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Best approach for first two ski days of the season?


Angel Diva
Wondering what advice Divas have for the first two ski days of the season? Let's start by assuming for this discussion that someone has waited for at least week after Opening Day so that conditions are at least okay and there is more than just 1-2 WRODs to choose from.

When giving advice, be good to note what level skier you are and what region you ski in the most.


Angel Diva
I start my ski season at my home mountain where I have a season pass, which is a small hill in northern VA. The advantage is that it's pretty hard to overdo it. Massanutten often only had 2-3 blue/black trails open even the first week of January. Even so, for the first day I usually don't plan on skiing all day long. Always like to be on the slopes first thing. May only ski for an hour or so after lunch. I just have fun on Day 1. Not thinking about technique or drills at all. Mostly trying to get my feet used to being in ski boots.

When my second day is immediately after the first day, I'll do a few basic drills like side slipping.

For those who don't know me, I'm an older advanced skier who was an adventurous intermediate 15 years ago. My approach to starting the season has changed over the last decade, partially because of taking lessons so that now I know more drills related to fundamentals. Getting good boots and my own skis also made a bit of a difference.


Angel Diva
I've never really thought about this but I approach the first few days similarly. Take it easy, re-discover the feeling on skis, play with the edges. Don't go all out, get the legs muscles used to it, test out my level of conditioning. Make it a shorter day. Sounds like it's similar to your strategy, @marzNC . First days are usually at Mammoth, but if Big Bear has been successful at blowing snow, I go there too.

For those who don't know me, I'm an older intermediate/advanced skier.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Half days are my usual for most of the season because where I ski on weekends (Big Bear) either gets too crowded or conditions deteriorate in the afternoons. That aside, I start ASAP and am a lover of the WROD! I take it easy, have some fun and get my legs back. I’m an intermediate/advanced skier.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ski? lol

When I was an intermediate I guess it was more of a "How do I turn these things again???" on day 1. I guess now I just work on getting the feel of it again and work on getting back to where I was at the end of last season the first day or two. Shake off the cobwebs so to speak. And first day or two around here usually 1 or 2 trails open... usually greens, maybe a section of a not steep black if you're lucky.

Me: Pennsylvania Poconos, low advanced skier
I have little to add, about to start my second season. I’m a beginner-intermediate, or I was last year.

My big plan involves waiting for a few more trails to open, start my day (season) on green trails and don’t push it. Oh! And make my list of what to pack! I used the list all last year, big help!
This season will be different for me as have been rehabbing torn ACL and meniscus sans surgery so will definitely take it easy my first few days. I will *try* to stick to cruising groomers and get my mojo back. I was injured on March 12 and missed out on the long season. Usually don't ski until December and some times even January so we'll see.
I mostly ski in Tahoe but always travel somewhere every year to ski.
If I had to rate my skiing, I would say advanced .

heather matthews

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
For the last few years I've had the luxury of at least 3 weeks in the NH in February and then our own season starting down here in NZ in June and I treat them very differently.In the NH I'm straight into it no matter the weather because it's February and I haven't skied since October and I'm excited and its a vacation.At home the start maybe scatchy conditions wise so I definitely ease myself into it(for a morning at least!!)and I wont go out if the weather is awful.In terms of my ability,I'd say I was advanced and moderately aggressive.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
After years of going to ski the WROD, this year I'm waiting for a few more trails and more snow making.
Yes I try to Go slow, must make my feet get used to being in boots again, watching out for other skiers that aren't being wise is mandatory. Here in the East it gets dark so early I'm usually done by noon or 1pm.

I Can't wait to ski!! will go next week if conditions are ok at OKEMO
Thinking back to when I was working and an intermediate who was only skiing during a ski vacation out west every 2-3 years, my first few runs were always on greens. Assuming conditions were decent and that felt good, then would find an easy blue. For a destination resort, usually pretty close by. I was only cruising groomers back then and mostly skiing solo even if I was sharing lodging with people who skied.

When a mountain had a free mountain tour, I would do the tour the first morning if there was good visibility. Depended on how many ski days I was planning to have at that mountain. I remember doing the Snowbird tour on the first day because it was a ski club trip with lift tickets to multiple mountains. The second Snowbird day was a powder day with no visibility due to ongoing snow. The rest of the intermediate didn't ski at all. I rode up the canyon with some advanced skiers. It was good that I knew how to get over to the Baby Thunder lift. I had a pretty good time that day since I had those runs pretty much to myself.

By the second day where there wasn't a free mountain tour, I would usually do the first run on a green but spend the rest of the morning exploring new blues. After a hot lunch, I would stay on trails that I'd already skied before in the afternoon. Generally off the slopes by 2:30 or 3:00. The goal was to do the last run from top to bottom without stopping. Not fast, just steady.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This year I'm planning on skipping the very crowded first weekends when there's just a WROD open. My ski season is too precious to risk getting slammed into by some yoyo skiing out of control through the crowd. I suspect I'll start skiing the day after Thanksgiving.

I'll spend day one going stupid slow, fine-tuning my flat-ski turns by doing flat 360s in both directions, which will take a while to do successfully. Then I'll work on railroad tracks, again on near-flat terrain, working on controlling my stance width and making two identical pencil-thin tracks in the snow. That too will take time. If by the end of day one I have done both of those in an OK fashion, I'll consider the start of the season a gold-star one. I may not be able to pull that off.

Variations of those, and hybrids, plus some attempts at one-ski skiing will fill up day two and three. I have an unfixed alignment issue which will be problematic with all three of these tasks (spins, rails, and one-ski skiing), so I may be in the lodge pulling the boots off and the liners out and putting in shims under the liner, or maybe I'll mess with under-boot shims. I'm not certain how to proceed yet.

If the early terrain has bumps or whales, I'll definitely play on those. I can't miss out on that fun. Then once there is enough terrain open to avoid the crowds, I'll let loose and fly a bit.
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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm an advanced skier, the biggest thing I am always working on is "long leg/short leg" and actively lengthening and shortening my legs throughout the turn (I forget what the official term for this is?) . I feel like my knees like to just lock out especially early season and so I really make an effort to start loosening up my knees and hips (to get good rotation) right away. I also love to do lots of shuffling. I find it really helps for identifying when you are out of balance, if you can't shuffle your feet back and forth throughout the turn its pretty good feedback that you are out of balance! And then just making turns of a variety of sizes.
Tomorrow I plan to head to Wachusset for some early season turns so we will see if I stick to the plan!


Angel Diva
I have little to add, about to start my second season. I’m a beginner-intermediate, or I was last year.

My big plan involves waiting for a few more trails to open, start my day (season) on green trails and don’t push it. Oh! And make my list of what to pack! I used the list all last year, big help!
What's your list to pack? Please share!

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