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First Time Skier Information


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Lessons are the only way to go for an absolute beginner. However, I have brought my brother and more recently two friends down easy green runs for the first time. I think I did this, because the first time I skied was on a week long trip and on the third afternoon one of my friends, an experienced skier, brought me down an easy green and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it really helped my confidence. The mistake I made with my brother was bringing him up a chairlift for the first time! I suffered for this mistake and now I never bring anyone up a lift unless they have already been up with an instructor. Ideally you should ski with the beginner on the bunny slope before taking them higher up or if you don't have the chance, at least talk to them about what they've already done - their description of their own progress will probably be enough for you to judge what they're able for. Never bring a beginner down a run you haven't already skied yourself. You forget how steep a green run can seem to a beginner, so you need to have the easiest way down in your head before you start. Be patient. Don't ski with beginners if you're not prepared to ski really slowly a short distance ahead of them, in a wedge if necessary and side-step up the mountain to help them up when they fall! I skied down a green run from the top of a mountain yesterday with a friend on her third day. The rest of the group, some of whom are just a few days more experienced, wanted to eat lunch at the top of the mountain and ski down. I would have killed this plan had I not been prepared to ski down slowly with my friend. Sure enough, the others abandoned us about a quarter of the way down. My friend did great. She took a few spills - one when I said "Great, you're skiing parallel" and she got scared at her own speed :D - but nothing remotely scary. I didn't laugh when she said "oh gosh, that's a bit steep" but instead made her look back up the mountain at what she had already skied down. She finished her day with a few more practice runs on the bunny slope and an easier green at the bottom, while I headed off and skied a few of the blacks. She's looking forward to her next ski trip:thumbsup: Looking at this from the beginner's perspective, I guess my advice would be to ski with someone who's a fairly experienced skier - if they're only skiing greens themselves, they're not good enough to take you down. They should also be someone you trust, probably with a similiar approach to life in general as yourself. If you think your friends are a bit crazy off the hill, maybe you should take a few more lessons before skiing with them.


Diva in Training
Excellent advice. I was just offering pretty much the exact same advice to a friend of mine who is all revved up to try skiing for the first time. He kept telling me that he's had offers from people to teach him from different places in the world. He was trying to convince me to give him a freebie lesson. I told him that no way in the world was I going to do that without requiring him to pay for a lesson with a certified instructor. I think he was trying to save $$ on instruction, but I advised him that you can't put a price tag on your noggin' or having to fly home with rods in your leg.

I hope he doesn't try and get the free lesson from the other offers. I told him that regardless of the person's skiing ability and/or how long they've been at it, it doesn't mean they can teach it.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think he was trying to save $$ on instruction, but I advised him that you can't put a price tag on your noggin' or having to fly home with rods in your leg.

I hope he doesn't try and get the free lesson from the other offers. I told him that regardless of the person's skiing ability and/or how long they've been at it, it doesn't mean they can teach it.
AMEN sista!!


Angel Diva
Something else on taking lessons. Even the kids need to take lessons from insturctors not family/friends.

This is SO important. :thumbsup:

My DH and I have done a little *teaching* with our kids, but really only when they have been about 2yo and too young for ski school. At that point, it's really just about getting them interested/excited, and learning by walking around on skis. They don't really have the muscle strength/understanding of their physiology to make the skis do what they need to to stay in a *pizza.*

As soon as they are old enough for ski school, it is an expense, but a necessary one. And really, really worthwhile. It's awesome to see your kids REALLY learning, and I have rarely seen a parent with the patience to do a good job teaching, aside from a few pointers. Kids, no matter how much you love them, are frustrating and mercurial, and they also don't understand things in the same terms as adults. Kid coaching is best left to the professionals, with a couple of cheerleading/admiration runs with the parents at the end of the day.

IMO, there's nothing worse than seeing little kids who are out of control, screaming down the hill with parents following (too far) behind. . . unless it's a kid without real ski skills crying or otherwise upset and frozen on a slope that's far above their ability (and sometimes their parents'). That's not to say that kids don't just get worried and cry on something within their skill level (my 5yo is very emotional, and did a lot of *mind over matter* crying last year in ski school), but there is a difference.

For example. . .

