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First Time Skier Information

NJSkiGirl

Diva in Training
Hi, ladies!

This is my first time joining a discussion group for skiing, as I've just recently became interested in it. I think it's wonderful that there is a forum specifically for women interested in skiing and I'm so excited to be a part of it!

The very first discussion I browsed for was beginning skiing since this is what I can relate to most right now. Every tip and piece of advice given here was RIGHT ON.

I truly enjoyed reading everyone's experiences and so, wanted to share mine! Here's my background story on how I "learned" to ski (or rather, roll down a mountain screaming for "help!"):

I grew up in a male dominated skiing family. My father, grandfather, uncle and cousins were all avid and experienced skiers who frequented Sugar Bush, Jackson Hole, Tahoe, etc. I was introduced to skiing at the ripe young age of 5, being held up between my father's legs as he seamlessly glided down and I was just along for the ride. I thought it was fun! After all, I was "skiing!", right?

Every year after that, I would tag along with my father once a year. With each year that I grew older, my father would truly try to teach me on the bunny slopes himself. With each year passing, I would become more fearful of our annual "ski day," as all I could really look forward to was lots and lots of falling and crying in frustration, since I didn't quite understand exactly what to do. I remember asking my father, "Why can't I take a lesson?" and he would respond: "You have the hang of it, just lean from side to side." In my head, I thought, "Easy enough!" However, when putting those words into action... not so much.

Around middle school, I refused to go any more with him, as I knew exactly what I could expect. It wasn't like any other sport I participated in, where it came naturally. This sport was HARD and I figured to myself, "I never grew up by the mountains, no point in learning how to ski!" My skiing days, I thought, were just a fond childhood memory.

One day, two years ago, fresh out of college, I actually accepted my father's invitation to go for a day of skiing. I figured, eh, why not, it'll be good exercise... and maybe, just maybe, after all of these times going, it may actually click!

So, off to Mountain Creek, we go. He brings me up to one of the green trails for our very first run: "This is green, you'll be fine, just lean side to side... and if you're going too fast, just fall down and I'll help you up." I'm sure you can anticipate what came next, but just in case: spinning wildly out of control, poles flying, screaming, crying, FRIGHT. I was angry with my father and angry with the sport for failing me. And there, I declared, my skiing days are done. Never. Ever. Again.

On a side note, I managed to pizza wedge it all the way down, but I won't lie: That was the scariest experience of my entire life. And you can bet where I ended up the rest of the time (hot chocolate and snow lodge) :smile:

Fast forward to now: one of my closest girlfriends texts me and asks me I'd be interested in snowboarding. No, I told her, but I'd give skiing a shot if you don't mind letting me take lessons for a day. Go right ahead, she said... if you feel like tackling a green after the lessons, I'll go down with you!

While this first experience was much more pleasant (the lessons were great fun and certainly gave me some beginner's confidence that I needed to give the sport another go), I learned yet another lesson: try to find another skier to go with.

I was in a group of 2 girls and 5 guys who were AMAZING snowboarders! While most of them used to be skiers and tried to give me some pointers, it just wasn't working for me. They zoomed past me and I looked (and felt) again like the scared girl, while a little more in control this time around, that I was a few years ago.

As they basically lapped me and tried to yell words of encouragement in my ear as they pointed out how "tense I looked" (thanks, guys, as if I don't already know), I would take lots of rests here and there and just observe the skiers going down. I took in their moves and how effortlessly they made it look. What I'd GIVE to be at their level- wait, I am going to get there, I decided- EVENTUALLY!

I stuck with it this time around though and actually felt, to an extent, that I was skiing. I was able to finally link turns and start sliding my ski's to a more parallel fashion, rather than the pizza. I still maintained the pizza on the steeper parts that I wasn't yet confident I could do. But, being the perfectionist I am, reluctantly accepted that it was okay and next time, we'll work even harder.

While I definitely took in everyone's words of advice: "loosen up, get a rhythm going, put your weight on your inside leg, keep going, if you don't fall, you aren't trying hard enough, etc." the only one that truly resonated with me was, "Keep at it and I promise you will get it."

