Either you tried it for the first time and loved it, or just agreed to go on a ski holiday with your friends and don’t know where to start… Regardless of why you find yourself skiing, here at The Adventure Junkies, we are here to help. We have everything to get you started with our skiing tips for beginners!
In this piece, you will find a list of various tips to help get you started in your new winter mountain sport. We will cover everything from the things to master first before you conquer the slopes. How to avoid injury, and even what gear you should be purchasing.
TIPS ON GETTING STARTED
RESEARCH THE RESORTS YOU WANT TO TRY
When you know skiing is the next sport for you, research where you should go first. Look into the best resorts for beginners. There are endless options all across the world. Annual Skiing available worldwide. Europe, Australasia, Asia, North America, and even Central America all have resorts. Look for friendly areas, with wide and groomed slopes. Also, see how many beginner on-piste runs the area offers.
BOOK AN INTRO TO SKIING TASTER LESSON
The best way to get started is to take an introductory lesson to skiing. These can also be on indoor and dry slopes worldwide. If you can’t find anywhere to practice near you, consider taking a lesson on your first day of your skiing trip. Lessons can sometimes be pricey, but the knowledge will be invaluable.
WATCH LOTS OF BEGINNER YOUTUBE TUTORIALS
Thanks to the pioneers of the 21st Century, browsing the internet has never been easier. Make the most of YouTube. You will find countless YouTube tutorials for beginners to Skiing. Learning from a pro or instructor for free is a great resource for practicing your winter sport.
WARM UP TECHNIQUES
Before you hit the slopes, it is important to warm up first. Skiing is the same as any other sport. If you go hard before loosening your limbs, your body will suffer for it! The Warren Smith Ski Academy have created a great guide to warming up before hitting the slopes.
VIDEO: SKI FITNESS – PRE SKI WARM UP
HOW TO PROPERLY PUT ON YOUR GEAR
Make sure that when you put on your ski helmet you do it the right way. This means to adjust your chin strap so it fits. Not too tight and not loose. Be confident it won’t fall off if you topple over on the slopes. If you are wearing ski goggles pay attention to whether they have a snap-back strap. If they do, they can be worn under the helmet. But most helmets are designed for ski goggles to be worn over the top of them.
It’s easy for beginners to think the snow will be really cold. They then double up on socks and don’t realize their mistake. If you wear more than one layer of sock you risk your feet overheating and sweating. When this happens it is easy for your feet to blister. You also will experience colder feet as the moisture in your socks starts to freeze. Spend time looking at ski socks and find a good pair that will stay up, and support your terrain and learning.
It is often tricky to get ski boots right the first time when you don’t know how they should feel. Ski boots should be tight around the shin, but not crushing your leg. The bottom of your ski boot doesn’t need to be as tight. The main purpose of the buckles on the foot is to make your boot water resistant and keep snow out. Fasten these so that they are comfortable, don’t feel the need to suffocate your feet!
It is also a good idea to get boots with a low flex that feels soft. Beginners should avoid flexes of over 80 on their boots. Women should look for a flex of 50-60. Men should consider flex in their boots of 60-80.
The majority of ski poles come with a handle strap. It is important to put your hand through this correctly to avoid losing your poles in falls and mishaps. Bring your hand through the strap from underneath. Then lower your hand to grip the handle. When you slide down the hill, the pole will now follow you no matter how you fall. To understand this better, put your pole on the opposite way and note how you can pull it off your wrist with ease.
When putting on your skis you need to place them parallel across a flat part of the slope. Press the back lever of your bindings down. Now make sure you have no snow on your ski boots (as this jams in the binding). Then place your toe at the top of the inside of your binding and shift your body weight onto your heel. The back lever will snap up and your ski boot will become secure in your skis.
THE ESSENTIAL BIOMECHANICS OF SKIING
When you are skiing you will find your position changes all the time. For beginners, the key thing to focus on is having your knees bent and legs parallel. Another option is to have your legs ready in a snow plow position, with the tips of your skis almost together. The bent knees are there to help you absorb any bumps and moguls you may ski over.
You will need to be leaning into the skins of your ski boots. This will improve your balance and control as you ski on all the slope terrain. Picture yourself ready to dive into a swimming pool. You lean forward not back. You need to always be ready to set off.
