If you are planning a ski trip to your favorite holiday destination and are looking for the best tips on skiing for beginners – hello! You’ve come to the right place.
This article aims to provide all the information you may need to have one of the best skiing experiences, especially if you’re a complete beginner and are worried that you may stumble as soon as you set foot on the snow for your first time!
Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Skiing is a fun and exciting sport that can be competitive, recreational, or used as a mode of transportation which involves using a pair of long, flat runners called skis bound to your boots or shoes to move over snow.
You may be visually familiar with this sport as this sport is often featured on TV, in competitions, or more commonly seen, and we’re sure you can relate, on Hallmark Christmas movies!
It doesn’t take long to learn skiing – around 1 to 3 days to learn the basic skills and approximately 1 to 2 weeks to become a little more confident and comfortable with skiing. It may seem a little nerve-wracking in the beginning, but with a little practice and persistence, it’ll get easier!
Plus, skiing has a lot of great benefits too, especially if you’re looking for ways to exercise during wintertime. Skiing works the main muscle groups of your body that can help improve your posture, balance, and coordination and increase overall body strength.
Here’s a summary of all the best tips on skiing for beginners that we’ve compiled to help you prepare for a great skiing experience on your next winter trip!
The Best Tips On Skiing For Beginners
- Skiing for beginners: Getting started – Learn what to do to prepare for your first skiing trip
- Skiing gear – What you need and what to wear for your first skiing trip
- Skiing techniques to learn as a ski beginner
- Skills to practice for your next ski trip as a beginner
- Types of skiing – All you need to know about different types of skiing
- What type of skiing is best for beginners?
- How many days should a ski beginner start with?
- What to pack for a ski trip? – Find out what to carry with you for your first skiing trip
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The Best Tips On Skiing For Beginners
Are you ready to learn? As you read on, you’ll find various tips on skiing for beginners ranging from some things you have to do before you start, the kind of gear you should get, important ski techniques, and how to take a fall safely among others.
1. Find Out Where You Want To Go And When
Before you can get on a slope, you should decide which one you’d like to go to and what the conditions are like there beforehand in case of bad weather or unsafe conditions (like a snowstorm or if the weather is too warm to ski).
There are plenty of ski resort options worldwide, depending on which regions you’re heading to for your holiday.
If you’re a beginner, be sure to look for beginner-friendly ski resorts, with trails that are wide enough with well-groomed slopes. If you’re nervous about learning to ski on your own, it would also be helpful to find out if the resort has trainers or instructors that can help you.
2. Take An Introductory Lesson To Ski
As with everything new, the best way to learn skiing as a beginner is to get some lessons that introduce you to the basics of skiing. You can practice this on indoor or dry slopes anywhere near you or your travels.
If you cannot find somewhere near you to practice, consider taking an introductory lesson on your skiing trip at the venue. Be sure to check if lessons are offered before heading to the ski resort to practice your moves.
3. Choose A Beginner-Friendly Resort
When deciding which resort to head to as a beginner, we highly recommend looking for a beginner-friendly ski resort that has specially designated nursery slopes where skiers are required to ski carefully at all times.
A plus point will also be if beginner ski schools offer personal or group lessons that are cost-effective instead of having to pay extravagant prices for something you’re not a pro at yet. Some beginner locations also offer free lifts on the nursery slopes so look wisely!
4. Watch A Lot Of Skiing Tutorials
In today’s day and age, information is at the tip of your fingers and so are the best skiing for beginners video tutorials. There are many videos of beginner skiing tips on Youtube, and it’s free too!
Learning from experts like Stomp It Tutorials and Ski School by Elate Media can help you hold down some basic moves and give you more insight to form and skills you can use as a beginner to tackle the slopes.
5. Get Your Warm-Up Techniques Right
Similar to every other form of exercise, a warm-up is essential to avoid any unforeseen injuries. Simple warm-ups and stretches can help loosen your muscles to allow you to maximize your time on the slopes without pulling a muscle.
Stretching before you go on the slopes can prevent injuries, minimize muscle imbalances, improve tolerance and help with your skiing performance.