3 afternoons later of various green trails, I can truly say that I am on my way to being a proficient skier! It's going to take some time, may not even click until next season, but until then- I have plans to go a few more times, enjoy a weekend in VT and take a private lesson there.

My opinion of skiing has COMPLETELY changed and this has been the refreshing challenge that I needed in my life right now. While I still get frustrated and want to give up, I know that I have potential. I believe I'm naturally athletic and once I get a private lesson to show me exactly what I'm doing wrong, I will be able to pick it up and it will click.

In closing, just wanted to reiterate, as if we all didn't know by now:

-GET LESSONS! Consecutive days would be great (I plan on doing that in VT in 2 weeks).

-Go with encouraging people that are sensitive to your skill level. (I had some people that wanted me to do blue's on my first run down... uhh, sorry, buddy. I'll meet ya at the lodge in an hour.) There are going to be a mixture of skills in your group. Unless you're the SUPER competitive, fearless type- I wouldn't even try to keep up with the skilled ones. I've realized it's not worth the fear and danger that you're putting yourself at risk for. They're skilled for a reason- they have experience- you DON'T.

-Understand it's possible to fall. Knowing the "rules of the mountain" and just etiquette can help you feel more confident in knowing what to do when and if you should fall and how to prevent this. Respect the mountain. Always be observant of what's up around you. It's OKAY to take your time. People WILL ski around you.

-Don't be afraid to give it a shot by yourself. I found that when I
separated from the group and just had some alone time to take my time and not feel pressured to keep up, I did way better. I also got sort of insecure whenever all the snowboarders would wait for me to go first, knowing that they'd zoom past me eventually. I'm getting over this fear, though, as I've accepted that we are all at different levels and it's okay.

-On lifts- (whew, another story in itself), go with someone who can tell you what do your first time on there. I went with someone who is an experienced skier and he failed to tell me not to put my poles down early and my leg literally got jammed between the chair and the slope that came before the off-ramp of the lift. Luckily, it came loose just in time, but I barrelled down, taking him down with me. It was a scary and rough situation to start my morning with, and I hate to say it but, I learned from my huge mistake. Now lifts are a piece of cake for me. :becky:

-Additionally, on lifts, it's very obvious that I'm inexperienced. People take advantage of that and tend to barrel past me and cut me in line. Annoying, yes, but nothing you can do about it except gain confidence every time you go- knowing etiquette again is important and just knowing the system- I've found each ski resort is somewhat different. Now, if I have people that look like they're going to cut me, I'll proceed to go as I was going and if I ride with them, so be it- I don't care if I slow them down either because I'm taking my time. I was there in line and I'm entitled to my place! :p (those moves certainly came with time, though! lol)

-Be wary of how your equipment fits. One day I had boots that fit like a glove, the next I had boots that were falling off me, and the third, I had boots that turned my toes purple (miserable skiing day- made NO progress). It was tough, and I basically had my snowboarding friends tell me, "Suck it up, ski boots suck, you just gotta suck it up" Well, turns out that the boot was a size smaller than the other one... hmm... I wonder if THEY would have sucked it up! :laughter:

-That brings me to my last piece of advice: Go with your gut. It will keep you safe and also allow you to be more confident. I've found skiing to be such a unique, beautiful and challenging sport, it's NOT one that will come naturally, no matter how athletic you are. Those people that make it look so amazingly graceful, can do so for a reason- they probably have gone a LOT more than you! :p

Would love to hear stories from any other skiers! Can't wait until I can label myself as: EXPERIENCE Skier. :wink:

Have fun and enjoy the slopes, everyone!!!
 

ChgoSkier

Certified Ski Diva
Welcome, NJSkiGirl. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad that you were able to overcome your initial fear of skiing and branch out on your own. I think this thread is a great resource for first-timers and for people taking first-timers.

