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I want to learn to ski
Old 12-14-2010, 10:56 AM   #1
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I want to learn to ski

I've been thinking about it for...oh...20 years...and it's time I finally get off my a$$ and do it. My biz partner has a condo in Aspen and always tells me I need to go...but I need to learn first!

I am only 15 minutes from a ski resort, yet have only ventured onto the slopes one time...and that was a failed snowboarding attempt.

Any advice for a newbie? Get lessons. Rent equipment. Buy handwarmers. That's all I've got so far
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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Yes, definitely rent the equipment and get lessons. Get some warm and waterproof clothes too. Enjoy!
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
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Skiing is fun, but inconvenient, time consuming and pretty expensive. Kind of like golf except for the needing snow part.

Gave it up after getting injured pretty badly. Rental equipment is garbage, get your own asap. It's not that hard. Take a lesson or two, then hit the slopes, maybe another lesson when you get to the intermediate stage.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:10 PM   #5
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Rental equipment is garbage, get your own asap.
Disagree. While the rentals are not the best, for a beginner there are probably the best bang for the buck. When you are a beginner you don't know what your preferences for style of skis and length are going to be. It also gives you ability to try different skis & boots.
Rentals are probably around $30 per day, used ski/bindings/boots/poles combos are running anywhere from $200 on Craigslist. (In the Spring you can get much better deals on skis of course).
One thing you might want to get is goggles, if you plan to ski while it is snowing, otherwise good sunglasses should suffice.
In the colder weather myself and the kids like to wear a balaclava (full face hat, like Seirus Combo Clava at REI.com )

PS: I only kvetch about rental skis on ice. On snow - no complains. YMMV.
PS2: Thefed - take the family skiing with you - my now 6y.o. and 4y.o. love it - check the age requirement, in some places they have group lessons even for 3y.o. Or make it a company "team building" exercise.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:10 PM   #6
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Look for newbie specials. A local resort (not the most exciting one, but hey!) has an offer - $99 - 3 days, including rental of equipment, beginner lessons, and lift tickets. Can't beat that!!
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:55 PM   #7
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^ Completely agree with the above- go for the special all-in-one packages instead of paying each part separately (each ski lift ticket, equipment rental, lessons, etc.). I will add that going for early season deals, like the very late fall before winter can be some of the best deals ever since January is prime ski/snowboard season. I still got a good deal in Jan. though, just had to look for it. It was $80 per person with all day lift ticket, free beginner lesson, and equipment rental included. These deals are how I saved a lot and learned a lot the first time three years ago at Liberty Mountain Resort and will again this weekend (yeah, long hiatus just because of other things to do closeby and being a whole 1.5 hours away from the ski/snowboard resort). I'm not avid learner and haven't intended to be with so many other things to focus on. This weekend I'm going to save even more- $80 bucks per person with the hotel room and hot breakfast voucher included! And, the beginner lesson is 90 minutes this time instead of 30 minutes long like last time!
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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Disagree. While the rentals are not the best, for a beginner there are probably the best bang for the buck. When you are a beginner you don't know what your preferences for style of skis and length are going to be. It also gives you ability to try different skis & boots.
Agree with sailor. If you buy asap, you'll either get something you'll outski very quickly, or you'll buy too long of skis that you think you'll develop into, but it'll take longer to get good because you can't control them. If you really don't like the stock rental skis, you can pay more and rent "demo" skis, which will be the same or better than what you would buy. Besides, taking skis on a plane is a pain. If you're going local, it is much easier to have your own than standing in line renting at the hill. But you can go to a nearby ski shop and rent from there.

Once you plateau, compare the cost and convenience once you have an idea how often you'll go. Some people get their own boots and rent skis, but usually you get all or nothing.

And ditto on the warm and dry clothes. It's tough enough to learn. If you get cold and wet it'll be miserable. If you have to go with jeans, scotchguard them. And rent/buy a helmet, especially if you're snowboarding.

Strengthen your legs before going. "Wall sits" are the best. Put your back against the wall and lower to where your knees are bent 90 degrees, like you're in a chair. If you can strengthen your abs and calves, that's a bonus, but the quads get stressed the most.

Look for "guaranteed learn-to-ski" packages or other packages that might combine lift ticket, lodging and rental. But make sure they are better than rolling your own by renting elsewhere.

Learn to ski locally. You can sit on your butt on Ohio snow a lot more cheaply than Aspen. Once you can make it down without falling most of the time, you'll appreciate a place like Aspen. But remember that slope ratings are relative to the resort. An intermediate (blue) slope in Aspen is probably an advanced (black) run at your local hill.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:54 PM   #9
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my father's joke is he has more money in my ski education than his college education. i can't stress lessons enough. not from a friend, not from someone close to you, but from a professional. as someone who has skied their whole life and rattled off about 40 ski days at alta in 2008, i still take a lesson about every year (at least i try to). i can usually find a midweek deal and many resorts offer a package for rental, lift ticket and all day lesson. the benefit of going mid week when they have the deal is, there are fewer people (that's why there is a deal), and a better studentupil ratio. i usually end up with a private lesson (they aren't suppose to do this, but the instructors enjoy some real skiing and there is usually a huge discrepancy in my ski level and the next closest person).

i would suggest learning to ski locally and getting the basics down. don't buy anything. go with what you have. you can dress warm without plopping down $$$$$$ for sport specific clothes. then if you are interested, buy some boots and rent the rest. in fact, my skis are at my in law's in utah. if we go skiing anywhere else, the boots come and i rent skis and poles. i had a friend come visit me once to go skiing. when we got to the ski resort she opened up her ski bag and the airline had broken her ski in half.

good luck. and like anything, it takes practice. lessons will help you along the learning curve and create good habits that will allow to continue to progress. have fun, and may the snow be deep and soft.
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed View Post
I've been thinking about it for...oh...20 years...and it's time I finally get off my a$$ and do it. My biz partner has a condo in Aspen and always tells me I need to go...but I need to learn first!

