in far more danger than when you ski. In fact getting on a bicycle is more dangerous. This does not mean you can't get hurt, skiing is a sport and people can get hurt doing any sport. But if you use common sense and don't exceed your limitations, the odds are on your side.

Getting to the mountain alive: If the roads are snowpacked, just getting to the mountain can be exciting. But if you drive slowly and have good tires or chains, you'll be just fine. Make sure you have good wipers and a full wiper tank the anti-freeze type of wiper fluid, its no fun driving blind. You might see people passing you. Don't exceed what feels comfortable for you. Driving on snow and ice is a skill just like skiing, some of those people passing you have had more practice. Some of the other people passing you are just idiots. Don't try and keep up with either the experts or the fools, take your time.

Staying comfortable: Your first time skiing can be hard work, even though it might be snowing people often get too hot. If you overheat you will start to sweat, once you are sweaty you will start to freeze. Dressing in layers allows you to regulate your temperature by adding or removing clothing as needed. Make sure the outer layer is waterproof. Don't wear jeans, this is a common mistake and one you will regret. Don't be fooled into thinking that waterproofing treatments will work on jeans, they don't. Besides, jeans on the slopes look silly to the rest of us.

Get goggles, sunglasses will not work at all if it starts snowing. Snow will fly right around the edges of them and they ice up. Skiing without being able to see well is miserable. Bring waterproof gloves, work type gloves will not keep your hands dry and warm. Insulation is created by airspace, gloves that are too tight can be almost useless. Don't freeze for beauty. This seems to be an affliction that gets teenagers the worst. They will refuse to wear a hat, want to wear tight pants with no long underwear and etc,. Remember that you will look better standing there bundled up than standing there shivering.

Get good gear: Rent gear from a ski shop, there are rental shops in town and up on the ski hill. The people in the shop will ask you questions about your weight, age, height and ability. Tell the truth, the safe setting of your equipment depends on these answers. If you are going to borrow equipment, don't just borrow a friends equipment and figure it will be OK. If they are not a serious and knowledgeable skier, you might end up on dangerous equipment. If their is any rust or dust on the skis, who knows what shape the mechanisms inside the bindings are in. If you trust your bones and cartilage to equipment that has not been properly cared for, be prepared to sacrifice those bones and cartilage. When in doubt get the equipment checked out by a shop. In fact get it checked out even when not in doubt! Equipment degrades some just by sitting for a year, gear that has been sitting around for several years can be deathtraps. Also don't be tempted by race equipment, it won't make you faster or better - it will hold you back at first, and possibly make you miserable. After you are a racer you can worry about race equipment!

Take Lessons: So you have friends who say they can teach you how to ski. "No problem" they say, "you don't need to pay for a lesson". Be aware that you will pay alright, you'll pay in frustration and fear. The exception would be a friend who was a professional ski coach or instructor. Otherwise you're going to quickly find out that knowing how to ski and knowing how to teach it can be two different skills! The first couple of hours on your skis you need to have time to explore and take it slow. Your friends that know how to ski are either going to: a) Get frustrated because they want to go off and ski, and not be patient. b) Spend lots of time trying to show off. c) Throw you lemming-like onto expert terrain for their own entertainment. d) Give you their own bad habits. Or e) A through D. Sound like I'm exaggerating? Your friends would never do that right? Let them try and "teach" you and you'll find out fast! Take a couple of lessons and then you can do all of those same horrible things to your friends instead!

You will fall, so just get over it: Once you are on the slopes and skiing for your first time, try and relax. The most common problems I see in peoples skiing stem from them being tense. When you are tense your muscles don't function properly, making you ski worse, which makes you more tense, which makes you ski worse, which makes you more tense, which . . . . . you get the idea. Snow is soft, you don't need to be afraid of falling on it. In fact you might as well just ditch the fear of falling because you will fall. Sorry to tell you that but there really is no escape. But the pleasant suprise is that most people find themselves laughing after they fall the first time. Perhaps because they had built it up in their minds to be something terrifying!

