When I was hired as Liftopia’s Visual Designer in May 2012, I knew my ski-less days were numbered. As a native of Miami, Florida (home of only one season: HOT) snow sports were never really on my radar. In fact, the extent of my knowledge of the ski industry was limited to the Swiss posters created by Herbert Matter in the ‘30s to promote tourism in Switzerland. Three cheers for art school, anyone?
In other words, I knew next to nothing about skiing other than how cool it looked, and I don’t know if I could’ve named five people I knew who had actually hit the slopes before.
All of that changed in a matter of months due to my recent move. Now that I live in Northern California, I have a number of local resorts to choose from for my ski adventures, most of which are a quick three hour drive from San Francisco.
After months of writing down tips and taking suggestions from the seasoned Liftopians here at the office, I was ready and eager to have a ski experience of my own. Last month, I finally made my debut at Sugar Bowl Resort.
While hitting the (bunny) slopes, I noticed a few undeniably awesome things about being a new skier. Let’s face it – the idea of doing anything for the first time can be a bit daunting, but I can assure you, skiing will likely be one of the most fun activities you’ll do all year. Here are five reasons why you and your friends should pick up skiing if you haven’t already.
1. Gear: you will rarely look this cool.
Ski gear? Pretty rad. Are you familiar with Tron? Maybe Daft Punk? I felt that cool with my gear on. Ski gear is always at the cutting edge of technology, and with all of the different types of materials used to properly insulate your body against harsh conditions, you’ll soon come to admire the incredible innovation behind your garments.
Ski gear satisfies comfort, style, practicality (lots of ‘secret’ pockets for lots of snacks), and survival. I came across one jacket that enhanced radio signals from search-and-rescue RECCO detectors for quicker acquisition of position in an avalanche. This isn’t necessarily something newbies need to worry about during their first season, but the idea of a lifesaving jacket? Awesome.
Gear can either make or break your early ski experiences, which is why it’s important to check out Darren’s advice and Taylor’s gear guide for beginners to save yourself time, frustration and money. You never know, the gear hunt might even be fun! I scored sweet pants on sale at my local Sports Basement, and it took less than an hour of my time.
Channel this chick… but with a helmet on your noggin because, well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
2. Falling is actually FUN.
I’ve fallen on grass, pavement and ice, and it isn’t fun. As a new skier, you’ll have several of your own romantic encounters with the ground beneath your skis, and your enjoyment will be in direct correlation with how light and fluffy the snow is. That said, name another sport where you can fall on your butt and still find it somewhat enjoyable.
I spent a small percentage of my beginner lesson dreading the moment I would fall, but as it turned out, it wasn’t painful and was actually pretty awesome. If you’re dressed appropriately and stay within the realms of your ability, even the most ‘fail’ moments will leave a giant grin on your face.
That said, you’ll likely still feel like Bambi when attempting to get back up on your feet the first few times. I promise you, this is still fun… or at least fun for others to watch.
3. Skiing can be enjoyed alone, or with a group!
Unlike other sports, you don’t need a partner or a team to go skiing, but you can certainly hit the slopes with a group! I went to Sugar Bowl with two coworkers who certainly passed my ski ability level of -1. We were not skiing the same terrain (I was on the bunny slopes), but I still had a blast in my beginner lesson and was able to meet three lovely ladies who were learning as well. We ended up sticking together for most of the day and chitchatting on lift rides up the mountain. It was reassuring and comforting, especially since we were in the minority age group – you know, not toddlers.
4. The Scenery Itself is Worth the Trip!
If you’re anything like me and hail from someplace that may as well be a hot island in the Caribbean, being in a Winter wonderland will be an amazing change for your senses. During my lesson while I waited for my turn to try out new moves, I frequently found myself standing still to admire the pine trees, the sky, the hazy mountains in the distance, and the snow draped on everything, and in some cases, everyone. Completely picturesque! When you’re finished skiing, scope out vista points. Eventually, you’ll be able to do both simultaneously. The better you get at skiing, the more epic scenery you’ll be able to admire. Enjoy what Mother Earth can offer, folks!
5. Après Ski.
Many merci to the French for giving us the glorious term used to describe the moments of pure triumph post-skiing. It doesn’t matter how skilled of a skier or rider you are, as long as you’re exhausted after. Après is where you can feel like an absolute winner, regardless of how many times you face planted in the snow. You can finally increase your body temperature and recap the day’s worth of work, because let’s face it – the mere fact that you made it to your lesson walking in ski boots deserves a toast. So, guzzle down those warm or refreshingly cold beverages, eat a hearty meal, replenish those calories you lost, and get ready to tell your friends how amazing you were on the slopes… Nobody will know the truth but you.