Going skiing for the first time? Here are a few tips to help you feel at home on the slopes, and enthusiastic about your first trip to the snow.
I learnt to ski at Vogel Ski Centre in Slovenia. I had a brilliant time and progressed well in the four days we had on the slopes. I felt pretty confident on leaving Slovenia that I’d be a champion skier in no time and planned to hit the skis again as soon as I had the money together. Lucky for me the opportunity came two years later when a work conference was held in Vancouver at Sun Peaks Resort.
Like a lot of learner skiing trips things were up, then they were down, then up again. If you’re not an experienced and super fit skier, ski holidays can be hard going.
As a fresh novice I think I have a unique view on tips to make you a better skier whether you’re in a ski resort in Japan, Bulgaria or anywhere. I know how it feels to be that fresh face overwhelmed on the slopes and cowering at the top of a mountain wishing you’d opted for a beach holiday instead.
Here are a few tips for first timers, ready to feel confident for their first trip.
1. Have confidence in yourself
The seven-year-old kids that whizz by you do so because they’re fearless. This is what makes them brave and able to tackle the slopes before they can do their 5x table.
I found it useful to give myself a good talking to at the top of a slope to inject some confidence: “You can do this, it’s only a mountain. You can do this, it’s only a mountain.”
2. But not too much
On my second day learning to ski in Slovenia I got really cocky and went too far. I ended up launching myself down the mountain, bashing my head as I went. Not big and not clever. You should know your limits as a first timer and make sure you have the technique right before you go following your mates down the black runs.
You should also, always, wear a helmet for protection. Your brain is precious.
You can get some great ski holiday deals at Esquiades.com, where you can book all your equipment hire in – including a helmet. You can also prebook your lessons in advance too.
3. Don’t panic
For me this was the key cause of a fall. You need to have the confidence (see above) to style it out and land your wobbles. This will all come in time, but if you can keep your cool you’re a lot more likely to manage to stay upright in the face of adversity. Just think calming and steady thoughts when you feel yourself about to tumble.
As soon as you start to panic and worry you’ll over compensate and go too far the other way.
You’ve got this.
4. Look forward
This was a key pointer given to me by Nancy Greene – Canadian Olympic Skiing Champion – when I had a skiing lesson with her at Sun Peaks Resort. She made me realise I was looking down at where my skis were going, rather than looking ahead at where I was going.
This simple alteration to my stance and technique made my whole body stand up straight and lead to where I wanted to go, it also gave me more confidence as I could see what was coming up. Whenever I panicked after this I made sure to check my stance and it was always down to my old habit of looking down.
5. Know when to call it a day
You need to leave on a high, don’t wear yourself out till you’ve lost the will to live when you’re fresh to the sport. I did this on the last day at Sun Peaks and I feel a bit disillusioned by the whole thing. It’s been a few months now and I’m ready to give it another go, but don’t let yourself be broken – mentally or physically – by skiing and you’ll be on those green runs in no time.
6. Go back to lessons
The trouble with skiing is that you need to keep it up, to keep the confidence levels high, and the skill. This can be hard when you only have a limited amount of holiday each year. My recommendation would be to book in for a few hours of lessons when you get there, to get you back in the swing of things. Then, you can decide whether you want more, or whether you’re ready to go free on the slopes.