Learning to ski as an adult can feel daunting, but is also extremely accessible whatever your age. We want to make sure you get the most out of your first time, so we’ve listed our top Ski Tips for Beginners.
SKI TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Here’s how you can make the most of your first time on skis:
- Ski in a snow dome beforehand
- Get the right gear
- Be confident
- Take ski lessons
- Explore and have fun
- Don’t go it alone
Ski Tips for Beginners
1. Ski in a Snow Dome
We highly recommend spending some time in a snow dome or on a dry slope before you head out to the mountains. This is so you can get a head start before any lessons and to give you a confidence boost.
You do need to invest in more than just a couple of hours in a snow dome, otherwise, you will not progress out of the beginner’s group, once you finally hit the real slopes.
If you are going to commit, ideally you want to be stopping and turning before your trip – as you don’t want to be covering the same skills and drills that you have already learnt on a dry slope. This initial ski experience will do wonders for your next holiday in the ski area.
Two reasons why it’s a great idea to ski in a snow dome :
- Firstly, Britain is full of snow domes and dry slopes. You’re bound to find one in your area, so take advantage and book a few sessions before you go. Which is best for you? Here are the pros and cons of indoor & dry ski slopes.
- Secondly, familiarising yourself with the equipment and getting over the initial hump could earn you an extra day of skiing by skipping the waddling around bit.
Book ski lessons at a snowdome:
- The Snow Centre – Hemel Hempstead
- SnoZone – Milton Keynes, Yorkshire & Basingstoke.
- Chill factor – Manchester
2. Get the right ski boots & ski kit
When you first arrive at the resort, you’ll need to buy a lift ticket and head to the ski rental shop to rent skis, ski boots, ski poles, and possibly a helmet. It’s essential that you dress appropriately for a day on the mountain. All this ski equipment can be paid for and organised ahead of time.
We work with the largest ski rental supplier in France, Ski Set and have a discount code here for you. If you’re travelling to St Anton or Lech in Austria, we work with Hervis, and to Verbier in Switzerland, we work with Ski Service. Check out all of our ski equipment discount codes here.
There’s no denying that ski boots aren’t the most comfortable piece of kit in the world. But it should not be hurting. The boots are stiff and feel robotic almost, but it’s essential that they are snug, but not hurting.
If you suspect that your boots are too small, we’d recommend heading back to the ski shop to get them changed by a boot fitter. They even have specific boots for wider feet so don’t suffer in silence! You are on holiday after all, and skiing if meant to be fun!
Ski Equipment to buy before you hit the slopes:
For your first trip, you’ll need to buy a few bits of kit beforehand to wear skiing:
- Waterproof ski pants & a ski jacket
- Thermal layer(s)
- Ski goggles
- A helmet
- Ski gloves
- Ski socks
(These items can all be bought in the resort, so don’t panic if you forget – but you will pay a higher price.)
When buying ski socks, we recommend buying a pair of thin ski socks. Thick ski socks are going to cause you problems, so we suggest thin socks, which you can buy before you go from Ellis Brigham.
Here’s a link to what our instructors wear to keep their toes toasty all day long. They may be a little pricey, but they do last and can be worn rolled down for hiking or trail running too so you will get a lot of use out of them.
You can always buy your own skis and boots, but if it’s your first time, we’d recommend renting to discover if you love skiing enough to invest in the right gear.
3. It’s all about confidence
Skiing can be a big confidence game. If you learn meticulously and thoroughly at the start, then you will make each advance with confidence and ease. If you rush onwards and skip bits that you don’t like, then when the difficulty ramps up, you may well find yourself struggling on day three and have to go back to the drawing board.
You can’t build a strong house with bad foundations.
You can build your confidence in skiing, by spending time with someone of a similar level. Identify this person at the start of your trip and stick together so you know you’ve always got someone with you, who’s happy cruising at a similar pace.
Ways to boost your confidence skiing
Another way to boost your confidence for your first time skiing, is to plan a direct route on the ski map before you head out. When you’re having your morning coffee at breakfast, pull out a piste map and make a rough plan on where you’re going to ski.
This way you have a focus and have something to aim for. It will also make you relax as you’re less likely to be thinking about your technique, and more on where you’re going. Meaning you’ll be looking around you, being aware of your surroundings and getting to know your way around.
