Beginner’s guide to skiing – all you need to know
The vacation is approaching and it’s the first one that involves skiing. Learning to ski for the first time is an exciting experience though it can seem rather daunting. Many beginners may have watched the Winter Olympics and seen the sometimes unbelievable exploits of top athletes on the ski slopes and wondered how they got to be so good. The answer is with talent, practice and good planning, and there’s no reason a beginner can’t progress to experienced status, though possibly not making it as an Olympian!
Good planning will pay off
For someone who has never been skiing before there are certain preparations that will help make the whole process a lot smoother. Apart from the obvious need for ski gear, it’s easy to forget that skiing is a very physical process and as a first timer it makes lot of sense to get fit beforehand.
Skiing puts a lot of stress on a number of parts of the body, in particular the knees and ankles, hips and thighs. Shoulders, back and arms will also be strained, so building up a regular exercise regime some two or three months before the vacation will pay off and prevent the major hurting that would otherwise occur.
Good exercises to strengthen the quads and glutes, because a lot of skiing is done in a part squat position, are box jumps, lateral jumps and squat jumps to help build the requisite muscle strength. Some weight training and cardiovascular work will also assist the body to get into shape.
Ski gear – buy or hire?
There’s no doubt that skiing can be an expensive sport, but the beginner doesn’t need to buy everything up front. The sensible thing to do is to mix buying and hiring. There’s not much point in buying an expensive set of skis only to find that the sport doesn’t really appeal.
Clothing and certain smaller elements of equipment should be bought because they can always be used again. Undergarments of thermal materials, long sleeved t-shirt, a fleece, waterproof jacket and salopettes, a hat to cover the ears and thick gloves are the essentials. Some may prefer a ski suit and often there are good bargains to be had out-of-season when the previous season’s gear is being sold.
Another essential, and not too expensive, is ski goggles, such as goggles with polarized and mirror lenses – they keep the sun and snow out of the eyes. In addition, sunscreen should be packed – cold it may be on the slopes but the clear skies give a lot of UV radiation to the skin.
Ski boots, skis and helmets can be hired at a resort, and the ski shop staff in resorts such as Winterplace in West Virginia will help make sure everything fits properly. The state may not seem an obvious ski destination, but its mountains have a northern exposure with a perfect climate that lets winter arrive early and stay late, providing ideal conditions for both beginners and the more experienced skiers.