Hitting the Slopes for the First Time: Tips and Tricks from a Veteran Rider
Everything from your Snowy Mountains accommodation to your water bottle can impact your experience on the slopes. Make sure you have the best time possible by following these tips
Being nervous your first time out on the slopes it pretty common, but it doesn’t have to ruin your holiday. We at Ski Rider want to help you not be so nervous so you can better enjoy your snow holiday. Our veteran riders on staff have come up with a couple of tips and tricks to help you have the best time possible out on the slopes.
Choose the right mountain
Many of the memories you make during your ski holiday will be on the mountain itself so you want to make sure you’re on the perfect one for you. Beginning riders should always use beginner terrain when learning the ins and outs of skiing and snowboarding. The kind of terrain you are looking for should have a slope just steep enough that you will enjoy sliding down the mountain but not lose control of your board or skis. As well, you want a shorter run that will help you gain the necessary confidence in your developing skills.
When first starting, you will want to get a feel for the terrain and how to safely glide across the snow. As you keep going you will learn how to use your edges, link graceful turns, and navigate obstacles. Intermediate and advanced runs offer fewer opportunities for riders to practice these skills safely, as they focus more on pushing riders to the next level.
For the beginner who has mastered the smaller green runs, you can challenge yourself with taking a ride down the Pretty Valley Run or Copperhead Road trails, which are two beginner runs that are slightly longer and have a larger variety of terrain features.
Once you feel that you have a handle on the beginner terrain, it might be time to find an intermediate trail that is close to one of the beginner trails you are comfortable with. From the Pretty Valley Double Chair, you can access a variety of beginner (green) and intermediate (blue) trails that are both fun and challenging.
Out on the slopes, you’ll get wet and cold very quickly if you’re not wearing the gear, and that can lead to frostbite or even hypothermia. If you’re going to spend the day in Perisher Valley, you have to dress right.
Start with a base layer of thermal underwear, warm socks, and a fleece jumper. Your next layer should include a water and windproof jacket and pants. Last you’ll want a warm beanie, goggles, gloves, and boots.
Make sure you have a warm accommodation in Perisher to go back to at the end of the day and several spare changes of clothes. Staying in wet clothes for too long can cause you to become sick so make sure you get out your snow clothes quickly after you finish up on the slopes for the day.
Rent Instead Buy
Renting your first few times out is a good idea. It saves you money and lets you try different brands and styles of equipment to see which ones best fit your riding style. However, whenever you rent equipment, you run the risk of it being not being well maintained. As such, when renting equipment, you should always check it over carefully before using it. Any good Snowy Mountains accommodation should have well-kept equipment for hire, however.
Don’t Be Scared of The Chairlift
Now that you have taken care of all the necessary clothing and gear, it’s time to leave the safety of your Snowy Mountains accommodation and make your first trip up the mountain. For many new riders, the chairlift is intimidating so they second guess themselves on it. They end up trying to jump off the chair at the last second and hurting themselves.
Instead, you have to let the chair do the work for you. As you approach the top of the lift’s ramp, place your skis or snowboard flat on the ground and gently raise yourself up off the seat. The chair will actually gently push you forward and down the ramp. Don’t look down at your feet! Your body will go where you are looking, so stay focused on a point ahead of you.
For you snowboarders out there, it will be a little uncomfortable getting off the lift with one foot unstrapped from your board. Don’t panic, just bend your knees and focus your weight a little forward so that foot strapped into the binding can help dig your edge into the snow. Focus on where you want to go, gently coast to a stop, strap in and enjoy!
A lot of people don’t want to take lessons because they worry about how it will make them look to other riders. Don’t worry about that. Everyone can benefit from the occasional lesson, especially beginning riders.
When it comes to lessons, you have two options: private or group. Depending on your learning style, pick the type that will work best for you. Certified instructors teach both kinds of lessons so you will receive a well-rounded education either way.
Many times, after a couple hours with a qualified instructor, a beginning rider has gained the necessary experience and knowledge to confidently tackle the mountain. The instructors will teach you many useful tips that you can put into practice the remainder of your time on the slopes.
Our Snowy Mountains accommodation can help you book a variety of snowboarding and ski lessons while you are enjoying your snow holiday.
One of the biggest dangers that new skiers and snowboarders face is not keeping hydrated while on the slopes. It is important that you understand just how easy it is to get dehydrated while out skiing and snowboarding. Your body is working overtime adjusting to the physical exertion that happens while skiing and snowboarding. Additionally, exercising while at such a high altitude can also suppress your appetite, so it is important to take periodic breaks for food and drink while on the mountain. You will actually find that after a quick hydration and food break, you have more energy to devote to having fun and enjoying the wonderful experiences on the mountain.
Understand Your Limits
The most important part of learning to ski or snowboard is making sure you have fun. Part of having fun, though, is understanding your limits. Don’t be afraid to take breaks or chose a less advanced run. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury, which really puts a damper on any snow holiday. If you want to go to the next level, do it but be safe about it and increase the difficulty slowly.
Skiing and snowboarding are very rewarding activities that you can do for many years. There are people on the mountains who have participated in these sports their whole lives. There’s no reason why you can’t make this a positive experience that you can look forward to enjoying year after year. Who knows, you might even become one of those strange people who can’t wait for winter to return.
If you’re ready to hit the slopes, check out our Perisher accommodation options and book a trip today!