Very recently, I learned how to ski (again). With previous beginner ski experiences under my belt from more than 10+ years ago, it was clear that I needed a refresher from zero again. I learned a few things in the process that will undoubtedly stay with me like my ability to ride a bike:
1. Pizza and french fries are not just staples of good ‘ol American fast food. I knew it was going to be a good lesson once the food references began. Pizza and french fries refer to the way you position your skis. Pizza consists of pointing your toes, and by extending your skis together to create a wedge-shape. The bigger the pizza, the faster you will stop. But like anything else, do it in moderation; if you make too big of a pizza you will lose your balance and end up learning a variation of the splits. Or eating it. Don’t point your pizza downhill, always point your pizza to the side. The more parallel you are to the mountain, the more you stop. And, in logical fashion, if you point your pizza downward, downward you will go (and faster).
French fries are when your skis are positioned parallel. In my first lesson, I did a whole lot of pizza and very little french fries. However, the position is the basis for more advanced techniques that give your skiing some flair and style later on down the road. At the most, the pizza and french fries moves are the very foundation on which you will be building your ski technique repertoire on your journey to becoming a more advanced, stylish skier, and at the very least, the way you will navigate down a mountainside without seriously messing yourself up.
2. There will always be people smaller and younger than you skiing better than you.
Be okay with this. This is inspiration. This will inspire feelings of: I will evolve in skiing and get better with age. Like fine wine. There’s also nothing quite like getting off a lift to go down the green circle trail and watching little kids half your height in a lesson, following their instructor like ducklings, take on the blue squares fearless and without poles. Jealoooous. I want to be like them someday.
3. Don’t lean back on your skis. Unless you want to fall.
This is perhaps one of the harder things to learn on skis, especially for people who are less inclined to lean forward into danger… er, speed. The only time you will ever lean back is when you are using your ski pole to release your boot from its bindings. And that only happens when you’re standing still. Leaning back while skiing means your balance will be thrown off, and you will, most likely, fall in a number of unappealing ways. Falling is okay once or twice, but it will start to get very old the tenth or so time, so lean forward!
Photo from showbizsuperstar
4. Skiing is like driving. Everyone should get a license (or learn the laws first).
Imagine being on a mountain amongst hundreds of other people, who are all trying to get to the bottom. Imagine these people in cars. Now, imagine them on skis. What’s missing? Blinking signal lights. Everyone has a license. Things like that. I witnessed a newbie skier plow into a group waiting for a lift. Multiple times. So, tips for your first day with skis on: Remember your pizzas. Make large pizza wedges to stop. ALSO! Don’t cut people off by mere inches and think it’s okay. It’s not. I finally understand why people wear helmets on the bunny slopes. It’s dangerous out there (Ferreal).
5. Have your lip balm on hand and aloe vera in supply.
Like in swimming, you want to slather on sunscreen even if it’s a cloudy day. Protect yourself from sunburns and unsightly tan lines (unless it’s a badge of pride or something) with sunscreen. And, don’t forget the lip balm with SPF! Aloe vera would be a good thing to have on hand after a day of skiing, too.
Photo from trp0