Treat your body well and it will return the favor: Skiing happens at an altitude you are not accustomed to. There is more than 1/3 less oxygen at the top of our high resorts than at sea level. You will do just fine and adjust quickly as long as you treat your body well. When you go skiing you are on vacation, so the natural thing to do is party like crazy as soon as you get here. Try and moderate it for the first few days. Skiing is great fun, but also a very athletic endeavor. Do you know any great athletes who party all night the night before a big competition? Eat well, lots of carbohydrates will keep you warm and provide quick energy. Stay well hydrated, drink water whenever you think about it even if you are not thirsty. Get a good nights sleep the night before and take it easy with the alcohol. It will all be worth it!

How we can tell you are a beginner: There's nothing wrong with being a beginner, all of us start there. But there are some things that will make you look, well . . . like a geek to us! Don't carry your skis like you would firewood, carry them over your shoulder. Don't whack anyone with those skis that are now over your shoulder, people really get hurt this way. Don't walk around with your boot buckles flapping around, attach the latch at least. Don't wear jeans when skiing. Remember that the left lane on the highway is the passing lane, leave it open so we can pass, we drive these mountains every day. Part of the skiing experience for some people is the serenity of the mountains, don't whoop and holler constantly (excited cries of joy are of course expected). If at all possible avoid hunting and mechanics suits. Do not litter in our mountains, we tend to not be polite when this happens. But most importantly SMILE! This is a vacation!

[ September 07, 2002, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: AC ]
post #2 of 6
I'd like to add...

For the courtesy of others, stick on the beginner slope until you can cruise down it with no issue while controlling your speed and direction. Don't think that just because you made it down a few times and "Only fell twice" that you are ready to go to a bigger slope....

Going on terrain that is too advanced, especially when you are a beginner and don't have the tools to get yourself down safely if the hill is too steep, is just going to get you or someone else hurt.

If you want to ski fast, learn how to ski fast first. One thing most people hate (especially ski instructors and people with kids) is when you schuss (aka: bomb, straight-line, etc.) a hill with absolutely no control. I've been hit by out of control skiers on terrain they shouldn't have been on and kids I've had in lessons have been hit. If you don't want to take the time to learn to control yourself, don't ski.

Also, grab a trail map and find a place you can put it that is easily accessible. Would you try driving somewhere unfamiliar without knowing where you are going? They are easy to understand. Also consider asking an employee where they recommend you go. If you finish a lesson and progress little farther and are ready for the 'next hill', an employee of the resort should be able to tell you what the next challenge will be. Also, the trail map will have the skier responsibility code which is something you should familiarize yourself with.
post #3 of 6
I'd like to add too.

For the first timer, don't have a pre-conceived idea of how to ski. Instead, listen and watch your lesson instructor. I have seen too many guys spending the whole lesson going streight down the hill, leaning sideways and falling. Once the lesson is over and they look around exausted, and see the other people in the class turning and stopping, they ask "how do you turn again?"

post #4 of 6
I would like to say, don't worry about looking like a beginner. I don't want to sound elitist, but more real skiers are at a level far enough above you that they aren't even paying attention to whether you look silly or not.
post #5 of 6
Like Todd/AC said everyone was a beginner at one time. Maggot is right higher level skiers don't give it a second thought. Your just a beginner no big deal have fun with it.
post #6 of 6
You want to know how to have have fun and not look silly your first time on skis ?

Smile. When people are having fun and sharing the snow and become converts to this preoccupation they need to do nothing more. Beginners are the lifeblood of this sport. Be they on skis or a board they are in the footsteps of so many that post here . Here's to the beginners. We love you guys(and gals) . Pay attention to the simple rules and enjoy.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Beginner Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › How To Have Fun, and Not Look Silly Your First Day On Skis