Skiing for the first time can feel extremely nerve-wracking. In fact, all skiers start as beginners, legs shaking, falling over sideways, and swerving left and right trying not to lose your balance or crash into anything. Let’s face it: there’s no hidden secret to skiing for beginners, besides just doing it.
1. Pack warm and waterproof clothing
The challenge begins before you even strap into your skis…with your clothes! It’s incredibly important to pack thick, waterproof outerwear (pants and a coat), as well as thermal base layers and wool socks for underneath your coats. The outerwear will keep water and snow out, while the thermal layer will wick sweat and keep you extra warm.
For outerwear, we strongly recommend purchasing high quality outdoor wear from brands like Columbia, Burton, or Helly Hansen. A good ski set is waterproof and insulated, with lots of pockets to put your important stuff.
Thermal wear comes in lots of fabrics and varieties, but there is no better sweat-wicking cloth than Merino wool. Warm and dry yet lightweight and cozy, Merino wool base layers are the perfect pair for thick outerwear.
2. Wear goggles & a helmet
Not only do you need adequate clothing, but goggles and a helmet are a must for safety and protection. Goggles will help you keep flying snow out of your eyes, which can be especially problematic on snowy days or when there’s artificial snow being blown. Additionally, many sets of ski goggles are UV resistant as well, protecting your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun.
Additionally, a helmet is an important piece of gear to wear on the slopes. While you can purchase your own helmet, many ski resorts do have them for rent along with their other gear. Be sure to do your own research to make sure you have a helmet available!
3. Choose a beginner-friendly ski resort
While most ski resorts do have options for beginners, not all are created equal when it comes to first-time skiers. The good news is you can find beginner-friendly ski resorts practically all around the world.
There are lots of specific characteristics of a ski resort that can contribute to a good learning environment for less experienced skiers. While not comprehensive, a beginner-friendly ski resort will have the following characteristics at a minimum:
4. Rent your larger equipment
You may be tempted to drop a ton of money on your own skis and boots, but we’d recommend holding off on this until you’ve got some experience under your belt. Not only is transporting ski equipment incredibly difficult, but it’s also very expensive.
Instead of buying skis, you can usually rent them from any ski resort for a reasonable fee. Renting allows you to get a feel for skis and get fit advice from an expert. Employees at basically every ski resort can take your measurements and make sure you’re fully outfitted for your first time out in the snow.
Once you’re more experienced, you can consider buying your own skis, but for your first few time, we recommend saving yourself some money and renting everything.
5. Take an introductory lesson
Taking a group or individual ski lesson is a great way to learn the basics of skiing in a supportive, hands-on way. Ski instructors are trained to teach absolute beginners and will help you learn the motions and techniques needed to become a more seasoned skier.
Luckily, most ski resorts offer lessons that range from first-time skiers to advanced. If you’ve never been skiing before or it’s been several years, a group lesson is a fantastic, cost-effective way to learn the ropes.
We recommend looking for resorts that offer a few different levels of classes, and that separate adults and children in group lessons. If you’ve got a few days at the resort, it could also be a good idea to take a few classes to sharpen your skills and get expert help with your technique.
These are some most useful skiing tips for beginners.