Ten Top Tips for Beginner Skiers and Snowboarders

Date: 4th April 2019

1. Do your research

You’re off to a good start by reading this article! It is important to know what you’re getting into before you start. Like most other sports, there is some important ski and snowboard etiquette and some safety rules to keep in mind. Many times this comes down to good manners and common sense but is something you should be aware of before you set out.

You will also need appropriate clothing and equipment. For beginners, it does not need to be the top of the range, but it should be practical. You do not need to go out and buy your gear brand new, check your closets, see what you have, what you can borrow, and which items you can rent.

2. Plan Ahead and Arrive Early

If you are heading on vacation or planning a full season, pre-purchase your lift tickets. Many resorts have early bird discounts for season passes that can save you some extra money. Arrange your tickets and rentals before you leave for your holiday; save your time waiting in line for extra time on the snow! Be aware of all the options, as a beginner you won’t need a full lift pass for the first day, saving extra $$.

On the day, arrive early! Give yourself plenty of time to locate your rentals and lessons, and child care.

3. Take the bus!

Remember, New Zealand Ski fields are accessed by road. You may find yourself on steep, unsealed, muddy and icy or snowy roads. Driving in winter conditions can be stressful, especially if you aren’t used to them. Take that stress out of your day by booking yourself onto a bus or mountain shuttle- let the professionals handle it.

Skiing and snowboarding is a very physical activity, especially when learning. Hopping on a bus will allow you to relax.  It will also save you the walk to and from the car park, saving you the hassle with all your gear.

4. Rent Your Equipment

 It is important to rent your equipment before buying or borrowing. By this I mean your hard goods: skis, boots, boards, poles, etc. There are three main reasons for this: First, it allows you to try skiing or snowboarding and ensure you love it before committing to buying all that expensive gear. Second, a good fit is very important. Rental shop staff are trained to properly fit your gear so that you are comfortable and also so that the settings and equipment match your details and ability. And lastly, rental shops often update their gear each season. This lets you try out the newest gear and not be stuck with dated and irrelevant equipment. This also is a great opportunity to figure out what you do and don’t like in your gear, although that may take time. As you improve you can always swap your gear for higher performance rentals.

5. Be Prepared

Set yourself up for a great day on the mountain! Make sure you are dressed warmly and wearing appropriate gear for the alpine environment. Being warm and dry is key to your day. Check out our Guide to Winter Wear to make sure you pack the right items for your trip.

Proper nutrition is key when doing any sport, be certain to pack lots of high energy snacks for your day. Keep a backpack nearby or have some in your pocket so you have them on hand when you need them, and take plenty of stops to drink water. It’s best to leave alcohol for apres ski and to avoid having any on the hill, especially as a beginner.

You may not think of it in the winter, but being on the snow and at high altitudes increases the risk of high ultraviolet rays. Always wear sunblock (and chapstick with an SPF as well) and protect your eyes with sunglasses or goggles.

6. Get In Shape Before Your Holiday

While people of most fitness levels can enjoy skiing and snowboarding, it is far more fun if you have a base level of fitness. Learning a new sport takes energy and can be tiring. The fitter you are, the faster you will learn, and the more fun you will have.

Leading up to your holiday be sure to go on long walks and incorporate more leg exercises into your routine. Building up your lower body strength will make a big difference in your first few days on the mountain, and your legs will thank you for it!  Getting in shape before you go goes a long way towards a successful ski holiday and will keep you on the mountain longer as well as reducing your risks of injury.

7. Pace yourself

 Try not to overextend yourself! New skiers and snowboarders often push themselves too hard, this can slow your progress, hurt your confidence and risk injury. Taking your time allows you to focus on proper technique and be aware of everything around you. The mountain environment can sometimes be overwhelming for the first couple of days as you get comfortable with your surroundings, grow your skills, and navigate through others on the slopes.

8. Ski/ Ride with a Buddy

 Always avoid skiing or riding alone. If you are not with an instructor, bring a friend! It is always best to be with others just in case you fall, or injure yourself, or get turned around on the runs.

9. Take Lessons

You may have a friend or family member who says “Oh don’t worry, I can teach you!”. If you are learning to ski or snowboard, leave it to the professionals, always take at least one lesson, if not more! A ski or snowboard instructor will teach you proper technique, take you on appropriate terrain and see to it you are having fun. Instructors love teaching just as much as they love skiing and snowboarding and are often full of knowledge about the resort and the town. Set yourself up for success by learning proper technique first.

If you do not want to spend your whole holiday in lessons, that’s fine too. You may opt for a couple of half-day lessons, and choose to meet up with your group and show off your skills afterwards!

10. Have fun!

 It may sound obvious, but the most important rule of all is to have fun!

As a beginner, you will fall, and you may fall lots! Be persistent, and don’t give up without giving it a fair shot. Skiing and snowboarding are highly addictive and before long you’ll be hooked!

How Info&Snow Can Help 

At Info& Snow, we can help you with just about everything! Leave your rentals, lift passes, lessons, and mountain transport to us! Come speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff, we can answer all your questions!