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Learning to Ski

Learning to ski is an extremely rewarding process but it does take time and dedication, and not everyone succeeds at it. You'll improve the chances of success if you go about it the right way.

  • Choose a resort with good, easily-accessible beginners' slopes - gentle, wide slopes without crowds of skiers and boarders racing through them at breakneck speed. There should be some slightly harder (and certainly longer) slopes to progress on to during the week - slopes where you can build up your confidence rather than shatter it. All of this applies even if you are an experienced boarder learning to ski: you will find even a slight incline surprisingly scary when you first step on skis.
  • Look for user-friendly lifts. Button drag-lifts are easier to use than T-bars. But the best lifts for novices are gondolas and detachable chairs that virtually stop to allow you to get off- normal chairs don't slow down at the top, so you have to dismount at speed and often end up collapsed in a heap in a rather undignified fashion.
  • Get lessons for your first week. Even if you do have a patient and caring friend or partner willing to teach you, you probably won't ever want to see them again by the end of your first morning on skis. Let a professional instructor show you the ropes - they will have done it thousands of times and should know the best way to get you skiing confidently.
  • Start on shorter skis than intermediate or advanced skiers would use - these are easier to control than longer skis, so that you don't cross them. There's also the added bonus that they don't go as fast.
  • Aim to find good soft snow. Hard, icy snow is unnervingly difficult to handle, falls on an icy surface are much more likely to hurt and knock your confidence.
  • Get decent waterproof clothing and gloves. You won't want to carry on if you start feeling cold and damp.

For more ski safety, tips and mountain advice: All ski tips | Ski lifts | Pistes | Snow | Starting snowboardingWeather | Off-piste | On-piste

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