5 Step Beginners Guide To Skiing

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13 Nov 5 Step Beginners Guide To Skiing

Dust off your skis and brace yourself. The long-awaited winter season is near. Which means winter activities, such as skiing, and related gear is once again on display in shop windows and popping up on your social media feeds. While sliding downhill really fast can be thrilling. Reading up about locations and equipment is vital. Failing to do research can result in an experience you’ll want to quickly forget. To aid you in planning your next trip we’ve pieced together this five-step guide.

I sat down with Peter Kearins, a former ski equipment rental assistant, or ski-man, turned Kooloco SEO whiz to get a first-hand account on some of the do’s and do not’s in relation to skiing. It’s essential know-how that can help set you on the right path.

Location

Located in Switzerland’s French-speaking southwestern region, Verbier boasts stunning scenery and a selection of slopes to suit everyone. A seasoned skier himself, Kearins recommends skiing in Verbier due to the range of possibilities the region has to offer. “It offers so much in terms of free ride, there is so much access to off-piece.” While skiing in this region can be pricey, there is, however, a range of other nearby options offering an equal amount of alternatives. Other nearby resorts worth visiting include Port du Soleil, Saanen and Saas Fee.

Boots

There seems to be a consensus in terms of the importance of selecting the right ski boots. Kearins mentions that “You marry the boots and you date the skis”, suggesting that boots are far more long-term, while actual skis are interchangeable and vary. He adds that, if one has bad boots, it doesn’t matter what you’re skiing on, “You’re going to have a bad time.” If by any chance you do not plan on buying your own boots and prefer renting. Ideally, boots should offer a snug fit. It is also important to take advice from rental stores in terms of what works best for your particular foot size.

Skis

All-mountain skis are recommended. In terms of length, for beginner riders, skis should not stretch beyond one’s chin. Short and flexible skis tend to be more manageable. Kearins also mentions that Black Crows skis are pretty renowned while skis made by Völkl and Blizzard are also top notch. However, a wide variety of options are on offer. Advancement in technology has led to regular factory made skis being fairly good. Take time to do some research on what suits you and your budget best.

Safety

A helmet, gloves and decent set of goggles are must-haves. Even though skiing is a lot of fun, it can be a risky sport. Swiss slopes attract an array of people whose skill levels differ. “Knowing your limit can help prevent serious injury.” It’s important to try and avoid stopping in the middle of a slope and move to the side, hereby avoiding a skier or snowboarder from crashing into you. Since the person in front always has the right of way, the onus is on you to avoid bumping into other riders who are slower or stop abruptly.

Physique

While all body types can ski, the sport is physically demanding, requiring core and lower body strength.  There are tons of beginner tips and exercises on YouTube that can help one better prepare for the forthcoming season. Stretching before and after a skiing session can help reduce the possibility of feeling stiff the next day. “When you are learning fatigue is enemy number one,” so remember to manage your strength. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become. Soon you will notice progress.

Extra tips

Wear comfortable clothing that allows flexibility. Do not be afraid to spend money on a good pair of goggles as this steams up fast and can affect visibility. Pack in some snacks and something to drink. It is important to manage your energy levels and stay hydrated. Observe others in order to improve technique. Try not to get too discouraged after falling and know that everyone had to start somewhere. An extra pair of dry socks can’t hurt. Lastly, remember to have fun. This can be a memorable group activity that you can look back on for many years to come.

Related article: Top 10 Snowboarding Resorts

Benedict Pather
benedict@kooloco.com

Benedict is a journalist and content manager at Kooloco. Originating from Cape Town, he has over a decade of experience in multimedia production. Having lived and worked on three different continents, he has experience in print, digital, and television. He is pursuing a master’s degree focused on the media sports complex. Biking, board sports, culture and collecting vinyl are some of his passions.