Jon’s 5 top tips for beginner skiers

Writen by Lindsay.

jon gass ski instructor

It’s our aim to give our clients as much opportunity to prepare for their first ski holiday as possible. We thought that by producing a “Top Tips” checklist this could give you a bit of an insight as to how to make those preparations and what to expect.

Jon Gass is one of the our team and he’s pretty awesome at handing out his wisdom, so here we go ……

1) Your first ski lesson is the hardest one

Be mentally prepared; when you start to learn to ski as a beginner, you will use extra energy for everything you are about to do. The first time you put your skis on, you will feel clumsy and uncoordinated with every movement of your body. Moving around becomes a whole new challenge in the beginning. Also, bear in mind that you are doing all this at altitude, where the air is thinner and as a result, your body will work harder at everything. Even just breathing!

We will advise you on how to structure your practice outside of your lesson, reminding you that learning to ski DOES get easier with every step you take.

2) Take a minute

The process of getting to your first lesson can potentially be a very tiring one. Simple tasks like walking (whilst carrying your skis) can become tricky and exhausting once you put ski boots on your feet. Even finding your instructor in time for the start of your lesson could be a little taxing in an unfamiliar environment.

Our advice, once you have found your instructor, is to take a few moments to breath. Remember that you are on holiday, relax, smile and enjoy the process from therein!

Our aim is to make this process as anxiety-free as possible, giving you advice in the build-up to your lesson, knowing that our first duty when we meet you, is to remove any stress before we start you on your fun journey of learning to ski.

3) Go with your skis

Without talking too much about technique here – the best thing you can do is “go with your skis”. What we actually mean is to keep your upper body over your feet. Sliding can be a very disconcerting sensation if you’re not used to it. Your body will constantly be trying to slow itself down as you slide and as a result will get left behind by your skis, try not to let that happen! Being in balance, on top of your feet can make a massive difference to how much energy you use and the control you have over your skis.

A very important part of our job is giving you the confidence you need to go with your skis; find a relaxed and balanced skiing position. This can be insured by ski instructors like us, carefully choosing the terrain. The gentlest of slopes in the beginning can really make a difference to developing your balance, creating a supportive and encouraging atmosphere to increase your confidence.

4) Don’t over do it (especially on your first day)

It’s likely that your ski holiday will be a week long. As we have already mentioned, the first day can be really physical and it is very easy to over do it, especially when you are starting to enjoy yourself. If you over do it on the first day, you’ll pay for it the next day! Pace yourself and listen to your body – stop as soon as your body tells you to. This could even mean that on your first day you may only ski for two or three hours. It’s all about finding the right balance between practice and fatigue.

5) Get your body ready for skiing before you go

Build-up to your holiday, by doing some simple exercises to get your body ready for the process of learning to ski. Just a few minutes each day can make the world of difference.

Our advice is to start this process today, not tomorrow, because before you know it tomorrow will be the first day of your holiday. See the tips from our catch up with our friends at Ski Physio for more tips on preparing for your skiing holiday.

A Bonus Tip: Just Say No…….

This tip is not one of our top five tips but may be one of the best pieces of advice we can give you. This is a tip, not just for you, it should be shared with your family, friends, husbands, skiing acquaintances. At some point they will almost certainly attempt to ‘help’ you. This could be encouraging you to go to a steeper slope, up an unfamiliar slope or lift before you are ready. Often, the next day we hear tales of nervous breakdowns or of how people have had walked for miles carrying their skis as they have ended up in the wrong place or on a piste that is beyond their ability.

This happens with the best of intentions at heart, but if you hear the phrase “Don’t worry you’ll be fine” or “Don’t worry, I’ll look after you” our strong advice is please, please, please just say NO! You might just find yourself back at Tip 1.

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Sweet Snowsports Ski School