Skiing is an incredibly popular sport in America, Canada, and Europe. There are 470 ski resorts in North America and 51 ski areas in the state of New York alone.
There are over 15 million people in the USA actively skiing or snowboarding each year, and if you are lucky enough to live near a ski area it can be a great sport to get involved in.
The problem with taking up a new hobby or sport is knowing where to begin. Skiing is just like any other hobby and with a few pointers, you will be able to get going. Here are some tips for getting yourself started and ready for the ski slopes.
Buy the right equipment
Starting to ski can seem daunting as it isn’t always cheap to get into. The best two options for a beginner may be either to rent your equipment or buy second-hand.
Second-hand ski gear can be a good way to get hold of skis cheaply. You need to check out their condition, but skis can last many years, so don’t be afraid of the second-hand market. It is also a good idea to buy during the off-season when you can get some bargains.
You will need to know how your equipment works too. Understanding how to tune the bindings to your shoe size, for instance, is essential, as is dressing appropriately for the ski slopes.
Don’t worry about spending a fortune on the top ski gear when you are starting out, but you will need a few things:
- Ski pants
- Gloves or mittens
While you can wear any suitable jacket on the slopes, your pants should be waterproofed. Some people try to wear jeans when they start out, but this is a big no-no. Buy or rent ski pants. Goggles are far better than sunglasses, a helmet is a good safety precaution, and gloves are a must for keeping warm.
Before you go on the slopes it is important to warm up. Learning how to stretch for sports and flexibility will reduce strains and muscle tears.
Hip rotations, upper body rotations, squats, side bends, and side-to-side walks are all good ways to get your body ready to take on the slopes. Watch other skiers to see how they prepare for their ski sessions.
Get some lessons
This is something that can add extra cost to your new hobby, but it can reap so many benefits. The Professional Ski Instructors of America and other organizations are properly trained to teach you how to ski and snowboard.
Many people have friends and family teach them how to ski, and this can be beneficial in many ways but you can also pick up bad habits or end up arguing if frustrations and tempers get too much. A professional instructor will help you advance much quicker, and then you can branch out on your own.
At the beginning, go slow
When you are starting out in any hobby there is always the temptation to rush ahead. Take your time to learn the basics, and the rest will come in time.
Practise will reap huge benefits, whereas trying to jump ahead to more difficult runs will only lead to frustration, so it is important to pick the right resort or ski area for you.
Many resorts have lots of different runs and also family and learner areas, but some cannot cater to absolute beginners. Look for a resort that has ski schools and is family-friendly so that you can start slow.
Things to know when starting out
It is easy to make mistakes in any new hobby or sport and skiing is no different. There are a few things to keep in mind while learning:
- Bend your knees: When you start you must remember to bend your knees. It may not seem natural to bend your knees for long periods, but it will help you to keep your balance and make you more agile.
- Be prepared to fall over: Don’t be afraid of this as it will happen, probably a lot at first. If you fall, just get back up and try again.
- Don’t look at your ski tips: Do you look at your feet when you are walking? No? Then don’t look at your skis either. Although it is natural to keep checking that everything is looking right, you will get on much better by looking just ahead to see what obstacles are coming your way.
Benefits of skiing
Ski slopes are unique places, and skiing can be a social activity as you will meet other people who are into the same hobby. A day out on the slopes is fun way to spend time with friends or family, especially for those with kids, and exercise enhances learning ability, so skiing is good for your mind as well as your body.