4. Take ski lessons
It’s important to have ski lessons once you’re out in the mountains. There are hundreds of ski schools out there to help you learn how to ski on your first holiday. The benefits of ski lessons far outweigh the stress and danger of doing it on your own.
By spending even just a few hours with a highly experienced ski instructor, you will learn proper techniques, what you should be working on for your level and pick up loads of helpful ski tips along the way. Here are ten tips to improve your skiing.
Learning to ski can be exhausting, and your leg muscles definitely feel it after a few hours on the mountain. You’ll start your ski lesson on flat ground or a ski area with a gentle slope.
What you’ll learn:
- the correct posture i.e how you stand on your skis with your legs shoulder width apart and lean forward. How you can rotate your lower body beneath your upper body to turn your legs.
- you’ll be introduced to the equipment, how to have your ski trousers over your ski boots instead of tucked in, how to use ski poles, which is your uphill ski, which is your downhill ski, which colour ski trails you should be looking out for, and which you want to avoid.
- how to shift more weight from your left foot to your right foot and how to balance on one ski. Your ski instructor will also explain how it affects your turn shape, your balance and helps control your speed when changing direction.
- you’ll get to grips with ski lingo, like the ‘fall line’ (the most direct route down the hill in a straight line) and the ‘outside ski’.
- your instructor will teach you about the different types of lifts, and how to use them, why the safety bar is important, and how to be safe.
Do I really need a ski instructor?
Ski Instructors love sharing their passion for the mountains with others, and want to help you to learn how to ski. For first-time skiers, ski instructors will teach you how to carry your skis with ease, how to navigate icy patches, bumpy bits and help you know which ski runs are harder than the colour on the sign – for example.
Your instructor is there to hold your hand and give you the confidence boost you probably didn’t think you needed. Plus lessons are only a few hours in the morning, so you’ve still got time to ski with family and friends, catch them for lunch and practice your newfound skills. You’ll be expert skiers in no time at all! First-time skiers… who?
5. Explore and have fun
Outside of lessons, make sure you explore and have fun! Don’t try to go more difficult, but do what you have learned again and again. Then once you have got to grips with it all, rest in the middle of the week if needed. It’s important to enjoy your time on the slopes, on your ski holiday!
Not every turn is perfect but you’ve always got another opportunity to make the next turn better than the last.
Ski as a family
If you have kids in ski lessons too who are skiing beginners, spend time with them skiing outside of lessons as they will want to show you where they have been learning to ski too.
But don’t worry if they show you up, kids learn so quickly as they have no fear and can learn by copying others. It’s safe to say as adults, our learning curve is slightly steeper as we create barriers for ourselves when learning a new sport later on in life.
Let them show you the gentle slopes that they ski on first thing in the morning. Let them figure out where you’re all going on the piste map and you’ll be amazed by how independent they are. It’s also an amazing feeling to ski as a family.
6. Don’t go it alone!
Some people do succeed and get themselves going without instruction. However, they are often fit, fearless or a number of adjectives that I had better not state here.
For every person that takes on skiing and uses their wits, courage, and determination, there are multiple who end up injured or saddled with a technique suited to competing in a survival contest hosted by Bear Grylls.
As we previously mentioned, you may think that you’ll save money, but it will generally equip you with a collection of bad habits that you will have to pay an instructor to help you get rid of.
Otherwise, you will have to spend every evening of your holiday watching ski tips on YouTube and then trying to re-enact what you learned every day on the slopes. Without a mirror to watch yourself in you may end up continuously asking your spouse or friends to ‘check that the angle at your waist matches that of your ankle’. This may leave you risking divorce or with friends who may no longer ski with you next year.
Ski Resorts for beginner skiers
It’s also wise to choose the right resort carefully. Some resorts are better catered to beginner skiers than others. You’ll want to choose a ski resort with gentle ski slopes and a good beginner’s area. You can usually get a good idea from glancing at a piste map, looking for lots of green slopes and blue slopes.
Many ski resorts are more suited to advanced skiers, but resorts are working hard to re-landscape parts of the mountain to make them more beginner friendly.
Take a look at our list of beginner-friendly ski resorts here.
There are undoubtedly numerous other tips to help that first week on skis run smoothly but these should help heighten your chances of you falling in love with this exhilarating sport! Find out loads more helpful info about learning how to ski.
Ready to give skiing a go? Get 10% off your Level 1 Group Lessons with New Generation.