Skiing is not everyone’s cup of tea, as there are many who are not just made for the sport of gliding down the snow slopes. There are many who attempt skiing once and then give it up altogether, either because they were introduced by someone who made no effort or simply due to lack of motivation of the novice themselves. By keeping your expectations to a bare minimum, as a beginner, you will have a better idea of what to expect on your first day on the slopes.
Here is a bit of advice for the new skier, both on having an enjoyable ski lesson and where best to experience it.
Ski in a suitable resort
There are many resorts which cater solely to first time skiers. You can book them through reputed sites such as Alpine Elements. These places have good ski schools, a designated beginners zone, easy slopes and plenty of green and blue pistes.
Look for resorts which have excellent grooming and family programs. All these combinations will lead to a good learning curve. In most of the beginners areas lifts are free, which saves you a lot of money till your instructor confirms your course is complete.
If you want to fast-track your ski learning experience, then you can swoop down the slopes with the best in La Plagne in just a week. The ‘Cool Ski Pass’ gives access to lifts and circuits on learner only pistes throughout the area. The conveniently located Chalet Java and Chalet Capella make getting up and down from the slopes for the first timers a breeze.
While most of the Three Valleys region is full of seasoned skiers, the Chalet Crete and Chalet Etienne located in Meribel are absolute beginner territory. The resort has plenty of ski schools who know how to build the confidence in peace and without wearing you out. To test your new mettle, the MoonPark will give children tons of kicks.
Beginners find the rolling blue hills, lined with coniferous pine trees an ideal place to hone their skills in Morzine, a part of the massive 650 km Ported du Soleil. The nursery area lies near the center, so there is no need to use the chair lifts till you are through with the basics. Young learner’s will love to stay at the Chalet Nyon or Hotel Hermino Blanche in Morzine.
Masters and newbies will love to conquer the slopes in Val d’ Isere. The Hotel Gelinotte and Chalet Vallon guarantee a world of fun for all the guests. Stay at either and you are sure to get some of the best amenities and other hotel features than anywhere else in town.
Divided into five villages, the ski resort of Tignes shares its boundaries with the neighbouring Val d’ Isere, which can both be accessed with the extensive ski pass. The hotel here, Ski Dor, has plenty of activities and is a convenient choice for first time skiers.
First timers on slopes have a choice of staying in the most beginner friendly resort in Hotel Montana in La Tania. The village has good nursery slopes, served by a long trail, ideal to sharpen your skills on. While there is an excellent intermediate terrain in La Tania, skiers can also head easily to the Meribel and Courchevel valleys from here.
Other Tips for First Time Skiers –
Take a ski lesson
Taking advice from someone knowledgeable and experienced will lead to dramatic improvement in your skiing technique. A capable instructor will keep a watchful eye on your every move and guide you on what is wrong and how to correct it.
Use good skis
There are some important things to look for when hiring skis as they are the secret to learning the sport. Beginners should select wider, shorter and flexible skis when learning. The undersides should not have scratches or holes. Check that the metal edge is at 90° sharp else gripping on the steep slopes will become difficult. Finally learn how to carry your skis properly so as not to injure people by waving the sharp edges around like swords.
Keep the knees bent
First time skiers are simply not adapted to being in a squat position and mostly overlook this basic rule. Bending the knees allows for better control of your ski and maintains balance of the upper portion of the body, which in turn lets you adjust to the terrain and absorb small jumps.
Limit your expectations
On your first day out, keep your expectations to a bare minimum and do not expect to transit from the green run to the blue run in a hurry. There will be plenty of embarrassing moments as you will fall quite often, while others will circle around you nonchalantly. Remember this is a part of the learning process, so just get up and try again. That said, most of these issues will go away after the first day and you will soon find space for enjoyment.
Dress for the occasion
No one expects you to look like an Olympic athlete on your first first on the slopes, still it is advisable to don some important gear. Renting proper fitting boots as the most vital part of the whole exercise. A good pair of snow pants, helmet, gloves and goggles should be included.
Choose the right terrain
Learning how to ski may initially hurt your ego, but as in any new sport, honing the technique before heading to a blue run will ultimately make you a better skier. Start with the flat and short green runs and less obstacles to set the pace.
Beginners somehow love to look at the tip of the long planks attached to the feet instead of keeping an eye on the terrain ahead at all times. Ski instructors suggest to look at least ten feet in front to focus on where you are heading. You would not want to run into a tree staring down at your feet.
People are eager to hit the snow early each morning, so it is a good idea to complete your ski rentals a day before your ski learning package begins, as the paperwork involved takes quite some time to finish. Buy your lift ticket the night before to save time and money.
Skiing is a sport which can be grasped in one hour but will take a lifetime to master. While it is important to have the conditions in your favor, you may still discover at the end of the day that skiing is not your staple sport. However, if you stick to the advice given above, you will at least have the feeling of giving it a decent shake.