I am only 15 minutes from a ski resort, yet have only ventured onto the slopes one time...and that was a failed snowboarding attempt.

Any advice for a newbie? Get lessons. Rent equipment. Buy handwarmers. That's all I've got so far
This may not address your question, but have you considered cross-country skiing? Fewer and less serious injuries, more exercise, easier to start, much cheaper (no lift tickets). But from what I've been told by those who do both, learning x-country will not help with learning downhill, and vice versa.
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:20 PM   #11
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DW and I took up skiing in the 70's. At the time there was something called the 'graduated length method'. We started out on very short ski's, about 100mm, I think. Each lesson the skis got a little longer. The short skis were very easy to handle, and it took three lessons before we were on standard length skis. We were coming off the chair lifts the first day. If this method is still available I would recommend it. At the time we were told the purist did not approve, but it sure made it easy to learn. I know one guy that said heck he was going to stay on the short skis. They are slower, but he could care less.

This may give you some more info: http://www.skiinghistory.org/cliftaylor.html
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #12
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Why don't you just fall down a flight of stairs, get the cast, and invest the cost of the ski trip in Beaver Cheese futures?
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:48 AM   #13
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Disagree. While the rentals are not the best, for a beginner there are probably the best bang for the buck. When you are a beginner you don't know what your preferences for style of skis and length are going to be. It also gives you ability to try different skis & boots.
+1

Rentals may be crap, but I think it's good to learn what you like and don't like about the equipment and see what others are using.

I learned to ski when I was 6 or 7 and indestructible. It's much easier to learn as a kid than an adult. The falls you will take will risk your knees, wrists and head mostly, but you can minimize the risk by not skiing tired or drunk and not trying a slope far beyond your ability. I've never been injured skiing.

I think the most important thing is to not try to get in that last run because you paid for the whole day and have time for one more. If you're tired at all just call it a day rather than push it. Skiing tired gets you hurt.

I grew up when nobody wore ski helmets, and I still don't, but as many as half or more are wearing them these days. Probably not a bad idea. They aren't just for protecting your head from trees; your head can slam to the hard-packed snow during a fall.

It is much more strenuous to learn to ski than to ski when you know how. I am nowhere near in shape, but I can ski because I don't have to keep picking myself up off the snow. When you're learning that's what can tire you quickly, get you warm and sweat inside your clothes. You want to avoid sweating enough to get your inner clothes moist, because later it will cool you down too much, so don't be afraid to open and remove hats, gloves, outer coats and ski pants when getting warm and then get them back on.

So layered ski clothes are a good idea, as well as big, closeable pockets to hold a hat and gloves. But start putting things back on when you're not building up to a sweat, especially if you're about to board a lift. That's a good place to get too cold since you're sitting still and hanging in the wind.

And leave your ego in the condo/hotel. While you're in class millions of 3-to-10-year-olds will ski circles around you on the bunny slopes. They will learn faster because they are indestructible and don't have as far to pick themselves up when they fall.

I've heard learning to snowboard is easier than learning to ski, so I thought after 20+ years of skiing I'd pick it up in no time with no instruction. Oops. That's when I really learned how tiring it is to keep getting up after falling, and since your feet are fixed relative to each other falls tend to be hard butt-landings or hard knee and/or wrist landings, either of which possibly followed by your head bouncing off the snow which isn't soft at all after being skied on.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:34 AM   #14
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Growing up in the Alps, I started skiing when I was 3 or 4 years old. In the winter, with the family, we used to spend our week-ends enjoying all matters of snow sports, such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski touring, or snowshoeing. I even did some downhill ski racing in my teens. Nowadays, few people in my family still ski. We prefer snowshoeing mostly because it gives us complete freedom.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:58 AM   #15
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A friend started in his 40s. He highly recommended to use a professional personal teacher one on one and not to join a class with younger ones.
He is skiing now every winter and enjoying it a lot. No injuries so far...
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:59 AM   #16
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I strongly recommend dress warmly! As a start get some quality mitten gloves (reusch gloves mittens) . It wont be fun if youre freezing.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:15 AM   #17
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Downhill skiing is highly overrated. It's rather easy to learn. Group lessons are great and relatively cheap. In general, you will be put in a group of similar age and ability. Take half-day lessons starting in the morning, then practice in the afternoons.

You will find out how boring downhill skiing really is. You are standing around or sitting on a lift most of the time. Go ahead and take a stopwatch with you. I predict you will spend no more than 30 minutes a day doing any actual skiing. A 5-minute lift ride for 30 seconds of actual downhill is not my idea of fun. A 15-minute lift ride for 90 seconds of downhill is not my idea of fun.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:42 AM   #18
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It is fun, but hard work. I enjoy sitting on the lift if the weather isn't too bad.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:50 AM   #19
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LOL, I think you need longer runs (Lutsen, our largest local ski area has runs up to two miles long) or need to try some telemark, back country skiing.

I favor back country skiing and cross country and have equipment for both. Last year when up north I only did ungroomed backcountry on the big wide telemark skiis. I could go right out the back door.

The fed seems more like a downhill type guy.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:57 AM   #20
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IMO, skiing is an adrenaline sport. It does not matter how good you are, there is a slope that will get your heart going. Yes, you seem to come down the mountain faster than you go up, but the time spent going down is something else! Also, when you reach the top, ski off a little from the lift, and just before you commit to loosing your life, you look out the backside of the mountain and it is breath taking, then you point the skis down hill, and it is breath taking!
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