I somehow managed to live 14 years in the self-proclaimed ski capital of Northern Michigan and 1 year in the shadow of the Colorado Rockies without ever attempting to ski. Now I am almost 30 and decided to see what all the fuss is about!
What better time to finally hit the slopes than Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month? As a 29 year old adult skiing for the very first time, this is what I learned…
Skiing is a sport! Like in any other sport, it is important to prepare your body to move. I made sure to get in a solid 20 minutes of stretching first thing in the morning and my muscles thanked me for it later.
2. Arrive early.
I was up with the sun and one of the first people to collect my lift ticket and rentals. This meant 4 very important things: I didn’t have to start my day waiting in a long queue, I had time to enjoy a pre-ski hot cocoa, I could enjoy freshly groomed runs, and I got to chat with a fellow Michigander who had also moved to Colorado before moving to California!
3. Dress to express.
There is no dress code in skiing so why limit yourself? There were retro ski onesies, crazy patterned jackets, someone in a trench coat, and I even saw a unicorn on the slopes. Tell me that isn’t awesome! You don’t need fancy snow gear to hit the slopes. Even ski fashion is cyclical, so be bold. When else are you gonna rock that 80s ski jacket you haven’t worn in a couple decades?
4. Fall Down.
It’s gonna happen, so just go with it! I made it down the bunny hill my first time without falling so I immediately moved on to the easiest green run. The first of many of falls:
5. Get back up.
Brush off the snow, find whatever gear might have gone flying away from you, check to make sure your limbs are all intact and get back on those skis! Toward the end of the day, I had a rough fall and had to take a few minutes to sit down, calm my body, collect my gear, and take some pictures, of course…
Then I had to finish the run which involved falling down again…and again…That fall shook my confidence but the only way to get it back was to keep trying.
6. Take a break…or 3.
Once I had started feeling confident, I was too excited to stop. Thankfully I was with friends who knew better and insisted that we take a few breaks for water and hot cocoa and food and more hot cocoa. I really can’t express how important it is to drink hot cocoa.
7. Do as I say, not as I do.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me to take a lesson. I did not. I watched some online tutorials and got some tips and tricks from friends who used to be ski instructors. I skipped the lesson because I had already developed the basic skills required when I took ice skating lessons as a kid. All that being said, I would still advise anyone thinking about hitting the slopes for the first time to take a lesson!
8. Savor the scenery.
I could not have asked for a more beautiful first day of skiing: the snow was fresh and the sun was shining! Everywhere I looked, I was greeted by a picture-perfect winter wonderland and more than once I had to stop to appreciate it.
9. Scare yourself a little.
I started off the day thinking I would probably ski the bunny hill about 5 times and then the easiest runs for the rest of the day—just take it easy and play it safe. After one time down the bunny hill, I was ready to move on and after a few times down the easiest green run my friends asked if I was ready to try something more challenging. My first thought was, “NO! I’m new at this! I’m just going to perfect this tiny portion of this easy run.” But where’s the challenge in that? I pushed myself and moved on to the bigger runs and I’m so glad that I did!
I came, I saw, I conquered…and fell down a lot…but I still had an amazing first day of skiing and am ready for more!