Here are a few things that I try to remember when going with first-timers:

  • Each person learns at their own pace. Some will be natural. Some not.
  • Stopping and turning may be an issue with some people. Give pointers, but don't expect them to do it right away. Be patient. I always say to myself "easier said than done." Chances are that they are going to be tense and already have information overload from their lesson.
  • What I think is a flat green is not going to be a flat green to a first-timer. To them, it will probably be like a steep blue (or even black).
I recently took two friends out to ski for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The one friend had actually wanted to try skiing for years. Finally, the timing was right. I was hoping she would ask another friend to come with us so that she would have someone her level to take a lesson with. I had no problem if it were just the two of us, but I thought that she would feel more comfortable to have someone with her learning from square one and to commiserate with, as well. The stars were aligned and the three of us made arrangements to go for the day mid-week to avoid the crowds.

After their lesson and some practice runs, they wanted to try the longer green run, so the three of us headed over there. My one friend was slowly but surely cruising her way down. Unfortunately, it looked steep at one point and my other friend panicked. She got about a quarter of the way down before giving up. I stayed with her and tried to help her down. I suggested she traverse all the way across the wide run to slowly make her way down. I got the are-you-crazy look. I tried to show her how to sideslip/step down (one of the first things my boyfriend had taught me in case I got stuck somewhere too steep). I got the are-you-crazy look a second time. She was too freaked out to move. The only other option was to walk down to the chairlift and I told her that I could carry her skis. I got the are-you-crazy look again, but she popped them off. As she slowly began her ascent down using her poles, we heard an engine noise. I looked back and said "Oh, I think cavalary has arrived." This time she gave me the are-you-sh*tting-me look. I think a ski instructor with a student who had passed us earlier may have called for reinforcements. She was so embarrassed that she had to be snowmobiled off a green run. Our other friend had been waiting for close to 10 minutes at the bottom. Someone had asked her "Are you waiting for those two girls? It's going to be a while because they aren't even moving."

To her credit, despite the snowmobile, she kept skiing for the rest of the day. She stayed on the first run (where her lesson was held). That was her comfort zone and she was happy. At the end of the day, they both said they had a great time and they both said they would definitely be up for doing this again.

When planning for this trip, I went over a few things ahead of time before they made the commitment (these were apropos to my friends and to where we went):

  • Skiing is not cheap. I gave them a run-down on the costs (lift ticket, rentals, lessons, food options, etc) so there won't be any surprises when they get there. If there is a learn-to-ski package, even better. If you want to save a little more money (or calories), feel free to pack a lunch. You might not be in the mood for pizza, burgers or chili.
  • You must take a lesson. I won't teach you. I would like us to remain friends before AND after the trip.
  • Don't buy anything too expensive for skiing in case you decide you never want to ski again (unless you really want to buy it). Try to borrow the stuff from someone or you might even be able to rent it. It's typically snow pants or goggles. It can be an minor investment, but where I live, there isn't too much use for it outside of skiing.
  • You're probably going to be sore the next day. You'll be using muscles you didn't you had.
  • You're going to fall. It happens. It's nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Skiing for the first time is not like in the movies. We won't be hanging around the lodge drinking cocktails and singing songs around the fire.
  • You plan on doing your hair and makeup? You're going to have hat/helmet head. Your makeup will get smooshed by your goggles. You still plan on doing your hair and makeup? OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.
  • You think you're going to meet a man while we're there for the day? We picked the mid-week because it's going to be empty. You still think you're going to meet a man while we're there for the day? OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.
  • Bring a book. In case you find that after your lesson or lunch, you don't like skiing <gasp>, there are other people on this trip that want to finish up the day skiing.
  • Have fun. Even if skiing is not your thing, we all just spent the day hanging out together. How awesome is that?
We had an awesome time.
 

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Welcome, NJSkiGirl. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad that you were able to overcome your initial fear of skiing and branch out on your own. I think this thread is a great resource for first-timers and for people taking first-timers.

