This month Jon looks at some technical and psychological tips to help a beginner skier to master their new chosen sport. With all the new equipment and skilful instructors on the mountain there has probably never been a better time to learn to ski. Here are a few beginner skiing tips to help you have an enjoyable holiday experience.
You can help to increase your chances of having a fantastic holiday and successfully learning to ski by making some key decisions ahead of the holiday:
- Choose a resort that has a good snow record and a few beginner slopes – this will mean the slopes are likely to be less busy and the snow will be in good condition, making it easy to turn ☺.
- When choosing a ski school, we recommend you pick one that employs instructors who speak your language – you will find it easier to learn and you will understand their jokes better (hopefully).
- Build your confidence and fitness in advance of the holiday by practising on a dry slope or indoor snow dome if you have the chance.
Know Your Limits
- Be realistic and don’t try to run before you can walk. Make sure you have some lessons, learn the basics and be patient – remember, the person with the best technique will make the fastest progress.
- Choose terrain that is not too busy or steep and looks welcoming. From here you will learn the basics without worrying and being distracted by fear.
- We would advise you to tell friends and family they won’t be teaching you and book a lesson with a local ski school. There are usually lots of great schools in the resort; even better, ask the hotel or chalet company to recommend a good, patient instructor.
- How to stand – Your position over your skis is crucial to help you easily control your speed with minimal physical exertion. When sliding make sure you stand above the centre of the ski and enjoy the ride – look forward, keep your legs slightly flexed, try to be relaxed and keep your skis parallel and hip width apart.
- How to stop – Learning how to create the famous “snow plough” will probably be a big step towards feeling in control. Make a V shape with your skis by pushing the tails of your skis outwards – this will create resistance against the snow and enable you to slow down. Your instructor will ask you to adapt the size of your plough and you will learn to feel how this affects your speed.
Be in Good Shape
One of the key beginner skiing tips is to prepare your body for the exercise you are planning to do. Skiing is definitely demanding on the body – you will not only be using new muscles, but also you are challenging your body by doing it at some 2,000m above sea level.
- Try not to leave this until the last minute – start at least six weeks before the start of your holiday and you’ll notice a big difference.
- Ideally, head to the gym; however, if this is not possible then at least think about using the stairs instead of escalators and up your level of exercise any way you can. Try whenever possible to get yourself a little bit out of breath.
- Get on a bike, go running, rowing or hiking for 20 minutes three times a week – this will provide you with a solid base and limit your risk of injury.
Beginner Kids’ Lessons – Things For Parents To Remember ☺
- Sun cream in all weather
- Well-fitted helmet
- Not cold – layering works well
- Hydration before and during the lesson
- Boots on the right feet
- Goggles and glasses
- Socks to be above the height of the ski boot
- Lift pass in advance of the lesson
- Encourage your kids to ski, but don’t add pressure to learn … make it fun
- During the lesson, it’s often better if parents are not hanging around distracting the children – maybe watch from afar?
- In advance of the lessons, let your kids get used to playing with other kids without you being around
- Money for a drink and a snack ☺
- Well-fitted ski boots
- Skis correctly sized
- Instructors that speak their language
- Avoid over-tiredness
The Altitude winter company portfolio includes the ski and snowboard school, the Futures instructor training programmes and FREERIDE VERBIER, a new school dedicated to off-piste coaching in Verbier.
For more information, please contact us on: 0041 27 771 6006; [email protected].
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