Ski Instruction

Beginner Ski Instruction – Tips and Expectations to Help You Learn to Ski

Before you begin your first ski lesson, there are a few tips that will help get your instruction off to a great start.  Pick your day. Attempting to ski for the first time during a busy weekend is not conducive to learning. This, plus traffic, long lift lines, and busy ski rental areas makes for a long day indeed. Instead, go midweek. This is when things are quiet and you’re much more likely to get a better value and more personalized attention from your ski instructor. If you can, aim for a sunny day, and not too cold. Stay in the beginner areas as well. No one wants experienced skiers whizzing by when you’re trying to learn to ski. Also, consider what learning style works for you…

Everyone has different learning styles. Broadly, there are watchers, analyzers, and doers. While most of us incorporate a blend of these three styles, one will be dominant. It’s important to know which works best for you when learning to ski. A good ski instructor should be able to tell, but don’t expect that your instructor is good just because he’s got a patch on his arm. So, if you learn by watching, watch your instructor do the exercises. If you learn by analyzing, you may want to ask questions and listen to the metaphors and ski techniques designed to help one visualize downhill skiing. If you’re a doer, then you’ll likely just want to head on down the hill and figure it out along the way. No one way is better than the other, but knowing which way you learn best will help you learn to ski faster.

Stopping and turning will be the primary focus of your first lesson. You’re instructor can teach you stop and turn techniques quickly and easily. Learning to ski is not rocket science. It should be taught with simplicity and clarity. In short, at end of your first day you should be able to stop and turn left and right. With just these skills, many want to rush to the top of the mountain to practice. This is a mistake. It is one thing to turn and stop on soft snow, but quite another on the steep icy terrain one can encounter at the higher elevations. Stay in the beginner area, on gentle terrain with soft snow. Nail down the basics of your first lesson.

Finally, save some money. Most ski resorts have beginner packages at reasonable rates to get you started. Pack a nice lunch, as the food can be quite expensive and not very good or healthy. Also, pack a positive attitude. Negativity and playing the victim don’t work well on skis. You will fall – that’s OK. Know your learning style and use it to your advantage to learn to ski great. Have fun and don’t make the mistake of stopping after just one ski lesson. Lessons, taught well, are where you’ll learn the core skills of downhill skiing.

By Theodore P. Olson (c)