Now that you know what to do before heading on your first skiing trip, it’s time to get suited up! Although you might be tempted to buy all your gear right away, we highly suggest you borrow or rent them first, especially for your first time.
Once you get acquainted with the necessary equipment needed, then you can consider getting them for yourself. This is important to avoid buying the wrong sizes or getting something that turns out to be uncomfortable for you when you’re heading down the slopes.
Here are some items you will need for your first skiing trip and how to use them effectively:
1. Ski Helmets
One of the most important things you need is a ski helmet and a good one too. When putting your helmet on, always make sure you put it on correctly – ensuring it’s neither too loose nor tight.
Adjust the chin straps so that it is snug but not too tight, and will not fall off if you topple over when you’re on the slopes. Most ski helmets are designed for ski goggles to be used over the top but should your goggles have a snapback strap, they can be used under the helmet.
2. Ski Goggles
When getting a pair of ski goggles, it is important for your protection and performance that they fit properly. If you’re skiing in cold weather, you’ll likely be wearing them all day so they must be an important fit.
A good pair of ski goggles should not pinch down on your nose and should not be felt on the outer eye area. If you’re wearing Over the Glasses (OTG) goggles, it shouldn’t be too tight and should fit just right to ensure it doesn’t slip when you wear them on the slopes.
3. Ski Socks
Beginners often think that because of the snow they’ll need layers of socks when being in the snow, which can be a mistake. Wearing more than one layer of socks can lead to your feet sweating and overheating despite being in the cold which can lead to blistering of the feet.
As moisture starts freezing in your socks, you will also tend to have colder feet which can be redundant if you’re looking for warmth. Be sure to get a good pair of ski socks that can hold up, keep you warm, and support your terrain, especially if you’re a beginner.
4. Ski Boots
It is usually quite hard to get ski boots right the first time around when you don’t know how they should feel when you wear them. Ski boots should be snug around the shin but not so much that it feels like it’s squeezing your leg whereas the bottom doesn’t need to be as tight.
The buckles on the ski boots function to keep your boots water-resistant and prevent snow from getting in so, be sure to fasten these comfortably and not too tight to avoid suffocating your feet. It is also recommended that you get boots with a low flex that feels soft to allow easier movements of the boot’s upper and lower cuffs.
5. Ski Poles
Most ski poles come attached with a handle strap. From underneath, bring your hand through the strap and lower your hand to grip the handle. You must place your hands correctly to avoid losing your poles when you fall or in the case of any mishaps.
It is also important to know that your poles are your anchors and they will follow you regardless of how you fall. Try putting your pole the opposite way and take note of how you can pull it off your wrist easily to understand this better.
The most important thing to have when skiing for beginners is, of course, a ski. A ski is a pair of long and narrow pieces of hard material that is flexible. It is normally pointed and turns up at the front and needs to be fastened under the feet for traveling over snow.
When putting starter skis on, be sure to place them parallel across on a flat part of the slope and also ensure that there is no snow on your ski boots to avoid having your bindings getting jammed up.
Then, put your toe at the top of the inside of the bindings and gently shift your weight onto your heel which will result in the back lever snapping up and securing your ski boot in your skis.
There are different types of skis and to help you, we’ve compiled a list of the best skis for beginners – for every type of skiing you may choose to try!
1. The Best Women’s Beginner Ski – Atomic Maven 86 C Women’s Skis
Designed to bridge the gap between performance-focused and rental skis, this pair of skis is accessible and easy to use while still allowing for faster and smoother skiing performance without needing advanced skills.
It has a wide waist that makes turning easier and easy to float in deep snow. Furthermore, it also comes with an M10 grip walk binding that works with most inbound boots in the market and an all-mountain rocker profile that grips nicely on ice without compromising its performance on snow.
2. The Best Men’s Beginner Ski – Rossignol Experience 76 Ci Skis
This affordable ski is perfect for beginners who are looking for something durable and affordable at the same time. Made for on-mountain exploring, this ski will help you progress faster and easier with its build.
The Experience 76 is great if you’re hoping to practice some of your carves on the snow as it holds turns smoothly and gives new skiers good stability while you have some fun. It also does well with transitioning between soft and hard snow, great for trying out new terrains!
