10 Tips for Newbies
You picture yourself swooshing down gorgeous alpine slopes with perfect form—we all do. But your first time may be, shall we say, slightly less intuitive. There might be tears, but everyone has to start somewhere.
When we started skiing and riding back in the day, we wish we would have known these 10 nuggets of wisdom. Snow sports really don’t have to be complicated, intimidating or painful.
Have a Gear Checklist
Forgot your boots? It’s always a downer when you have to head back home because you forgot one of the many essential items to this sport. Have a gear checklist so you always leave home with everything you need. Don’t be that guy hanging out in the lodge all day or the one driving back down the canyon to get your gear while your friends are taking powder laps.
Demo Equipment Before Buying
Used gear is great because it provides a low cost of entry to skiing. But consider renting new gear, rather than some old slabs. Learning is much easier with the right equipment—and technology has advanced quite a ways since your dad used to ski. You don’t need to blow the bank on skis right away if you are simply purchasing boots and demo-ing skis. Heck, give ’em all a try.
You’re Going to Fall
We know, you’re the exception. But a majority of first timers don’t return because of injuries—some of which are just boo-boos. You’re going to fall—a lot. Foremost, if you’re going to take a digger, stay clear of trees to avoid serious head trauma. Use properly fitted gear and give your bum some extra padding—you’ll be much happier. Sure, falling might be embarrassing, but laugh it off.
Don’t Learn from Anyone You’re Attracted To
Learning to ski is a great way to end the makings of a relationship. Your stress is high because you’re on your ass all day, your partner just wants to chase powder and neither one of you is listening to the other. Get lessons from someone else or figure out how to improve your turns through logging hours on the ski hill. Then, meet up with that hottie later for après-ski.
Proper Ski/Snowboard Etiquette
By avoiding general douchebaggery on the mountain, you will save yourself from face sprays gifted by jaded locals. Note that anyone downhill from you has the right of way. Taking your line too closely to someone else’s is a safety no-no. Among other rules: Don’t stop in someone’s path, hold up lift lines or swing your poles. But do share your space, both on the slopes and at busy lunch tables.
When You’re Lost and Accidentally Get on a Double Black Diamond
If somehow you have missed the ominous “expert only” signs and find yourself hanging over steep terrain and rocky cliffs, your trusty ski lesson of pizza (snow plow) and french fries (parallel skis) won’t cut it. It’s time to swallow your pride, take off your skis and trek back uphill to that groomer—trust us, it’s the easiest way. Keep practicing, and you’ll soon be ripping those double blacks.
How to Stay Warm
Keep your head warm and your soggy areas wintery fresh with sweat-wicking polyester and merino wool—never underestimate the power of expensive socks and glove liners. Aside from layers, use a Thermos to pack a hot lunch for a mid-mountain pick-me-up. Fill it with mac & cheese or curry and impress (read: piss off/make jealous) your sidekicks gnawing on granola bars.
Keep the Canyons Less Congested
Ski resort season pass, or even day passes, grant a free ride on all Utah Transit Authority (UTA) buses and Trax. This includes the shuttles from the Park & Ride at the base of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. Take advantage of this so the canyons don’t get clogged. Plus, instead of white knuckling the drive home in a storm, you could be listening to an audio book.
Stop to Enjoy the Epic Scenery
Don’t forget to take in the profound setting. Sure, there’s the adrenaline rush and the one-of-a-kind feeling of floating on powder, but we have come together with this sport for our mutual love of the mountains. So enjoy it.
The Art of Aprés-ski
Aprés-ski culture is the best part of skiing—especially if you’re not very good. Wipe away the snotsicles and keep the stoke going over brews, bubbly or bourbon. But be careful at higher elevations about increased boozy symptoms from dehydration. There’s at least one great option at every resort, or pack a cooler and a little grill and do it up in the parking lot. Either way: Never. Skip. Aprés-ski. Seriously, it’s the closest thing some of us have to a religion.