TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME SKIERS AND BOARDERS
Find a Ski Resort with Beginner Terrain
While most ski resorts offer trails for beginners, there’s no need to head out to an expert ski resort for your first time skiing or riding (what boarders do).
Raid Your Closet Before You Buy New Clothes
There’s no need for expensive, fancy ski clothes your first time skiing. As long as you have a turtleneck, a sweater or a fleece jacket, and some kind of insulating pants (no denim, though) to wear under a winter jacket and waterproof snow pants, you should be warm enough. A pair of winter gloves is a good idea, too. When you know you like skiing, you can upgrade your wardrobe. We have a small shop here that sells goggles, gloves, hats and locks. We don’t rent any of those items however.
Get Lift Tickets
Before you go skiing, you will need a lift ticket. A lift ticket provides you with access to the mountain and to the ski lifts. Everyone needs a lift ticket to access the snow anywhere on the mountain, whether you plan to use the lifts or not. THE PURCHASE OF A LIFT TICKET IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY. Lift ticket prices vary.
Rent Skis and Boards and Boots
Your skiing experience will be better if you rent skis and boots instead of borrowing a friend’s old pair of dated skis or boots. Even if you have a pair of old skis or boots, learning to ski on a modern pair of skis is not only safer than skiing on old skis, but, it will help you progress faster.
The biggest complaint of the complete novice is cold feet. Or sore feet. Or cut off circulation. This is because the boots you are using don’t fit. Boots should allow you to wiggle your toes. If you can’t wiggle your toes, then your feet will be cold. But, boots should not allow you to turn your foot side-to-side within the boot. If you can turn your foot inside the boot, you won’t have a chance to control your skis.
Properly fitting ski boots are warm. Very warm. Completely warm. Do NOT wear very thick socks, or more than one pair of socks inside your boots. If you are too stuffed with socks, you’ll lose circulation and your feet will be cold (again, make sure you can wiggle your toes).
Take a Lesson
Even if your friends ski or board and want to teach you, investing in a lesson is necessary. You’ll get started off with a good basis of knowledge, and with continued lessons, you’ll be a great skier or rider before you know it. Even experienced skiers and riders polish up their skills with a lesson now and then. Make sure to specify that you are a beginner skier or boarder with no (or little) experience on the slopes.
Stay Hydrated and Get a Snack
Because you’re working new muscles, it’s easy to get tired easily. Stopping to get a drink or a snack is very important for your safety.
Ski or board with caution and work hard to stay in control. During your lesson, make it a point to listen to your instructor, because later, you can practice what you’ve learned on your own time. However, don’t push yourself too hard – on your first day, it’s best to stick to terrain that you know you can handle.
Ski and Board Safety Tips
Exercise in advance
You will have much more fun on the slopes if you’re in good shape. Work your way up to skiing by exercising year-round on a regular basis.
Use proper equipment
Don’t borrow equipment. Rent from a ski shop or the ski resort. When buying equipment, make sure your ski boots are fitted properly. In both cases, make sure your bindingsare properly adjusted.
Wear a helmet
Wearing protective headgear while skiing makes good sense. The most important tip I would offer to all parents and guardians is to give a child no choice but to wear a helmet.
Prepare for the weather
Wear layers of clothes and wear a helmet liner, a hat, or a headband. Wear gloves or mittens. Bring an extra pair in case the first pair gets wet.
Wear ski goggles that fit properly around your helmet. If you wear eyeglasses, buy goggles that fit comfortably over your eyeglasses or consider prescription goggles.
Take a break
If you’re tired, take a break and rest for a while in the lodge. While you’re resting, make sure you eat and drink enough. Skiing and boarding burns a lot of energy! When it’s the end of the day, there’s no need to try and get in a last run, or two, if you are tired. It’s better to quit while you’re ahead and save your energy for next time.
Ski or ride with a friend
It’s always safer to ski or ride with a friend so he can watch out for you and vice versa. Prearrange a meeting place in case you get separated.
Respect your limits
Do not ski or ride trails or terrain parks that are above your skill level. Trails will be clearly marked (Green Circle, Blue Square, Black Diamond) as to what level skier they are appropriate for. On a similar note, stay in control of your skis or board and focus on the trail you are skiing. Accidents happen more readily when we are distracted.
Follow the rules
Do not go off-trail. Obey posted trail closure and other warning signs. They are there for a reason. Remember that skiers and boarders who are in front of you, and below you, on the trail have the right-of-way.
Skier Responsibility Code
First and foremost, skiing safety is everyone’s responsibility. While on the slopes, you will see people using snowboards, alpine skis, ski blades and other specialized equipment, such as the adaptive skis used by skiers with disabilities. You will see skiers of all levels – from beginners enjoying their first day on the slopes to expert skiers with years of experience. It is always your responsibility, regardless of the equipment used or the level of skier that you are, to be courteous to others and to be aware that skiing safely makes the ski slopes safer for all of us.
The National Ski Areas Association, the National Ski Patrol, and the Professional Ski Instructors Association officially endorse the following Responsibility Code, and remind you that it is a condition of skiing:
National Ski Patrol Responsibility Code
Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
At each and every ski resort, this Skier Responsibility Code is taken very seriously. Any failure to ski responsibly, and to use good judgment and common sense, can result in the revocation of skiing privileges. There typically isn’t much tolerance for those who disobey the rules. Be aware, that in many cases, state law becomes involved in flagrant violation of boundary restrictions and unreported collisions.
Most importantly, if everyone follows the Responsibility Code and adheres to these basic safety tips, a good, and safe, time can be had by everyone on the slopes.
BE SMART WHEN USING THE TERRAIN PARKS…USE SMART STYLE!
Follow the Four main points of Smart Style
MAKE A PLAN
Every time you use Freestyle Terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use.Your speed, approach and takeoff will directly affect your maneuver and landing.
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
- Before getting into freestyle terrain observe all signage and warnings
- Scope around the jumps first not over them
- Use your first run as a warm up run and to familiarize yourself with the terrain
- Be aware that the features change constantly due to weather, usage, grooming and time of day
- Do not jump blindly and use a spotter when necessary
EASY STYLE IT
- Know your limits and ski/ride within your ability level
- Look for small progression parks or features to begin with and work your way up
- Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air
- Do not attempt any features unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely
- Inverted aerials increase your risk of injury and are not recommended
RESPECT GETS RESPECT
- Respect the terrain and others
- One person on a feature at a time
- Wait your turn and call your start
- Always clear the landing area quickly
- Respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and features
Be sure you Know the Code:
You’re Responsibility Code provides safety tips while on the slopes. Smart Style is a terrain park specific safety program that you should check out before using terrain parks.