3. Best Cross-Country Ski For Beginners – Salomon Snowscape 7 Vitane XC Ski Series
The Salomon Cross Country Ski Series is perfect for beginners as they are a perfect blend of stability, glide, grip, and control. Its shorter length and exclusive S-cut shape provide great maneuverability regardless of which direction you’re heading up or down.
It has a Densolite core that makes it highly durable and lightweight in addition to its G2 Synchro base that provides a good amount of grip to keep you grounded in your kayak.
4. Best All-Mountain Skis For Beginners – Nordic Enforcer 94
This pair of skis is sturdy, fun, and versatile. It uses carbon fiber and more wood instead of plastic and this can result in an exciting experience as you turn on and off trails as it has a very good grip and exceptional power going down mountains.
The Nordic Enforcer 94 is also comfortable and sturdy, easy to turn, and excels at varying speeds, perfect for those who are learning!
5. Best Roller Skis For Beginners – Swenor Fibreglass Cap Roller Ski
Great for beginners who are learning how to roller ski, the Swenor Fibreglass Skis are made of wood and fiberglass. Often used to learn and practice fundamentals, as it has great tracking and handles vibrations better than most roller skis in the market.
They also offer good stability, easy control, and a smooth ride for those looking to explore more of what skiing has to offer.
6. Best Downhill Skis For Beginners – K2 Mindbender 85
The K2 Mindbender also doubles as one of the best snow skis for beginners as it has a wide range of widths -wide to narrow which can be perfect for downhill snow skiing. It has an increased rocker in the tip which gives it more flotation properties and a comfortable platform, especially for groomers.
For a beginner, this ski is relatively smooth, effortless, and easy to control – perfect for those who have just started skiing in the snow, downhill!
Skiing Techniques To Learn
Before you head to the slopes, it is important to learn some basic techniques before skiing for the first time. Knowing some basic moves can help you navigate the slopes better, control your movements and avoid any injuries on the trail.
Let’s go through some tricks you can keep up your sleeves when you go on a skiing holiday in the snow!
Sounds simple, but positioning is a crucial technique to learn especially as a beginner because when skiing, you will find yourself changing positions all the time. It is important to keep yourself balanced at all times to avoid any injuries.
Focus on keeping your knees slightly bent and legs parallel or optionally, in a snowplow position with the tips of your skis almost close together. This is to help your knees absorb any bumps and humps of snow you may encounter along the way.
2. Flex and Gaze
In addition to keeping your knees bent, it’s important to keep your elbows bent too to prepare your body for action. Your elbows should be roughly bent at 75 degrees in front of you which will allow your poles to fall into the right position by themselves.
As your body weight falls central on your skis, look ahead and make sure you can see the slope in front of you. Don’t look at your feet!
Lean into the skins of ski boots to improve control and balance as you ski on the slopes. Always be ready to set off – leaning forward, similar to a stance you would take as you prepare to dive into a pool.
4. Hand Positioning On Poles
Lift your arms and forearms on either side of your body so that it is in front of you at a roughly 70 to 80-degree angle, just slightly off a 90-degree angle.
Keeping your poles in front of you will shift your body weight forward and improve the control of your skis as your toes near the tip of your boots which can be quite important for you to improve your stability on the slopes.
5. Wrist Engagement
If you hold your poles correctly, you will be using very minimal wrist movements to control your movements when skiing in the snow. This is important to ensure you stay stable and steady cruising down the slopes.
Plant your poles and practice only moving your wrists a few times, to look as if you are “walking your skis”. If you move or wave your hands around too much, you will tend to lose balance a lot faster than you’d expect so be sure to get lots of practice in to make it easier for you to maneuver your poles when skiing.
6. Body Positioning
As you begin skiing, be sure to keep your torso locked in the direction you are heading in. A common mistake most beginners do is twisting your body when they’re skiing downhill which can result in your arms being placed in the wrong place.
As a result of this, you can lose control and balance and may have trouble regaining the right stance as you’re skiing which of course, can lead to injuries and mishaps on the slope.
Skills To Practice For Skiing
It’s important to learn the necessary skills before you head to your next skiing trip. This video from Stomp It Tutorials shows some of the skills you can learn as a beginner. They also have a range of videos perfect for those looking to learn skiing for the first time..
