How to Ski – A Skiing Guide for Beginners

Skiing can seem like a daunting challenge if you’ve yet to hit the slopes with a pair of skis, but it is one of the most amazingly rewarding and addictive sports that is guaranteed to be a good time when done right.

Before giving it a go, there are a few things worth considering to make sure that a) you know what you’re getting into, and b) you can hit the ground running (well, skiing).

Watching experienced or professional skiers glide through the snow in effortless and furiously fast fashion might make it seem easy, however behind the cool faces there is an art form that can only be learned (and often from a young age). To help manage your expectations as a beginner, we are here to share some of our most crucial tips to make your time on the skis a roaring success.

1. You’re Not Alone

The first piece of advice that we’d give to anyone skiing is that nobody – and we mean nobody – picks it up immediately first time around.

You will fall (a lot), you might be frightened as you progress in levels and the slopes get steeper, and you may even think about giving up. It’s simply part and parcel of trying something new and it’s definitely not worth stopping over as every skier has been through it. Your persistence and patience will pay off, we assure you.

Plus, there will always be someone around to pick you up and encourage you to try again.

2. Where Is Best to Ski For Beginners?

While many beginners may go skiing completely blind and learn on the go, we would definitely recommend going to a lesson or two to test the waters before you make a trip out of it.

We’ve made a list of the best skiing resorts for beginners in Scotland you might be interested in.

Indoor Ski Training

A real snow indoor slope is the best place to test the waters and get a feel for the sport. With the supervision of experts, you’ll be able to have your first go at it without as much pressure and can get used to the feelings, motions and mechanics of the sport.

This will relieve some first-time nerves and there are plenty of places to choose from as there are dozens of top-rated ski learning centres and academies across the UK and Europe, whether indoor or at prime ski locations nearby to you.

Introductory courses will get you up to speed in a few sessions and will be accompanied by other beginners who are in exactly the same boat as yourself. Here you will also become familiar with the correct technique, as well as ski etiquette that is practised by skiers around the world so that you know what to do wherever it is you are.

Private Ski Instructors

The option of a private ski instructor is available and, of course, will be pricier than group sessions. However, you will receive more one-on-one coaching to learn independently and gain confidence quicker. This option is excellent for beginners who may be more nervous than others as the personal guidance will focus solely on your individual development.

3. Is It Difficult to Learn How To Ski?

With the knowledge and supervision of qualified ski instructors, beginners will feel comfortable, confident and ready to learn, knowing that they are in safe hands regardless of where or how they choose to learn.

It is important to be honest along the way if you have any doubts or hesitations – or even just need clarification of certain instructions – as this will help instructors ensure you aren’t taking on anything you don’t personally feel ready for, or something they might think you’re not quite capable of yet.

Taking your time is key to success in learning how to ski, and as long as you are transparent in your capabilities and needs you will be absolutely fine. Plus, learning with similar skill levels will create an environment of trust that won’t feel rushed as everyone will be learning at the same rate.

4. What Do I Need to Go Skiing For The First Time?

Comfort and protection are essential for successful skiing so make sure that you are wearing the right clothing, especially given that you’ll mostly be in freezing temperatures and changeable mountain weather.

Before we go into the clothing, there is a small list of self-care bits to note.

Drink Plenty of Water

Always have water with you when skiing as you should be hydrated at all times to keep your energy up and blood circulation flowing in the cold. Although you’ll be focused on your learning, make sure to drink some water every now and then because it can be easy to forget.

Most experienced skiers recommend drinking as much as 1 litre of water every 2 hours – or two glasses of water for everything you eat – which may sound like a lot, especially when you can’t simply run to the loos, but you’ll be burning off calories by the second.

A good option is to carry your own hydration pack.

Protect Your Skin From the Elements

Whether at an indoor arena or outdoors, the cold can really take its toll on your skin so make sure that you moisturise well before skiing, and put on some SPF30 (or higher) as the snow reflects UV rays intensely. Sunscreen is a must!

What To Wear

Now for the most important stuff. The clothing and accessories you choose for your first ski lessons will make all of the difference to your experience. It might seem very basic to reiterate how cold it can be in skiing environments but it’s always best to be over-prepared than under.

Do Not Wear:

  • Jeans
  • Sweatpants / Joggers
  • Cotton t-shirts or jumpers
  • Non-waterproof materials

Do Wear:

  • Thermal base layers
  • Quick-drying materials
  • Waterproof materials
  • Windproof materials
  • Ski socks
  • Ski goggles
  • Ski boots

Layering is utterly essential when it comes to skiing – and all other snowsports, while we’re at it.

Layering lets you adapt to the conditions. In spring, especially while skiing energetically, it can be easy to overheat. If opening the ventilation zips on your jacket doesn’t do the job, you may wish to remove layers. If this is the case, it may be handy to have a small backpack with you. Don’t weigh yourself down though, as this could throw you off balance.

Many of our products are designed with quick-drying materials that wick moisture and sweat away, meaning you’ll be kept fresh at all times and won’t become uncomfortable, damp and consequently, cold. We would recommend layering merino wool or synthetic base layers with fleece and then the essential waterproof and windproof ski jackets.

Again, it might seem like an obvious statement, but you must have a waterproof and windproof jacket when skiing to keep you as dry and warm as possible.

What Do I Wear On My Feet?

Trainers definitely won’t do – not even boots would cut it on the slopes. Ski boots make or break a ski session and are an absolute necessity to have.

Choosing the right pair of ski boots is very important to ensure that you pick up skiing techniques quickly and practice comfortably on-piste. You should always go for a professional fitting for ski boots – there should be enough room to wiggle your toes around but your foot itself shouldn’t have any extra room that could let the boots slip off.

5. Should I Buy My Own Skis?

Obviously, skiing requires skis. Many beginners are unsure if they are required to purchase skis themselves or if they can gain access to them on-site, and that depends entirely on where you’re planning to ski.

Most ski resorts will have skis available to hire, although we would always recommend arranging this prior to your arrival just to avoid any mishaps. This way you will also be able to budget accordingly and find out how much they will cost you per session or trip.

If you would rather purchase your own skis to have your own for the long run then we have a few tips on choosing the right pair to suit you. For beginners, we would recommend asking for advice from an expert on what type of ski suits you. This can depend on several factors. The type of skiing you want to do, how often you plan to ski, as well as physical attributes such as height and weight.