Videos and Tips
Here's some quick tips to help you before you go skiing or snowboarding for the first time.
Tip #1 - Your First Lesson: What to Expect and How to Prepare
Learning to ski or snowboard can be an exciting life-changing experience. New gear and new lesson plans are making it easier than ever.
Before arriving at your venue of choice, look at the trail map online and review the resort layout. Check out the beginner trails and the names of the lifts. Familiarize yourself with signs and find out where facilities like the base lodge, rental area and ticket sales areas are located.
The Ski and Snowboard Responsibility Code is like a drivers' manual for the slopes and good to know. It only takes a few minutes and it is important information.
Although you probably will get equipment as part of your newcomer lessons, consider visiting a local ski and snowboard shop in your community to familiarize yourself with equipment in advance. The retailer locator guide on www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org is a good resource.
Just walk around and look at the gear. Try on a pair of boots to get the feel of them. They are not like street shoes. Walk around in them and learn how to use the buckles. Shop personnel can answer questions for you. ·You can learn about the different parts and components of your gear and what they are called—and hopefully their purpose!
When you get equipment that’s part of your lesson package, make sure that your boots fit comfortably before you walk out of the rental area onto the hill for your lesson. If you have questions on how to wear or use your gear, ask the rental area staff before going to your first lesson.·
When you are ready, you can proceed to your group or private lesson meeting area—there should be signs. Your instructor will guide you in what you need to know. As a first-time skier or snowboarder, your lesson will probably take place in a learning area.·Generally, this area is separated or marked off from the rest of the ski area for slower skiing and riding. The area is much flatter with more gradual terrain.·
Your instructor can help you get to know the equipment and how to use it. One of the first things you will do is learn how to walk, skate, and glide.·You probably will practice on flat terrain and learn how to slide on one ski before putting both of them on. Or, you will learn to glide on a snowboard with one foot. You will practice balance and what it feels like to glide on snow.
This may feel awkward at first because it is new and different.·Your instructor should give you tips to make it easier, but you can begin practicing this while waiting for your lesson to start. Becoming familiar with the equipment helps make your first lesson easier and more enjoyable.
Don’t be fearful but know that you probably will fall. Getting up is one of the first things you will learn.. ·How to stop is another basic maneuver. Instructors usually have students hike a short distance up the hill so you can practice gliding to a controlled, gradual stop on a very slight incline.·
When you are ready, your instructor will show you how to load and ride the uphill transportation provided by the ski area. This could be a Magic Carpet, rope tow, Poma, T-bar or a variety of chairlifts. The best lift to use for the first time is the Magic Carpet. This is a slow moving, rubber mat that you stand on with your skis or snowboard. It moves you up the hill slowly. You can look around and enjoy the view!
Other easy lifts to try are detachable, high-speed chairlifts. These slow down as they get close to you so you have plenty of time to get on or off. Many ski resorts in the U.S. now have Magic Carpets in learning areas to help beginners ease into their new sport.
Rope tows, Pomas and T-bars have been largely phased out in the U.S. The rope tow is exactly what it sounds like. You hold onto a rope that pulls you up the hill while your skis or snowboard glide. The Poma is a round disk that is placed under the buttocks. It also pulls you uphill. Don’t try to sit on it though. A T-Bar is actually an upside down “T” that enables two people to move uphill at the same time.··
Each of these mechanical devices is a little different. Take as much time as necessary to learn how to ride the lifts before you use them.·You can do this by observing others, asking the lift attendant and other ski resort employees for assistance.·There may also be signs in the lift lines indicating how to use the transport.
Remember you are learning something new and exciting when going into your first lesson.·It takes time. A positive attitude leads to a positive experience.·If something doesn't work the first time, try again.·This goes for everything—from your equipment, to your ski instructor, to the ski area and to the weather.·
Don't forget to check out the What to Wear information. It is important·to be prepared for the elements with the right clothing. Good luck and have fun!
Tip # 2 Other Activities
Skiers and snowboarders will find a wide variety of activities at winter venues today. Even if you are not quite ready to try skiing or snowboarding, there are often many other options. You don’t have to sit around and watch others have fun. Or, even worse, stay home.
One option is snow tubing where you sit in an inflated tube and slide down a hilly lane with a flat run out at the bottom. Anyone who has sledded as a child can re-live that childhood on a snow tube. Snow tube parks general are in a separate area from the ski and snowboard slopes.·
Another option is snowshoeing, a great way to get in an hour’s worth of exercise. Snowshoeing also offers an opportunity to explore the winter scenery. Being able to walk is the only requirement. Modern snowshoes are sleek and streamlined, made of aluminum or graphite. and are very light. Your excursion can vary from a strenuous, calorie-burning hike up a hill side or mountain to a leisurely stroll on flat terrain. ·
To start simply go to the rental area at the mountain or a nearby sports shop for fitting. Wearing some type of boot is highly recommended. Poles are optional and can help with balance and stability.
Some areas, like Camelback in Pennsylvania and Jay Peak in Vermont, have build water parks that feature pools, slides and “rivers”. Others have mountain coasters (a bob sled-type vehicle that allows you to control your speed as you descend the mountain on a track.· Zip lines, while not generally available at smaller venues, are becoming more popular as a year ‘round activity.
Most larger resorts have a variety of lodging options with state-of-the-art fitness facilities, indoor or outdoor pools and hot tubs. Ice-skating is another popular option at many resorts. Some have performing arts centers offering other options for entertainment. Stowe, Vermont, and Park City, Utah are two such examples.
Shopping is enjoyable for many visitors to mountain resorts. Most have at least a couple of shops and many have a large variety as part of a base lodge complex, slope side village or walk-to town centers. The bottom line is there is fun to be had both on and off the slopes!