1. Master The Art of Stopping Safely
This is the most important lesson you can learn and master before ripping off the slopes with your skis. This is because, when you learn how to start and stop safely, you minimize the risk of hurting yourself or anyone on the slopes.
It’s best to learn this skill before attempting any hard runs or high slopes and also, be sure to take your time and go at your own pace to get accustomed to speed and control your movements on the slope.
2. Wide or Round Off Turns
Wide turns take a lot of practice but you shouldn’t be afraid of trying to complete them when you come to it. It can be nerve-wrecking to practice narrowing these turns and to complete short downhill turns but it’s good practice to keep your speed under control especially as a beginner.
3. Progressing To Parallel Skiing
If you have your eyes on trying parallel skiing, it’s important to ensure that you’re ready beforehand. As you ski more often in a snowplow, your body will tend to assume a more parallel stance.
Best to learn this step when you feel like your feet are ready to progress into parallel skiing which means to make turns with the skis parallel to each other as opposed to being displaced in a wedge shape. Don’t try it before you can master control of your skis.
4. Cooling Down Techniques
As with all exercises and sports, it’s always important to warm up before and cool down after. When you ski, your body uses many different muscles and physicalities to perform effectively.
Without cooling down properly and releasing the tension in your muscles, you risk getting soreness after your session and this can hinder your remaining ski days in the snow. Be sure to do light stretches, and cool down properly after each session to enjoy the rest of your skiing holiday pain-free.
5. Taking A Fall Safely
The secret to minimizing your injuries is to ensure your impact area is spread out to increase the absorption of impact with a larger surface area and to avoid landing on one side or one limb.
When you fall, be sure to position your skis to parallel across the slope and dig it into the ground behind you to help you balance yourself as you push yourself up into a standing position. From here, get back on your skis and carry on!
6. Getting Your Skis Back On
When you lose one of your skis (or sometimes both!) in the snow, it can be quite frustrating for skiers to put them back on.
A little birdie told us the trick is to put your downhill ski first, which will then make putting on your uphill ski so much easier. Keep in mind to dust off any extra snow from your ski boots to make it easier to get your bindings on.
How Many Types Of Skiing Are There?
If you’re fairly new to the world of skiing, you may find yourself a little confused with the different terms that are used in the skiing world.
Fret not, we’re here to help you understand this better and explain the different types of skiing you may hear about but not too sure if they’re any different from the ones you know – they are, and we’ll tell you all about it as you read on!
1. Downhill Skiing (Alpine Skiing)
Downhill or alpine skiing is one the most well-known types of skiing most people are familiar with, especially for beginners.
Downhill skiing takes place on a hill and takes you from the top of the hill to the bottom – exactly what it means with the term “downhill”. Most downhill or alpine skiing takes place in ski mountains and resorts where you will need to use a lift to get to the top.
From the top, you will ski down the hill before getting back on the lift and riding to the top to do it all again. Sounds exciting right? Most ski resorts ensure that their slopes are taken care of and groomed for skiers, so you won’t have to worry about having a smooth ride.
However, we highly recommend that you start with a bunny slope or a beginner hill first – meant for beginners before taking on higher or more complicated slopes to avoid risking any possible injuries.
2. Backcountry Skiing
Otherwise known as off-piste skiing, backcountry skiing takes place on un-groomed snow as opposed to the type of groomed snow you will find in skiing resorts.
If you like exploring the wilderness in the snow, this is the type of skiing for you as you can explore the snowy wilderness, across a snowy field or down a mountainside, whichever you prefer.
It is important to also note that backcountry skiing is not suitable for skiing for beginners, as it often takes place outside the confines of safety and convenience of a ski resort and it’s not easy to ask for help should something go wrong.
If this is something that piques your interest, you will require some training first. You will have to learn and thoroughly understand intermediate skiing techniques, and master the basic ones like starting, stopping, falling, and steering as well as some additional training in avalanche assessment and rescue.
3. Alpine Touring
Alpine touring may sound similar to alpine skiing but we assure you it’s not the same. It’s a subcategory of backcountry skiing, commonly abbreviated as AT or known for its French name – randonnee.
