The Beginner's Guide to Skiing

Written by Leanna Serras

Equipment to Buy

Those new to downhill skiing will need to ensure they have enough equipment and skiing gear to be fully prepared for the slopes. Skiing gear is often selected according to level of expertise and experience. Regardless of individual levels, there are essentials that all skiers should wear and use to protect them from the elements. Keep in mind that some gear is available for rent or sale at the slopes. You may choose to rent your equipment, purchase gear beforehand, or buy it at the slopes

Skiing equipment is more than simply looking good on the slopes; it keeps you safe and protected. Before skiing, make sure to check your equipment for any wear and tear or faulty parts that could pose a safety hazard. Some of the most important equipment you will need include skis, boots, poles, sunglasses, goggles, face protection (neck gator), a visor and winter hat. Protection for your hands is important and you should have lightweight gloves, as well as water- and wind-resistant ski gloves. Layers are essential to those skiing, and it is important to prepare for both extreme heat and cold temperatures. 

Choose a sun shirt, as well as a light- to medium-weight long-sleeve shirt for your base layer, and a lightweight insulating layer shirt for the outer layer. In addition to shirts, choose several layers of jacket to ensure you are well protected. These may include an insulated hooded parka, waterproof or Gore-Tex hooded shell jacket, and an outer layer fleece jacket. Though your ski boots will have an insulated layer, you will need warm socks that fit well in your boots. Choose ski boots designed with a walking mode, to make certain you have full mobility on and off the slopes. Like shirts, pants should be worn in layers. Begin with medium weight pants for your base layer, and then add breathable soft-shell pants and/or hard-shell pants, and exterior insulated pants. 

In addition to the primary equipment that you will have on you, there are miscellaneous items that should never be left behind, as these provide the utmost level of protection from the environment. These include a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and an SPF-enabled lip balm. As with any physical activity, ensure that you have enough water to drink both before and during skiing.

Getting the Size Right

Both beginning and experienced skiers must make certain they choose the correct size ski boots as well as poles. Ski boots should fit snug, and you should not feel as if you have room to move your feet around. Your ski boot is what bonds you to the skis and essentially keeps you positioned on the slopes. For the most part, ski boots will run the same size as your shoe size. As ski boots often run on an international shoe size chart, you may need to do a bit of math to account for the conversion. Do not choose ski boots larger than your normal size shoe. Oversized ski boots are dangerous and can cause you to lose your footing on the slopes. Ski boots should feel snug without being so tight that they cause pain or discomfort.

Skiing Tips for the Beginner

New skiers should take the time to practice before hitting the slopes. Work with a teacher and do not be afraid to move at your own pace. If you are considering skiing and have never skied before, then rent equipment before you decide to make an investment in your own skis. When on the slopes, work on basic, essential skills such as how to stop, the correct ski stance, how to make turns, and how to control your speed when going downhill. Ensure that you learn the correct positioning, stance and technique, as this will prevent further problems from developing later. 

Ski Etiquette

Every sport has rules, and skiing is no exception. Everyone planning to hit the slopes should be aware of proper ski etiquette to ensure that they do not behave rudely or cause others harm. Always make certain you area aware of your limitations and remain in control while skiing. If you cannot control your actions, then you should not be on the slopes, as you will pose a danger to yourself and others. If you are not ready to ski alone, continue to take lessons until you can ski with ease and confidence. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the slope and follow them. By respecting others, making sure you can control your movements, and following the guidelines, you can ski with confidence and the assurance you will not pose a threat to yourself or others.