Here are a few things that I try to remember when going with first-timers:

  • Each person learns at their own pace. Some will be natural. Some not.
  • Stopping and turning may be an issue with some people. Give pointers, but don't expect them to do it right away. Be patient. I always say to myself "easier said than done." Chances are that they are going to be tense and already have information overload from their lesson.
  • What I think is a flat green is not going to be a flat green to a first-timer. To them, it will probably be like a steep blue (or even black).
I recently took two friends out to ski for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The one friend had actually wanted to try skiing for years. Finally, the timing was right. I was hoping she would ask another friend to come with us so that she would have someone her level to take a lesson with. I had no problem if it were just the two of us, but I thought that she would feel more comfortable to have someone with her learning from square one and to commiserate with, as well. The stars were aligned and the three of us made arrangements to go for the day mid-week to avoid the crowds.

After their lesson and some practice runs, they wanted to try the longer green run, so the three of us headed over there. My one friend was slowly but surely cruising her way down. Unfortunately, it looked steep at one point and my other friend panicked. She got about a quarter of the way down before giving up. I stayed with her and tried to help her down. I suggested she traverse all the way across the wide run to slowly make her way down. I got the are-you-crazy look. I tried to show her how to sideslip/step down (one of the first things my boyfriend had taught me in case I got stuck somewhere too steep). I got the are-you-crazy look a second time. She was too freaked out to move. The only other option was to walk down to the chairlift and I told her that I could carry her skis. I got the are-you-crazy look again, but she popped them off. As she slowly began her ascent down using her poles, we heard an engine noise. I looked back and said "Oh, I think cavalary has arrived." This time she gave me the are-you-sh*tting-me look. I think a ski instructor with a student who had passed us earlier may have called for reinforcements. She was so embarrassed that she had to be snowmobiled off a green run. Our other friend had been waiting for close to 10 minutes at the bottom. Someone had asked her "Are you waiting for those two girls? It's going to be a while because they aren't even moving."

To her credit, despite the snowmobile, she kept skiing for the rest of the day. She stayed on the first run (where her lesson was held). That was her comfort zone and she was happy. At the end of the day, they both said they had a great time and they both said they would definitely be up for doing this again.

When planning for this trip, I went over a few things ahead of time before they made the commitment (these were apropos to my friends and to where we went):

  • Skiing is not cheap. I gave them a run-down on the costs (lift ticket, rentals, lessons, food options, etc) so there won't be any surprises when they get there. If there is a learn-to-ski package, even better. If you want to save a little more money (or calories), feel free to pack a lunch. You might not be in the mood for pizza, burgers or chili.
  • You must take a lesson. I won't teach you. I would like us to remain friends before AND after the trip.
  • Don't buy anything too expensive for skiing in case you decide you never want to ski again (unless you really want to buy it). Try to borrow the stuff from someone or you might even be able to rent it. It's typically snow pants or goggles. It can be an minor investment, but where I live, there isn't too much use for it outside of skiing.
  • You're probably going to be sore the next day. You'll be using muscles you didn't you had.
  • You're going to fall. It happens. It's nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Skiing for the first time is not like in the movies. We won't be hanging around the lodge drinking cocktails and singing songs around the fire.
  • You plan on doing your hair and makeup? You're going to have hat/helmet head. Your makeup will get smooshed by your goggles. You still plan on doing your hair and makeup? OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.
    [*]You think you're to meet a man while we're there for the day? We picked the mid-week because it's going to be empty. You still think you're to meet a man while we're there for the day? OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.
  • Bring a book. In case you find that after your lesson or lunch, you don't like skiing <gasp>, there are other people on this trip that want to finish up the day skiing.
  • Have fun. Even if skiing is not your thing, we all just spent the day hanging out together. How awesome is that?
We had an awesome time.

:ROTF:
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
[*]You think you're going to meet a man while we're there for the day? We picked the mid-week because it's going to be empty. You still think you're going to meet a man while we're there for the day?

With all due respect to the ROFL icon above.....
Ummmm, it can happen. :wink:
Happened to me a "few" years back. On a Wednesday.
We're still married.
36 years. :becky:
 

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
With all due respect to the ROFL icon above.....
Ummmm, it can happen. :wink:
Happened to me a "few" years back. On a Wednesday.
We're still married.
36 years. :becky:

I was laughing at Chgoskier's preemptive advice :P And also giggling because it was cold and windy this weekend and everyone was so bundled up no one could see anyone's faces - in some cases I couldn't tell if a skier was a guy or a girl, lol. Of course this didn't stop my Creepy Yoga Guy from finding me at the lodge ... ick.
 