Alpine touring differs mostly in terms of gear and the equipment you use. Compared to backcountry skiing, you’ll be employing a hybrid approach that allows you to switch between keeping your heel free similar to backcountry skiing, and locking it into your bindings throughout the trip.
This will be achieved with the use of special bindings that allows you to climb hills with your heels free for improved traction and lock it in place again on top of hills when you’re heading down the hill.
Besides the difference in gear mechanics, alpine skiing can be quite difficult to differentiate when compared to backcountry skiing. You’ll be exploring untouched snow away from the organized skiing resorts which will require you to apply the same precautions here as well.
4. Telemark Skiing
Instead of being defined by the type of terrain you’re skiing on, telemark skiing is set apart by the specific techniques you use as you ski and the gear you use.
With this type of skiing, you will keep your heels unlocked at all times which forces you to use a different technique when turning your skis – using a lunging motion that puts the leg forward in a distinct bent position.
Telemark skiing is more of a technique and not much of a setting therefore, you can use these techniques in many different situations from downhill skiing at a ski resort to exploring the untouched snow in a backcountry setting.
5. Ski Mountaineering
Another variety of backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering does not take place in a resort but instead on un-groomed snow.
However, when compared to backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering is a sport that combines mountain climbing and skiing where you will need to climb up to the peak and ski back down for an advanced test of precision, skill, and endurance.
The equipment used is usually similar to alpine touring due to the versatility in allowing the heels to be freed or locked depending on the situation but you will also need to invest in certain climbing equipment like ropes and ice axes.
An important thing to note is that to stay safe while skiing mountaineering, you will require a lot of training and practice especially with skiing techniques and training in mountain climbing.
It is also not a type of skiing for beginners to protect their safety.
6. Cross Country Skiing
Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is usually done in the backcountry or designated areas for cross-country skiing, The terrains are usually gentle and rolling or entirely flat where they usually concentrate on traveling long distances instead of skiing up and down the mountains.
Your skis for cross country skiing will be uniquely longer and skinnier in shape and you will be needing more flexible boots that bind to the skis and allow your heels to lift freely.
There are two well-known techniques for cross country skiing, first, the classic skiing where skiers keep their skis parallel and use kicking and gliding back as a way to move forward in the snow.
Another is skate skiing where skiers use shorter skis and propel themselves forward by kicking out to the side in a way that is similar to an ice skater’s movement.
7. Freestyle Skiing
Freestyle skiing is a type of downhill skiing that incorporates a variety of jumps, stunts, somersaults, and acrobatic flips that may look like you’re acting in a skiing scene in an action movie more than something that you would expect to happen in real life.
Normally, freestyle skiers use the same trails normal downhill skiers use but within a specified area that is equipped with the type of terrain needed to perform the stunts that they want to do. These skiers must specify areas as it can be dangerous for them to ski on un-groomed territories.
Freestyle skiing can be quite intricate and has room for so many possibilities for injury hence, it is not a suitable type of skiing for beginners. However, if you’re interested, you should first master downhill skiing and take some lessons first to master the necessary skills for you to conquer freestyle skiing and ski down the slopes like a pro.
8. Adaptive Skiing
Adaptive skiing is a type of skiing that has been adapted for someone with a disability that is usually specified by its sub-discipline whether it’s downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, or anything in between.
In this regard, adaptive skiing is not a new technique but instead, a unique and innovative way to help someone with disabilities enjoy the sport that we all love.
What Type Of Skiing Is Best For Beginners?
The best type of skiing for beginners would be downhill skiing otherwise known as Alpine skiing. This is because not only is it the most popular type of skiing, it is also one of the easiest to learn for beginners as most ski resorts are built around this style of skiing.
The best place for you to learn skiing as a beginner will be at the beginner slopes or bunny slopes, where you can practice the basics of moving in skis and mastering the terrain. Ski resorts also usually have instructors that will be able to help you while you’re there.
How Many Days Should A Ski Beginner Start With?
Skiing is generally much easier to learn but can be quite hard to master. For a ski beginner, it is recommended that you start with a minimum of 4 consecutive days, where you can practice for 2 days and rest for 1 day to allow your body to adjust.
