With two Award Winning Ski Resorts & over 5,000 acres of skiable area between them, taking on the mountain can seem daunting for a beginner! Before you start to panic remember that every good skier had to start somewhere! Take a deep breath & shake off those jittery legs, we've gathered some of the best ski tips and tricks for beginners to prepare you to take on the mountain at your own pace!
1. Start with Ski Granby Ranch or Stay on the Winter Park Side of WP Resort
Ski Granby Ranch is located in the town of Granby which is only about 20 min from Winter Park & it's the perfect place to start for beginners. Wide open runs, shorter lift lines, and plenty of accessible terrain give you the perfect conditions to start of skiing without fear of big crowds & super steep runs. If you would rather start by skiing at Winter Park Resort, have no fear they have plenty of cruisers and groomers (Sorenson Park & Village Way are great starting spots for learners) for ya to explore as well as more advance terrain for you to conquer as you advance. Whichever resort you choose to start on, take time to look at a trail map before heading out & learn where the easiest runs are so you can set yourself up for success.
2. Dominate the Magic Carpet.
Getting off a lift for your first time can be scary. Even for skiers that have been doing it for quite a while, the sudden stop & quick downhill after getting of the lift can cause plenty of blunders, this is why there are easier lifts to learn on. The Magic Carpet is a type of flat escalator that brings you to the top of the hill, where the exit isn’t as steep as you’ll see on other lifts. After you feel comfortable & in control of your skis go ahead and hop on a real lift. Remember to sit back in the chair & don't be afraid to put the bar down if you start to feel a little nervous.
3. Green is Good.
You’ll want to learn what the different trail ratings are, but for now just remember that green circles are the easiest trails on the mountain. Make sure to carry a trail map in your pocket in case you get turned around & to pay attention to signage on the mountain.
4. Ski Patrol is Your Friend.
If you ever find yourself in a situation that you’re not comfortable with, it’s okay to stop and call Ski Patrol. They can help get you out of any sticky situation and bring you to safer grounds.
5. Choose Low Grade Runs.
When you're just learning to ski, a lot of what you’ll be skiing on will be flat. While flat areas are great for beginners, they can also be frustrating, because flat ground gets you nowhere. Keep calm & use your poles to push you along. even if you start to feel aggravated, be careful about taking on too much by moving to a steeper run before you're ready.
6. Keep Your Eyes Forward & Don’t Look Down.
It’s hard to get used to having skis on your feet, but try not to stare down at them when you’re learning to ski. Instead, look at least 10 feet ahead of you when you’re skiing. This way you can prepare for the terrain ahead and watch what’s going on around you. A down skier or a small child can quickly become an obstacle for you to navigate when you’re busy looking down at your skis. Keep your eyes forward & stay aware to other skiers & riders.
7. Wear the Right Gear
Let's be real here, falling is inevitable when you're learning to ski & hey it's good for ya - it means you're trying! Knowing that you will likely spend a good part of the day in the snow is good motivation to dress in the right gear! Wear layers so you can adjust for changing temperatures throughout the day. Avoid cotton at all costs & opt for moisture wicking materials like wool or polyester nylon blends when you pick your base layers & socks. Also choose waterproof pants & jackets, skiing in jeans...not ideal. Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of wearing a helmet & goggles, besides keeping you safe & protected from the elements they help to keep you warm.
8. Bend Your Knees.
It’s hard to imagine squatting for the better part of a day as you learn to ski, but bending those knees is exactly what you want to do to be successful at skiing. With bent knees, you’ll have a better center of gravity and better form for downhill skiing (plus you're boots will be more comfortable with bent knees). You’ll also be able to take bumps and terrain changes easier. When you're skiing you should be able to feel the front of the boot against you're shin for the majority of the day, if you lean back in your boot you're gonna end up on you're butt!
9. Take a Lesson.
We’ve heard time and time again about people that learn from a loved one, big mistake. Save your sanity & you're relationship - and sign up for a private or group ski lesson. You’re likely going to get frustrated on your first day and need to be coached through what you did wrong and how to correct it in order to improve. Hearing those things from a loved one (that is likely just as frustrated) can be hard; but when you hear it from a skilled ski instructor you're more open to learning which will set you up for success from the beginning!
10. Get the Right Ski Equipment.
Taking on the mountain on borrowed skis can be dangerous. All skis are fit to match each individual's weight, height, age and experience level. So, if you're looking to borrow your buddy's skis there's a good chance they won't match what you need & may not release properly in the event of a fall. Your skis should be in optimal condition for the best success, which includes ensuring that the bindings are mounted and working correctly, edges are sharp, and the bottom surface is waxed. This is why renting skis is usually the best option for beginners, all the technical work will be done forward & your gear will be ready to use! If you are going to use borrowed skis, we highly recommend having a professional look them over before hitting the hill to avoid injury.
Alrighty, there you have it, our best 10 tips to learn to ski! Oh, wait we almost forgot the most important tip of all...KEEP TRYING!! It's never easy to learn something new & it will be tempting to throw down your skis & march on over to the bar to wait out the rest of your ski trip, don't do it the biggest favor you can do yourself is to keep trying pick your self up, smile & power through. You'll make it through & you'll be so glad you did!