With the winter Olympic games right around the corner, you may be feeling inspired to hit the slopes yourself! Skiing for the first time can feel nerve-wracking, but know that all athletes, even Olympic gold medalists started as a beginner at some point.
Whether it’s your very first time hitting the hill, or you’re dusting off your skis for the first time in a while, these tips and tricks for skiing for the first time are sure to help give you the confidence you need on the slopes.
Speaking of the winter Olympics, U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced that HomeLight, a real estate technology platform, is a title sponsor of the HomeLight Foundation Series. This foundation works as a catalyst to launch the careers of top athletes within winter sports. We hope you get inspired watching these athletes hit the halfpipe and catch big air when testing out the sport yourself.
1) Pack Thoughtfully
As a first-time skier, it may seem daunting even before you strap on your skis. Packing for a winter vacation takes some practice. Check out our top tips for packing for your next ski vacation!
- Think about warmth and waterproof clothing
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes from bright snow, and a helmet for those inevitable spills
- Bring layers to add warmth to your outfit
2) Choose a Beginner-Friendly Resort
If you’re new to the sport, it’s important you don’t set yourself up for failure from the beginning. Selecting a resort that caters to new athletes is key to your adventure and success on the mountain. Be sure to select a location that offers beginner “green” or bunny hills, gear rentals, and ski lessons.
3) Invest in a Ski Lesson
An introductory ski lesson is essential for new individuals hitting the slopes. This may seem obvious, but it’s not something to skimp on. Most resorts offer group or private lessons by trained ski instructors to help give you the basics to make it down the hill.
4) Embrace the Pizza
When you’re first starting out, it’s imperative that you embrace what is known as the pizza formation. Think about a cheesy slice and mimic the shape with your skis. This formation allows you to easily control your speed as a beginner and is also a key in stopping when you need a breather.
5) Ditch the Poles
Leave the poles behind for your first time hitting the hills. Why you ask? You see the professionals whipping down the slopes with poles in hand. Simply put, poles can get in the way when you’re learning the basics and getting used to the feel of skiing. In fact, most instructors will advise you to not bring the poles at all.
6) Think About Sun Protection
Aside from wearing goggles to protect your eyes, it’s important (as most seasoned veterans will tell you) that you layer on the SPF before you hit the slopes, and reapply throughout the day. Just because you aren’t laying on a sunny beach does not mean that you don’t need to protect your skin from the sun. In fact, you can actually get sunburned extremely fast in the mountains with the high elevation and the bright reflection of the sun off the white snow.
7) Never Ski Alone
As a beginner, you may feel like you want to hit the bunny hill alone to get used to the sport before showing off your skills, or lack thereof, to friends or family. For safety purposes, it’s extremely important to always have a buddy, even if your buddy is also a beginner. In the sport of skiing, there is risk of getting lost, or majorly injured in an accident. If any of these mishaps happen to you, you will want another person there to be able to call for help.
8) Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Tumble
Being new to the sport, you should know that you will fall while learning, and that’s okay! Don’t be afraid of a fall, because that is part of learning and part of winter sports. Even professionals take a spill on the slopes every now and then. Know that as a beginner, you won’t be traveling at any high speeds where serious injury is likely to occur. Our tips for falling with minimal injury include:
- Try to land on your side with weight on an outstretched leg and straight arm
- Don’t attempt to catch yourself by falling with weight on your elbow, wrist, or hand
- If falling backward, attempt to land flat on your back with arms straight at your sides
- When falling forward, aim to land on flat forearms to protect your face, but avoid landing on hands and wrists
So, you’ve fallen, and you can’t get up? This may seem like a silly skill, but it isn’t! Getting up with skis strapped on can be challenging, especially if you land in a twisted or contorted way.
- If you have poles, remove the straps and untangle your skis
- Keep your skis sideways to the hill (so you don’t keep sliding downward)
- Bring your skis together and bend your knees
- Crouch over your skis with a forward bend and push off the ground with your hand to stand
9) Always Underestimate Your Abilities
Accidents usually occur on the slopes when people overestimate their skill level. As a beginner, it may be tempting to zoom at high speeds down the hill and try to hit a jump straight away. But in reality, it takes a lot of practice to master those skills. Until you’re confident you have the basics of skiing down, it’s always best to underestimate your abilities.
10) Have Fun
The ultimate goal of a day on the mountain is to have fun, no matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro! Enjoy being in nature and learning and experiencing something new. Feel the mountain culture with fellow athletes, and indulge in a nice lunch at the bottom of the hill midday for a breather (if you need it).