Kaylee Nilsen is a Colorado native and guest blogger.
The weather is cooling down, which means skiers everywhere are rejoicing. Some ski hubs have already experienced their first snowfalls, and fans of this beloved snow sport are gearing up and getting in shape so that they can be ready to hit the slopes.
Skiing is an activity that is easy to fall in love with, so it’s no surprise that every season draws in first-timers who are hoping to learn the basics and join their slope-addicted friends on the trails.
If you’re a newbie who is planning on skiing for the first time this year, it’s important to learn both the dos and the don’ts of the trade. To help you out, here’s a list of common mistakes that beginning skiers often make. After all, it’s better to learn these things from those who have walked (or skied, in this case) before you rather than from direct experience.
Skiing Mistake #1: Jumping In With No Experience
Learning to ski by reading advice on the internet, attempting to imitate how a friend moves, or simply winging it by yourself isn’t just difficult; it’s also incredibly dangerous.
Skiing is a complex venture to pick up on; there are many elements and variables to take into consideration, so it’s always a good idea to learn from a reputable instructor who can show you the ropes. The good news is that many ski resorts also offer lessons to beginners so that you can learn hands-on under trusted guidance.
Stopping, turning, controlling your speed, falling, approaching a slope, etc., are just a few aspects of skiing that can be dangerous if done the incorrect way, which is why a guided first time is so beneficial to your safety.
Additionally, once you have gotten the hang of the basics, don’t push your progress too fast; you may have mastered the bunny hills, but don’t go straight for the black diamonds. Go slow and steady until your skill level naturally and gradually advances.
Skiing Mistake #2: Forgetting the Sunscreen
You might feel secure omitting the sunscreen from your daily routine in the winter, but when you’re skiing (or otherwise outside for hours), especially if you are at higher altitude, you want to make sure your skin is protected. The majority of UV rays can penetrate through clouds, so no matter what the weather is like, you’ll thank yourself later if you remember this important step.
If you Google “skier sunburn,” you’ll see why seasoned skiers put this tip into practice. Exposure to the sun increases your risk of skin cancer, and similarly, you certainly don’t want a painful sunburn dampening the first time you get to put your skis to use.
Skiing Mistake #3: Buying Ski Equipment Before You Try It Out
When you factor in skis, boots, helmets, etc., the equipment can be expensive, and while you do want to ensure you’re using quality, trustworthy gear, it’s important you test it out before shelling out a lot of cash on something that may not be the best fit for you.
Ski rental shops are a great way to explore your options without having to make a serious financial commitment, and they’re usually run by knowledgeable staff members who make sure you get the right size and style. Having the wrong size of boot can limit how well you can control your skis, which, in the worst-case scenario, can lead to accidents and injuries.
Having a professional fit you and offer expert advice can help you experience the best possible outcome during your first ski adventure. This way, if you do become an avid skier, you can buy later on being fully confident that you’re making the right choice.
Skiing Mistake #4: Wearing the Wrong Type of Fabric
Anyone who plans on spending the day in the snow can logically assume it’s best to dress warm, but not all typically warm clothing will do the job.
We’ve already established that you’re probably going to fall a ton when you’re new to skiing. It’s just how it goes, but because of this, you need to wear clothes that are designed to dry fast. This type of clothing is often referred to as “wicking,” which just means that the clothes are designed so that moisture evaporates instead of getting absorbed. Polyester, polypropylene, wool, and silk are great options.
In other words, jeans and clothes made out of cotton are out of the picture. If you were to fall in the snow, or even just sweat a bit, the clothing would stay damp, and you would become cold and miserable rapidly.
There are many waterproof/water-resistant clothing designed specifically for snow sports, so take some time to learn how to properly layer before your big debut.
Skiing Mistake #5: Neglecting the Fluids
Dehydration on the slopes isn’t solely a newbie issue; new and seasoned skiers alike tend to forgo the water, and the reasons for doing so vary.
Some skiers purposely avoid drinking so that they don’t have to interrupt their time on the snow with bathroom breaks. Others want to pack as little as possible, and they don’t want any water bottles weighing them down. Also, cold weather tends to reduce the feeling of thirst, and many people misinterpret this to mean that they can cut down on their fluid intake.
Whatever the reason, staying hydrated is extremely important when you’re engaging in any physical activity, and skiing is no different. Failing to properly hydrate has a negative effect on muscle stamina, meaning you’ll get tired quicker and your performance will suffer, and because you get even more dehydrated at higher elevations due to the low oxygen levels, this is especially important when skiing at high altitude locations.
You don’t have to worry about carrying around a bulky, heavy bottle of water either. There are many options to consider, such as small camel backs, so that you can stay hydrated and feel comfortable.
Kaylee Nilsen is a writer based out of Colorado. She enjoys all types of snow activity whether it’s skiing or sledding. She currently writes for Fleischer Sport, a Steamboat Springs ski rental and retailer.