So you want to learn to ski! Whether you decide to go through a ski school or not, you should go in armed with at least some idea of what to expect and what to do. Below are some useful tips based on when I first learned to ski.
Get a teacher. Any teacher. You need an experienced skier with you.
For your first time out, you shouldn’t be alone. You need an experienced skier there to give you tips and pointers as you’re going along. So if you decide not to go through a ski school, ask if you can go with someone you know who’s an experienced skier. My college boyfriend taught me to ski. It was far, far better than trying to do it on my own (or going through a ski school, in my opinion).
Wear ski clothing.
Most places where you can rent equipment will also have clothes to rent. At minimum, you should rent a jacket, pants, gloves, and goggles. Why? Because it’s cold, the snow is wet, and you will fall down many, many times. If you’re wearing regular clothes and sunglasses, you’ll get very cold, wet, and uncomfortable, and you could easily lose or break your sunglasses. All of this makes it less likely you’ll enjoy yourself enough to want to keep doing it.
Let them take their time fitting you for equipment.
It’s important to let the people you’re renting equipment from take their time with fitting you. They’ll ask you some questions, they’ll measure your height and your feet, and they’ll have you try more than one set of equipment before you rent anything. Be patient, and let them do their thing. Your whole body will thank you for it later.
Start out on the bunny slope.
You might feel silly with all the kids using that slope (I know I did), but you don’t want to try learning on any of the regular slopes. Remember, you will fall down. A lot. When you’re first learning, the bunny slope is your best friend.
Move to the bigger slopes only when you feel completely confident.
This is very subjective, however, you should wait until the bunny slope is so easy that it’s boring before trying a green slope. That’s what I did, and it gave me confidence on my first time down a green that I didn’t think I’d have had otherwise. The sheer length and steeper grade of a green slope means you’ll probably start falling down again, so you need to feel sure you can handle it before you actually try it.
You’ll be very sore the next day, so don’t plan on going out twice in a row right away.
Skiing uses muscles all over your body that you didn’t know you had. When you get up the next morning, your legs will hurt, your shoulders and the sides of your neck will hurt, and your back will hurt. Your abs might hurt, too. This won’t necessarily be minor soreness, either. I hurt so badly the next day that I had some trouble moving. So let your muscles rest and recover for a day, and then get back out there.
Remember: Skiing is supposed to be fun, even the very first time. Good luck, and enjoy yourself!