A general tip is that having more consecutive days of practice is much better than having separate days of practicing as you would be able to be more consistent and be able to practice what you’ve learned the day before.
You might be impressed with how much you can improve in a matter of days, especially if you keep practicing consistently or especially if you get a trainer to help you navigate the trails and use the right techniques.
What To Pack For A Ski Trip?
Now that you’re all strapped with all the best tips on skiing for beginners, it’s time to get your gear ready. If you’re not sure what to pack for your ski trip, don’t worry! We’ve curated a list to help you get a head start on your packing list.
A basic amount of three layers should be worn when skiing – a base layer, an insulating layer, and also a shell but you may need to adjust your layers depending on the temperatures you will be in.
1. Base Layer
A base layer is the layer worn closest to your body and should fit you snugly and comfortably, like a second skin. Thermal underwears are an example of base layers that are effective at keeping you warm on cold, snowy days.
When looking for the best thermal underwear for skiing, be sure to look out for synthetic wool fiber or Merino wool – both of which work well to remove moisture from your skin and prevent heat loss.
Merino wool specifically is slightly more pricey but has great qualities to make up for it. It is naturally antibacterial, insulating, and sweat-wicking which can be great for long hours of skiing in the snow!
Do not use cotton as it stays wet when you sweat and get cold in the snow. Trust us, you won’t want wet underwear that freezes as you ski down the hill!
Some other base layers you may want to consider taking with you include a great moisture-wicking sports bra, comfortable underwear, and some mid-weight or heavyweight thermal underwear (if you’re heading to somewhere that is less than 5 degrees!).
2. Insulating Layer
The insulating layer is usually worn on top of the base layer where it acts as an insulator from the cold. These layers function to hold warm air next to your body with its porous and breathable materials – usually made of flannel or down.
Some insulating layers you can consider getting include ski pants, ski jackets (which also function as a shell), and a really good ski suit.
A ski suit is often made from wind and water-resistant fabric and has a liner made of either silk, nylon, taffeta, or cotton which is non-removable. Its main purpose is to keep a person warm while doing activities or sports in cold weather.
If you’re a beginner, it won’t be necessary to spend big bucks on a new suit if you have yet to take time to find out what would suit your body best. If your body tends to run hot when doing sports, you might prefer a suit with less insulation as long as you supplement it with the right layers.
For first-timers, we suggest you invest in a comfortable pair of ski pants that you can do a full squat in and a jacket that has a good shell as well as great insulation – both of which are excellent insulating layers.
Some other insulating layers you might want to carry with you on your skiing trip include ski-specific socks, ski mittens, ski gloves, and balaclavas to keep your neck and face warm in the cold.
4. Shell Layer
Shell layers for skiing or snowboarding have to be windproof and water-resistant – often made of GORE-TEX or similar water-resistant materials. Their main function is to keep you warm by preventing cold wind from circulating too close to your body.
It also functions to keep you dry and cushion your falls on top of the little hidden pockets that often come with it to store things like a nourishing lip balm or a small towel. These usually can be found in your ski jacket and ski pants.
Another important shell layer every skier should have is a ski helmet. No hats or caps, a helmet. A ski helmet not only keeps your head safe in the case of falls but also does a much better job at keeping it warm and keeping the frostbites on your ears away.
Last but not least, ski goggles to complete the look! The goggles should fit both your face and helmet well so that the frame touches your skin around the edges and can’t be pushed down or jostled by your helmet.
Make sure your ski goggles provide uninterrupted peripheral vision, polarized to protect your eyes from the sun, and increase the contrast of the snow when the sun is too bright or clouded.
So there you go, all the best tips on skiing for beginners! If you’re still hesitant, we assure you it’s tons of fun as long as you keep yourself safe and thoroughly prepared for the thrilling slopes.
Or if you’re looking for a fun sport to do during the winter and work all the main muscle groups of your body for improved strength and coordination, skiing is the sport for you! We’re sure you’ll be great at it!
We hope this article has helped you with the basic techniques, what to practice and what to look out for on your first skiing trip in the snow. Good luck!