3VSki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've read this thread with great interest because I've convinced my sister and her husband and kids to try skiing - and they are up for a trip to the French Alps next season.

I so want them all to get it and already I'm trying to think of the best resort for good instructors, proximity to the beginners area from the chalet, as well as resorts with the best green (and perhaps blue) runs they can potentially progress to within the week. I am feeling the weight of responsibility with these decisions.

You all make it clear that they need to be very much left in the hands of the instructors for the week - I'm hoping that they are going to feel the love for skiing as much as my husband, my girls and I do. :love:
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
With all due respect to the ROFL icon above.....
Ummmm, it can happen. :wink:
Happened to me a "few" years back. On a Wednesday.
We're still married.
36 years. :becky:

You mean there's still hope? It'll be 40 degrees at the base tomorrow so people's faces will be showing and I'll be skiing in sunglasses, so there's no hiding anymore. I'm not sure how I feel about that--I go to the hill to ski, but I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I made a friend. :wink:

B.E.G., ick on creepy yoga guy! What's it going to take for him? Have you tried spilling coffee in his lap? :eyebrows:

3VSki, welcome! You've gotten some great advice, so just set your sister's family up and let them loose! Hopefully they'll have fun and come back for more.
 

canadianbelle

Certified Ski Diva
Lessons are the way to go. And practice, practice, practice.

My then-boyfriend (now husband!) was wise - he never took it upon himself to teach me how to ski officially. Instead, I signed up for a bunch of weekly lessons over 10 weeks (two hours per week) -- and in between those lessons, I took to the bunny hills on my own. My then-boyfriend would ski with me on the weekends, and he would advise me if I needed help, but not instruct (there is a difference).

Now, not only can I ski, but I also have a husband :smile:

Moral of the story: Getting a package of ski lessons will save your relationships AND you will also receive the right technical instruction and learn how to ski.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
bump

Forgot about all the great info in this thread. Good for beginners of any age (or their parents) or adults who are intermediates looking to have even more fun by learning more.
 

mustski

Angel Diva
Great bump! I hadn't even seen this thread before today. You are right ... everyone has a good beginner story and offering that "yup, been there and know what you mean" ... is great support.
 

Cruiser123

Certified Ski Diva
This is such great advice. I would love for my husband to give it a try, but he is reluctant. I would for sure encourage a lesson, I think trying to teach him would not go well for either of us.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
This is such great advice. I would love for my husband to give it a try, but he is reluctant. I would for sure encourage a lesson, I think trying to teach him would not go well for either of us.
Your comment reminded of this video of a 66yo man during his first ever day on skis. He started with a private ski lesson at Snowshoe, WV. He had a great time.
 

ruthies49

Angel Diva
I can attest to the "don't let friends teach you skiing". My husband took me up what he considered an "easy hill" at Mt Ashland where their motto is "It's steeper here". Needless to say I didn't ski again for 10 years until a couple of years ago in Alta where I took lessons. Now I am a much more confident skier who knows my limits much better than my husband (who doesn't know the word limit). BTW-he suffered a dislocated shoulder on demo skies on the last day of our Alta trip;)
 
Friends or family should never teach anyone how to do anything; surfing, skiing, snowboarding, whatever the case may be. You need to learn from a stranger because you'll be less likely to curse like a sailor and call them names when you get frustrated. I've had friends give me tips here and there with boarding and skiing but I already knew how to do it and it was just a finessing kinda thing.
 

ruthies49

Angel Diva
Friends or family should never teach anyone how to do anything; surfing, skiing, snowboarding, whatever the case may be. You need to learn from a stranger because you'll be less likely to curse like a sailor and call them names when you get frustrated. I've had friends give me tips here and there with boarding and skiing but I already knew how to do it and it was just a finessing kinda thing.

I don't need help cursing like a sailor, unfortunately;( How is the adjustment from powder to "ice" coast going? Never skied in the east yet but probably will late January 2015.
 