FLEX & GAZE
Your entire body must be ready for action. Besides bent knees, have your elbows bent at an angle of roughly 75 degrees in front of you. This will allow your poles to fall into the correct position on their own. With your body weight central on your skis, look straight in front of you. You need to always see the slope in front, not your feet!
CORRECT USE OF POLES
With your arms at either side holding your poles, lift your forearms so they are in front of you. Aim for an angle of around 70-80 degrees (shy of a right angle). Keeping your poles in front of you in this way will shift your body weight forward. This subtle change will improve your control of your skis as your toes near the tip of your ski boots.
ONLY SUBTLE WRIST MOVEMENT
If you are holding your poles correct, you will only need to move your wrist when skiing. If you start waving your arms around, you will lose balance. Practice the motion of planting your poles only moving your wrists several times. It should look like you are ‘walking your skis’. Soon this will be a natural movement and you will find it easier to use your poles in more advanced maneuvers.
Keep your torso in the direction it is going. A common mistake is to twist your body when skiing downhill. Doing this will put your arms in the wrong place. You will lose balance and control, struggling to regain the correct stance.
THE FIRST THINGS TO PRACTICE
LEARN HOW TO STOP
This should always be the first thing you master. Once you can start and stop safely on skis you won’t endanger yourself or anyone else on the slope. Don’t attempt any busy or hard runs until you have learned this skill.
DON’T GO TO FAST
A common phrase in younger skiers is ‘just bomb it’. When you haven’t learned good control of your skis, make sure you go at your own pace. Take your time and increase your speed over time. Avoid going home in an ambulance on your first day!
ROUND OFF TURNS
Don’t be afraid to complete your wide turns. It takes practice to narrow these turns and be able to complete short turns downhill. This is a great way to keep your speed under control. If you find yourself unable to slow down when finishing a turn, you likely didn’t complete the one prior.
SLOWLY PROGRESS TO PARALLEL
You will find the more you ski in a snow plow, the more your body will position your feet in a more parallel stance. When you feel your feet wanting to progress to parallel, then learn this step. Don’t attempt it before you have full control of your skis.
WARM DOWN TECHNIQUES
As important as it is too warm up, it is important to warm down. During skiing, your body will use a lot of physicalities. Without taking the time to release some tension after a ski session, you will risk gaining sore limbs. These sore muscles will interfere with your ability to enjoy your following ski days. The Warren Smith Ski Academy also created a useful tutorial on how to stretch after a ski.
VIDEO: SKI FITNESS – AFTER SKI STRETCH
WHEN YOU FALL
KNOW HOW TO FALL
The key to keeping your injuries to a minimum is to spread out the impact area. Avoid landing on singular limbs. A larger surface area will absorb more of your fall.
KNOW HOW TO GET UP
Whether your skis are still on off will not matter. When you have fallen, you need to position your skis, parallel across the slope (not downhill). Next, dig your poles in behind you to counter your balance as you push up into a standing position. From here you can ski off into a new turn with ease.
KNOW HOW TO GET YOUR SKIS BACK ON
When you lose a ski in the powder, it can be a nightmare for beginners to get it back on. The trick is to put on your downhill ski first. Once this is on, it is much easier to stand into your uphill ski. Remember to kick off any excess snow from your ski boot, and you won’t have any trouble getting your bindings on.
This will always be the best place to practice your skiing. You can’t beat learning on an actual mountain. The terrain and conditions will reflect what you will face when you skiing on your own or with friends.
These are starting to become more popular worldwide. Indoor ‘real snow’ slopes are a great substitute for the mountain if you live far away from resorts. Or if you want to stay in form during the summer, these indoor slopes will help you keep your ski game!
These outdoor slopes are usually made of neveplast or snowflex materials. They replicate the texture and feel of snow. Dry slopes are a great way to practice all year round regardless of the weather.
When you are new learning tricks for the park safety should always first. If you have access to a foam pit or air bag on your slopes, this is a great way to practice. Once you are landing the tricks well, take them to the park for real.
If you are learning spins and flips, trampolining is a good way to practice. You can master your rotation so you can ‘feel’ the correct speed before trying them on the snow. Most centers will also have a foam pit or airbag for big tricks too. Make the most of these and then progress to a slope-side airbag before showing off your skills at the park.