Want to know how to make winter your favorite season? Learn how to ski!
Skiing can either be the most relaxing, or most exhilarating experience you have all winter. The best part is, it’s not too difficult to get into.
Today’s article is a primer on basic ski technique. Read it before you hit the slopes and you’ll be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at you.
Dress Warmly With Layers
The first step is to make sure you have the right equipment. It can get VERY cold out on the slopes. If you aren’t wearing the right clothes, you’re going to have a miserable time.
The most important point to remember with ski clothes is not to wear ANYTHING cotton. As you’re skiing, you’ll probably work up a sweat. If you’re wearing cotton, the sweat will stick to the fabric. First, this makes the cotton lose it’s ability to insulate. But even worse, it’s now created a very cold layer that will actually sap the warmth from your body.
If you wear cotton, even if you have a heavy down outer layer on, you’ll be freezing underneath it!
Renting vs Buying
If you’re a complete beginner, I recommend you rent skis instead of buying them brand-new. Skiing is a lot of fun but it’s not for everyone. Better to find that out the cheap way through renting some decent skis that’ll get you through the day.
Take a Lesson
Now, I’m going to describe some basic ski techniques to you in the next section. However, this is just a primer for the ski lesson I highly recommend you take. These are affordable and every ski resort offers them. Generally, they last just 30 minutes and can be the difference between confidence on the slopes, and feel like you fall down every second.
There are a lot of intricacies you need to learn to get on the lift safely. Taking the time to get a lesson will help keep you and the other skiers on the mountain safe.
Now for the fun part. Actually skiing!
Before you get to the slopes, you’re going to want to practice clipping your skis into your boots. First, do it in a dry area. Feel the unique bindings of your ski snap together. Then, if you have snow outside, put some snow into the ski to practice.
Once you’ve clipped your skis on, practice standing up and getting the balance.
Now, when you arrive at the resort, go to the side of the lift. Usually, there is a small hill that beginners can practice on.
Snowplow stance is the easiest way to safely move with skis. First, put your feet shoulder width apart. Angle the skis inwards so you form an arrow. In this stance, you’ll find that you can easily control your speed. You’ll also feel the most secure and balanced.
Practice going down the small hill in this snowplow stance. When you feel comfortable, you can move onto the beginner hills. On small slopes, snowplow stance can help you slowly make your way down the hill.
Keep Your Knees Bent
Our knees are natural shock absorbers. When bent, they help absorb impact and keep us on our feet. When you first start skiing, you may want to tense up your knees. Initially, this can feel more secure.
However, if you look your knees you will fall very quickly and painfully. So make sure to always keep in mind that when your knees are bent, you’re stable.
Stay Away from Powder at First
You may have heard that powder is heaven for skiers. And, that’s absolutely true… once you have a hang of balancing and skiing down hill. Because if you fall in powder, you can get stuck. While not exactly painful, it can be difficult for a beginner to get back up and balanced. For this reason, stick to the beginner hills until you’re confident you can stay on your feet, turn, and stop reliably.
Don’t Look Down
As a beginner, you’ll likely look down to stabilize yourself. This is fine when you’re just getting your balance. But move away from this as quickly as possible. Looking straight ahead is the only way to safely ski. It allows you to see everything coming up and any other skiers in your path. Too often beginners worry about their skis crossing, so they look down… only to get hit by another skier they didn’t see. Don’t let it happen to you!
If you’ve never skied before, you really have to try it. By following the basic tips outlined in today’s article, you’ll have the right mindsets before you hit the slopes. This will ensure you learn quickly and can get out on the slopes as quickly as possible. Who knows, maybe you’ve found your new passion!