Skiing Tips for Beginners: How to Quickly Learn to Ski
When you're first learning how to ski, there's only so much you can get from reading the posted rules and taking an intro lesson. With that in mind, we worked with a Lake Tahoe-area ski instructor to come up with the best skiing tips for beginners.
Grab a deal for skiing or snowboarding near you, strap into your gear, and use these tips to learn to ski quicker than everyone else:
1. Learn what those trail symbols mean.
Of skiing tips for beginners, the most important is to read the sign at the top of the trail. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how often skiiers ignore these symbols. Each will indicate the steepness of the hill:
The easiest trails, suitable for beginners. Stay on these.
Intermediate trails. Typically for skiiers who have some experience.
Expert trails. If you're a beginner, stay off these.
Especially difficult expert trails—a slope with 100% gradients. If you're a beginner, and find yourself on a double diamond, call for help.
2. Go to the Bunny Hill & practice falling
That's right, falling. Going to the ground as comfortably as possible will help you avoid major injury during your day. We recommend practicing these tactics:
- Don't try to break your fall with your arm. That's the most common way to break it.
- Do aim to fall on your bottom, by falling to your right or left. This is the best place to break your fall.
- Do keep your skis perpedicular to the hill when standing back up. This'll insure you're not standing up while you're moving down the hill.
3. Glance up the hill every minute or so.
In one of his most-basic pieces of skiing tips for beginners, our instructor highly recommends keeping one eye up the hill. Why? That way, you'll be able to see if anyone is about to run into you. Essentially, if you don't watch your back, someone could run into your back. Don't leave it up to the other person to steer clear.
4. Call out when passing people
If you're picking up speed and need to pass somebody, call out to them with a simple "On your left" or "On your right." Other skiiers (particularly beginners) will sometimes freak out and fall if you blow by them. So while it might feel a little awkward to shout at a stranger, it's the height of slope etiquette.
5. Want to jump? Keep those knees bent.
With some success, beginners can be tempted to try some of the smaller jumps. If you're at that point, answer these questions:
- Are you sure? If your answer is yes, then...
- Have you scouted the jump? If you haven't, go check it out, and watch how others handle. And while you're there, ask...
- Where would you land? Take a look at the terrain where you would land and make sure it isn't trecherous. Finally...
- Do you have a spotter? Especially for beginners, a spotter is necessary to give the final go-ahead.
If you've answered all those questions and are ready to do the jump, just make sure you keep your knees bent, which can absorb the shock of landing on hard snow.
6. Be confident (but keep it simple)
When you ski scared or with anxiety, you lose a lot of control without realizing it. Our instructor has seen this time and time again, and he emphasizes how important it is to just believe in your own abilities—it really helps! At the same time, you're probably not ready for anything beyond a green circle trail, so beware of your natural limitations.
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