Last week, when I was at Copper. I rode a lift up over a green run. Near the top of the lift, I saw a young kid, a boy, maybe 8yo or 9yo, who had lost a ski and was unable to get it back on. Even from the lift, I could tell the binding had *popped,* but he didn't know, and his parents, who were down the hill a few yards, didn't get it either, nor were they making a move toward him. Just yelling at him to get up and then to get the ski on.

So I stopped and helped him and talked very reassuringly. Reset the binding. Helped him get the ski back on. . . at which point he TOTALLY freaked out that he was sliding a little (clearly ill-equipped and scared and not ready for the big hill), windmilled like crazy, and took me out, tangling his skis with mine. ONLY THEN did Daddy come uphill, out of his skis (because he clearly didn't know how to skate or sidestep uphill) and *sort of* help.

Once all was in order, I watched them ski off. Kid was totally tentative and nervous-- and no wonder. His parents were not much better than he was, and clearly unequipped to teach or assist in difficult situations.

They ALL belonged in ski school, but especially that poor kid.


Diva in Training
Ski School is a MUST. I would even take choosing the instructor seriosely. In terms of "clicking" with him/her. Everything matters.


Certified Ski Diva

Hopeless, how was your trip to Whistler? Please tell us about it on your other thread? Glad to see you back on this site, are you at risk of changing from "Hopeless" to "Hopeless Addict"?


Diva in Training

just want to thank you for all the support. I can call myself an advanced beginner now. Still looking forward to my trip to Cuba with much more enthusiasm than to Whistler, but at least we have an agreement on how to spend vacations (I will be going to ski trips only once a year and ski only when I feel like skiing).

Just another word about a proper instructor. I went to women's clinic this time and do not regret it. So they do make sence.


Diva in Training
you're completely right

Before this season, I had only skied once in my life, more than 10 years ago (I'm now 27). I went skiing with a few friends (not friends anymore, actually), all of them at an advanced level except me and another girl who had never skied before. Well, the first trail we TRIED to ski was a BLUE+RED trail :fear: They said "come on, it's not that difficult!" And just left us there, without even knowing what to do with the poles, and barely explaining what the wedge was.

Of course, I was scared to death and thought I'd better take my skis off and walk down. However, I discovered that walking on the snow was extremely difficult so, in the end, I somehow managed to ski down (not withouth falling down a number of times, of course).

Apart from that, I wasn't wearing proper clothes, so I was quite cold. I certainly don't remember it as a wonderful day, even though I obviously spent the rest of the day alone skiing greens (which was much better than the first experience).

I never skied again. It's not a cheap hobby and I hadn't enjoyed it that much the first time, so why should I? This season, though, my brothers (who do love skiing and go skiing often) convinced me to go skiing for a weekend. Among a few other friends, there was a guy who had never skied before. We went to the beginners trail and hey, it was much easier than I remembered! My brother taught us the basics, and we went down the beginners trail a few times before getting on the chairlift towards an easy green. Bad idea. :nono: The boy who had never skied before struggled for a loooooooong time before being able to ski the green trail. So we basically spent the first day waiting for him all the time (and I couldn't do much for him anyway, since I was also a beginner). I spent the second day skiing greens on my own; that way I didn't feel "pressured" (that is, nobody was waiting for me, I could ski down as slowly and carefully as I wanted). At least I learnt more than the first day... As for the other boy, he stayed on the beginner's trail, but he didn't have much fun that weekend (I have to say, though, that he wasn't very excited about going skiing on the first place). But I now understand that he would have had more fun if he had been with an instructor.

I have learnt on my own this season (I go skiing with my boyfriend -who's never taken lessons either-, he does blacks with his snowblades and I stay in blues/reds); however, the first thing I'll do next season will be getting a lesson (or a few ones). I'm sure I will improve a lot!

And, undoubtedly, the first thing I'll recommend to friends who have never skied will be taking a lesson. Actually, from now on I guess I won't go skiing with someone who has never skied before if they refuse to take a lesson.

I just realised how long this post is. Sorry!!! :redface:


Certified Ski Diva
i just went my first time skiing this past february with my boyfriend, who is an Okay skier. Luckily, we did take a class, but i did get a bit frustrated from falling so often!
Great advice!


Angel Diva
New Season - New Lesson

Greetings All!

As our summer ramps up, your winter kicks in.


And what better time to re-iterate this thread!

