If you’ve always wanted to learn how to ski, make this the year that you do it! It may seem nerve racking or a giant challenge, but with a bit of practise you’ll soon get the knack and you’ll be a pro in no time.

What To Wear

First things first, it will pay to get your clothing and gear sorted, because well let’s face it, you won’t look the part if you turn up to the slopes wearing jeans and sneakers. When learning how to ski, it’s pretty obvious that you’re going to spend a lot of time falling over in minus degree temperatures, so you’ll need plenty of warm padding to protect you – and to stop you from catching a cold.

You can hire or buy your own ski gear from various Ski Clothing companies, or even at the Ski Resort itself. Choose a good comfortable pair of ski pants and jacket, or an all in one suit. You’ll also need a helmet or woollen hat, thick ski gloves, thick socks for your ski boots; and it tends to get pretty bright on the ski-fields, so you’ll need some good ski goggles as well.

Choosing Your Skis

It’s wise to rent skis when you’re beginning to learn how to ski. Shorter skis are often used when learning as they are lighter and therefore easier to handle. If you want to purchase your skis ensure you get the right size based on your height. This is generally measured by placing the ski vertically against your body and letting it stop eye level with you – that is about 10-15cms shorter than the top of your head. If your ski is taller than you, you may find it harder to turn and to control, so save the longer skis for when you are an advanced pro.

Your ski boots and ski poles will need to be hired or purchased separately. Ski boots are based on your foot size with adequate padding to protect your ankle from both potential breaking and bruising as there is a lot of flexibility involved in a sport like skiing. If in doubt ask the sales assistant for their opinion and wear your thick socks when trying them on.

Take Lessons

Ski Fields hire staff during the winter months who are specially trained to provide tips for beginners and help you stay on your feet. Don’t be afraid to consider approaching a Ski Instructor for advice, or better still book yourself in to a Learn to Ski Course. It will be wiser to learn from the professionals in the long run and you will be less likely to hurt yourself in the process!

The Basics

There are a couple of basic skiing movements which you need to master when learning how to ski. First of all just try simple ‘walking’ in skis, which sounds easy but is actually a lot harder than it looks when first starting. With your legs and skis side by side, slide your foot and the ski in a forwards motion – without lifting your foot off the ground. If you start to loose your balance place your ski’s in a V-shape (known as the Skier’s Stance) with the tips touching each other and turn your knees inwards to face each other. Keep your stomach tight and hold your shoulders straight. This will all help you to get your balance back.

If you do fall over – don’t get up like you normally would without skis on, by placing your weight on your feet directly. Instead you should form a slight ‘L’ shape with your body, place your skis’ parallel and lean into it by pushing up and onto the ski’s carefully. You’ll probably need more than one attempt at this, and you may fall a couple of times in the process! If you need help getting up, use you ski poles for support by pushing them down into the snow.

A good basic move to master is ‘skating’ with your ski’s on – that is – gliding as a form of movement to get your across the snow. Place your ski’s in another V-shape – this time the rear of your ski’s need to touch each other – and push your left leg off to the left followed by your right leg to the right – as if you were wearing roller skates in a skating rink. To stop place your ski’s into the Skier Stance by forming a V-shape with the tips touching each other.

Finally, once you have basic walking and skating down-pat, ‘traversing’ is the next movement to learn. You’ll need a hill to practise on and you may wish to have an experienced skier accompany you. Bend your knees and glide down the hill with your ski’s placed about a hip width apart. Try not to gain too much momentum when you’re first starting out and take it slow. If you need to stop perform the V-Skier Stance.

If At First You Don’t Succeed….

Of course practise makes perfect so you’re going to need to spend more than 1 day learning the ropes. Don’t be embarrassed if you fall over constantly, and don’t feel a fool if a small child appears to be learning faster than you. If at first you don’t succeed keep trying – Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.

But just remember if you gave it a shot and still end up disliking it, just relax, head inside and warm up with some mulled wine instead!

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