Peering up from the foot of an icy slope may bring a rush of thrill and excitement, but peering down from those slopes may come with crippling dread and anxiety. Skiing is certainly not an easy sport and can be particularly dangerous if it’s not done correctly.
Even though it’s definitely a sport that will take years and even a lifetime to master, there are quite a few things that would help you ease into this adrenaline-impelling sport.
Easing into the art of skiing has a lot to do with planning, practice, research, preparation, maintenance, and developing a solid support system. Being aware of small factors that could increase learning ability and comfort beforehand will be greatly advantageous.
There are many factors that can make skiing even more challenging or uncomfortable unnecessarily, and being aware of these factors at the beginning of your learning journey will make it so much more relaxed and enjoyable. Here are some of the most effective tips for getting comfortable with skiing fast, sure to rid you of your ‘cold feet’ before each and every ski trip.
1. Start with the right snow terrain and stay on the groomers
Snow terrain provides natural difficulty levels for skiers, and it’s essential that you start with beginner-level terrain. The easiest snow terrain to start with will be smooth and groomed, with some bumps for comfortable challenges. Green runs are flatter, shorter, and are less steep, while blue runs may provide more room to practice speed.
2. Wear appropriate and comfortable gear
Of course, no beginner would rock up fully kitted looking like a sponsored pro – and honestly, you shouldn’t even if it was affordable. But, it’s still important to ensure you are wearing appropriate gear – garments like denim or jeans just won’t be comfortable or allow the freedom of movement needed and will make it unnecessarily challenging and uncomfortable for you.
Dress comfortably for the conditions and for the kind of movements that you will be doing. This entails dressing warmly and wearing flexible fabrics – water or snowproof fabrics would be advantageous. You will also need to protect yourself from the sun, so lathing up with some sunscreen is always advised.
3. Learn how to stop before learning how to go
Like riding a bike or driving a car, it’s necessary to learn how to hit the brakes before stepping on the acceleration. It’s the same principle with skiing, and you should definitely learn how to control your skis to slow down or stop before you try speeding up.
4. Don’t be afraid of falling and learn how to get back up
When skiing, you will fall – a lot, and you will have to prepare for these falls in order to make them less discouraging or painful. Wearing pads, learning how to control your body while falling as well as learning how to get back up will aid the learning process.
5. Get into the habit of doing warm-ups and cool-downs
Your body will be doing plenty of strenuous full-body exercises when skiing, even if the adrenaline or thrill prevents you from feeling it immediately. It’s essential to warm up and cool down when skiing to avoid painful muscles the next day and even injuries.
6. Ski steadily and have patience
Don’t rush the process, as this is never conducive to learning, comfort, or enjoyment. You must develop patience and understand that truly getting comfortable while skiing is going to take quite some time.
Don’t ski too fast or try and master anything too quickly, find a slower steady pace that you can maintain consistency, and push the boundaries when you are ready to move forward. Embrace the learning journey and enjoy every twist, turn, and bump – it will all amount to proficiency over time.
7. Bend those knees and build leg strength
You will have to stay flexible and nimble while navigating your snowy pathways and will need to extend and flex your legs using plenty of power. You will pretty much need to maintain an adaptable ‘squatting’ position the entire time you’re out on the slopes, which can become incredibly exhausting but is nevertheless essential for great posture and technique.
Having bent knees naturally forces you to move your shins to the front of your boots and keep heels in the cup of the boot which adds to the controllability of the skis, provides agility for making small jumps and maneuvers, and keeps balance through centering your upper body and core.
It’s often overlooked by many beginners but is one of the most important tips in getting comfortable while skiing, as having straight legs will completely mess up your balance, control, and form.
The more you bend your knees, the more control and agility you will have in varying terrain. Although, you’ll really start to feel the burn after some time, so dedicating time to building leg muscle and strength of the snow is a great way to improve this ability and allow your legs to develop the power they need for skiing.
8. Keep evenly balanced
Maintaining balance and control is one of the biggest challenges for beginner skiers. Your bodyweight should be centered as this will allow the ski to do a lot of the work, and will be more effortless over time once you’ve got the hang of it.
Lean forward and take control of the skis – it may be daunting while going downhill, but this should be embraced sooner or later.
9. Eyes forward, don’t look down
It’s essential to keep your chin up and eyes forward while you ski, as you will need to observe incoming obstacles, necessitated turns or maneuvers, and terrain conditions at all times in order to prepare for your next move. This is crucial as you may encounter mishaps if you’re not keeping an eye on the snowy road ahead.
You should also get into the habit of keeping your hands in front of your body, as you will need to plant poles in the snow before the rest of your body gets there, particularly when navigating around or over bumps.
10. Invest in a ski pass at an appropriate resort
Choosing a resort could become overwhelming with so many enthralling features. But, remember that you need to be looking for groomed, smooth snow as opposed to mountainous areas.
Investing in a ski pass will be great if you find a resort that offers what you need as well as beneficial extras like ski schools and rentable equipment facilities.
11. Practice turning and maneuverability
When learning how to control the direction of your ski path, it’s essential to get the hang of how to turn in various directions effectively. Learn how to twist the skis in order to make you turn around your pole to go in different directions or slide down the back of bumps.
12. Get your boots fitted and unbuckle them on the lifts
Your boots will act as the steering wheel and are one of the key factors in establishing comfort, control, and balance. They should fit you just snug enough – not too tight, and not as comfy as a pair of slippers.
Getting a pair of boots and having them fitted by a tailor will make your entire skiing experience so much more comfortable and enjoyable. Unbuckle them on lifts for a quick break in between runs.
13. Ski with those more experienced than you
Surrounding yourself with those who can offer mentored guidance even in practice sessions will aid in developing a solid support system. There won’t be much room to grow if you’re the most experienced person in the group.
14. Ski with others and solo in safe terrain
Practicing solo can also be great for focusing fully on your form and stance, with distractions or conversation being replaced by introspection. Just make sure you’re not too far out and can still be helped by others nearby if needed – safety first.
15. Start off with renting your equipment
Ski equipment and gear can become pricy, and as a beginner who hasn’t quite gotten a feel for what they enjoy most, or established the necessity of various features, you may end up wasting money. It’s a great idea to rent snow pants, goggles, a helmet, and gloves to ensure you stay warm, safe, and dry through a plethora of constructive fails.
16. Keep up that physique both in and out of season
Cardio and strength training are great for maintaining and building the strength needed. Skiing is a full-body workout, and being in better shape will make it less exhausting and more enthralling.
17. Learn from professionals as opposed to loved ones
Ski lessons are absolutely great for getting comfortable, and receiving mentored guidance. While you can learn extra info or basics from friends and loved ones, getting professional lessons is always a better option, as fluctuating emotions ranging from fear, anxiety, frustration or confusion may be challenging to cope with.
Professionals are trained to deal with all of the above and way more and will be able to support you through all your ski-related ups and downs. This would ensure that you have all the knowledge resources needed to be comfortable on those icy slopes while making progress toward hitting the more challenging and exciting snowy peaks.
Of course, it’s always amazing to ski with others, but it’s better to leave the formal learning curves for the professionals and the fun leisurely practice for friends and loved ones.