1) Lessons lessons lessons
2) listen to your tired body - USUALLY don't do that one last hard run...
3) pockets a plenty - chapstick in arm/wrist pocket. Everything else internal individual pockets.
4) no cotton, layering, correct clothing
5) ski smart & have a small map of the mountain in your pocket just in case
6) have fun

I wish our winter was only just beginning again...


Certified Ski Diva
what great responses...i started skiing 3 years ago and on my first trip at alta i took lessons...it was the best decision ever...even though my beau is an expert skiier...better to learn from someone that teaches beginners every day! if you are just starting...take lessons....


Certified Ski Diva
I wish everyone would read this post. I ski patrol and also have been an instructor and I can't even count the times when I had to help someone off the hill that really should not be there. Or worse, they hurt themselves.
I really don't understand why people figure they can just go and take their friends to the top of the hill the first time out without consequences. I have wished lessons were mandatory.
Maybe we should have ski and boarding 'drivers licenses'.:thumbsup:
I know that will never happen, but I can dream right!!!!!
I have been skiing for 42 years:bounce: and still take a few lessons every year. I always learn something.


Angel Diva
angelkeys said, "Maybe we should have ski and boarding 'drivers licenses'."

It'd be great if newbies wore SOMETHING - even if their lift tix were a different colour!
In Aust, the tickets flap about on your jacket - quite visible.
Are they in other countries like that?

I always stop if someone looks as though they are in trouble, but maybe I would extra keep an eye out for bright tickets ....

Just a thought....


Angel Diva
But then - identifying a new skier/a beginner etc etc ....

See, TECHNICALLY I would be a newbie - only done EVER 12.5days!
Yet, by no stretch of the imagination am I a "newbie".
I was doing blacks as at day 10.5 this year!
Yes, in control and hockey stops .....


But by all means, I'd wear a Freshie Ticket :smile::smile:
Who knows, maybe it'd work in my favour :smile::smile:

snow addict

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think skiing is so counter-intuitive that lessons are absolutely mandatory. On the other hand before I began skiing a friend of mine took me up the mountain snowboarding and it was fine, but then I used to skateboard when I was a kid and wake boarded later, so it must have helped but I have to admit I was still quite a bit scared going down. My friend in his turn is a very good snowboarder and he actually has never had any lessons at all, he taught himself utilising skills from skateboarding and watching instruction videos. Started when he was in his twenties and 15 years on he can do some quite extreme things.
But I don't think skiing is anything like this. I did lot of cross-country at school, even raced, water-skied and I don't think it was any useful , maybe only in terms of general fitness as my legs seem to be stronger than they look and I never work out apart from very occasional run (must be dry and warm, not hot) or a bike ride (the same). Had a gym membership but went there only twice in a year and cancelled it to stop wasting money.
Anyway, I find that alpine skiing requires a totally different and special set of skills and has its own logic, so a qualified guidance will be needed to grasp it.


Certified Ski Diva
Totally agree. Took my friend skiing last season, insisted she got lessons, by the end of day 4 she was really enjoying herself. We managed to ski together a few times, I followed one of her lessons taking pictures. Both of us had a really good time.


Certified Ski Diva
Add to the List

As a newbie myself, I have a few suggestions to add to the list:
1) find a ski buddy of similar ability
2) stop when you are tired, cold, or start skiing worse than before
3) be patient

My friend taught me my basics in a couple hours on his mountain last year. He suggested I get a lesson to start off this year, but at Mount Snow the lessons were $100 (eeek), so I couldn't afford one.

I've been improving every time I go out even without taking a lesson, but I've also been making sure to keep it fun and keep it safe. I think the biggest issue beginners have when skiing with friends is getting in over their heads.

Skiing smart is just as important as skiing well.


This thread has been a good influence! I'm going skiing for the first time tomorrow, and originally my friend was just going to teach me. Now, I'm definitely taking a lesson first - thankfully it's only $30/one hour private lesson, or $75 for a 3-lesson deal - totally doable and well worth it I'm sure. The only thing is I think we'll be going to several different mountains in Montana over the next few weeks but I'm planning on doing lessons at those too. Thanks ladies!


Certified Ski Diva
All is great information & I will be taking lessons soon. This is the best site & great group of Ski Divas that are awesome.

Thank you, Thank you, Many pats on your shoulders for helping those in need of help & all the wonderful advice you give newbies as myself.


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