I don't need any help cursing like a sailor either :smile:. I believe I have adjusted quite well from skiing powder to life on the ice coast. I admit it was a little rough getting used to it but now its what I am used to. Its funny that how after a couple seasons my comfort level has switched. When its icy and hard packed which is most of the time is when I am most comfortable. I have this discussion with my boyfriend all the time but I think skiing on ice and hard packed makes you a better skier because you don't have the fluffy powder to grab your skis and provide a buffer. All you have is your edges and they better be sharp.
 

ruthies49

Angel Diva
As a somewhat new skier, I must say, I love powder and groomed runs. I do hit icy patches on some runs and I really have to pay attention to stay upright. I think you are correct that skiing on ice does make you a better skier;)
 

SkadiSkiGrrl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This thread is for those of you planning on skiing for the first time and those of you planning on taking someone skiing for the first time.

My background: I have been teaching people how to ski for 25 years. I can teach everything from beginners to upper levels and I have seen a lot of crazy things over the years.

To all first time skiers or those taking first time skiers please take LESSONS to get statrted!! Skiing can be an easy sport to learn but it is not an easy sport to teach if you have never done it!! If you are the one skiing for the first time please do not let your friends or family take you to the top of the hill as soon as you put your skis on. :nono: This is not how you learn to ski. I have seen this done more times than I care to remember and it never goes well. :( The best and safest way to learn is to take a lesson from the ski area's ski school. A lot of ski areas have a learn to ski package which inlcudes, rentals, a lesson, and a lift ticket for a lower price than buying it all separate so always ask before you pay for everything.

A note to those of you that are taking a first time skier out. Please have the person take a lesson. Trying to teach them yourself is not as easy as you think it is. Over the years I have had to save a lot of relationships for a lot of people, including ski instructors, that thought they could teach their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or siblings. If instructors have trouble teaching friends and relatives just think about how hard it will be if you have never taught skiing before.

First Time Skiers: What to do on your first day. Wear a ski jacket, ski pants, and ski gloves or mittens. You will want all of this to keep you dry because you will be falling down. Don't over dress with a lot of layers because you will be working hard and you will get hot quickly. If you are renting skis from the area's rental shop make sure you let your skis cool down before you put them on the snow. Stand with your skis apart for a few minutes until they are cold on the bottom!! If you put a warm ski on the cold snow the snow will melt that is under the ski and then the ski will cool down and the now water will freeze to the bottom of the ski and you will not be able to move. :( If you time it right you can walk to your lesson and let your instructor help you get your skis on. If you have time before your lesson and you have a freind to help you then have them help you put your skis on. Note to Friends :just show them how to walk around on their skis and do it where it is flat and they can't get into to trouble going down any hills!! Then take them to their lesson.

To First time skiers: Take some time to get fit. Learning to ski is a workout. I want you to fall in love with skiing and have FUN not get tired and frustrated on your first day. Remember that just because you took one lesson you may not be ready for the big hill. Don't let your friends take you up the hill until your instructor says so or until you have solid linked turns with complete speed contol and you can STOP no matter how fast you are going!! You may need 3 or 4 lessons before you are ready for the big hill. Take your time and do it right you don't want to get hurt. You want to have FUN!!!

Skiing is a great sport that is so much fun and I want everyone to have fun :yahoo: and not hate :mad2: it on their first day out!!

There is a sticker on one of the chairs where I ski that says, "Friends Don't Teach Friends How to Ski!"

I hope this helps.
skigirl

Such WONDERFUL advice, which coincidently I just gave my daughter and her boyfriend this weekend before we took him on his first ski trip. My daughter wanted to teach him to ski, I took them each aside separately and explained why it was a bad idea. Just because you are a good skier doesn't mean you are a good teacher. My motto with my daughter has been "If it causes stress and frustration to teach a particular subject, hire a professional." So, I decided not to teach her math or how to drive and ski. I don't even give her friendly advice on skiing, but I do insist that she take the occasional lesson, just so she doesn't get too big for her britches. That way, if she is doing something I consider potentially dangerous, I don't nag, I hire an instructor.
 

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