Thursday, January 24, 2013


30 Skiing Tips for Beginners

Never been skiing?  Needs some tips? Here are 30 Skiing Tips for Beginners:

In two weeks friends, this momma and her family are heading off on a vacation trying something completely new.  We're going to Breckenridge, Colorado for 4 days of snowy fun, including our very first time skiing!! We are thrilled!!

And yet, I find myself equally terrified.

How is it possible that I lived out in the West for 9 years of my life and never went snow skiing?  And now, when I'm almost 40, now I'm ready to attempt it?  Yes, this not-very-coordinated momma will be  gracing the slopes of Breckenridge looking like the guy in the picture above, all in the name of adventure.  And my kids.

They are dying to learn to ski.  So really, it's all about them.  And then it becomes all worth it.

So in preparation for our big trip, I have researched, googled, and asked a few of my closest travel experts and friends to help me with what they feel I absolutely need to know for our trip.

And here is what I found to be the most important tips to know for a Beginner Skier:

What to Wear:
1. Ski/snow pants or bibs and and outerwear jacket are a must to keep you dry.  Think Under-armor to keep you warm underneath.
2. Buy neck gaiters - "You won't want to mess with scarves on the mountain and these things are game changers when it comes to staying warm!" Jennifer Close from Two Kids & a Map
3.Wear helmets and helmet liners if it is cold
4. Wear goggles that fit around a helmet to keep the wind out of your eyes
5. Some prefer to wear sunglasses as the snow can be pretty bright
6. You can purchase ski clothing at inexpensive places like Academy, a used sporting goods store, or online.
7. If you don't want to invest in all the clothing, you can rent snow pants and outerwear jackets at most ski resorts.

What to Pack:
8. Around the neck wallets for the kids to store lip balm, money, phone numbers, etc.
9. Advil, sunscreen, lip balm with SPF (one for each skier)
10. Hand Warmers for your hands and feet
11. Swim suits for indoor pools or hot tubs
12. Light backpack for stashing extra clothing and snacks while skiing
13. Pack using the "space bags" that suck the air out and compresses everything down
14. "Before you pack and depart, write a ski trip checklist with needed gear and supplies" - Amy Whitley from Pit Stops for Kids

And take a look at this amazing Ski Packing List from

Ski Equipment:
15. Take your time when getting fit for equipment. "Getting fit, putting it on, and using it correctly are all novice time wasters. The experts can help." Michelle Brennan from
16. Keep plastic bags in the car to put your muddy/slushy boots in after a full day of snow

Actually Skiing:
17. "Pizza (to stop) French Fries (to go). That's how you point your skis." Sabina King at A Kings Life
18. Lessons!  This was the number ONE tip I received! I found this article from Jen at Two Kids and a Map to be helpful in making the decision to take lessons as soon as we arrived.

"Also look into a full day lesson instead of group lesson for an hour. It helped our kids a lot to be in ski school for a full day. An hour group lesson is not as effective especially for first time skier. By the time an hour is done, you just learn how to put the ski on and off." - Amy Querido from The Q Family Adventures

"If they're not too expensive try to get at least one private lesson for everyone once you have the basics of stop, go and turn. Group lessons are much more affordable but when you are first learning you will learn 5x as much in one private lesson as you will in one group lesson so it's worth it. Or look at a private family lesson if that is more affordable." - Tracy Burns from Our Travel Lifestyle

19. Talk to the ski instructors to learn what you (and your kids) need to work on.
20. Schedule in bathroom breaks while skiing - especially with kids!
21. "Make sure to let your kids take breaks when needed, including sitting down indoors and having some snacks. Everyone feels better after that."- Debbie Kaplan from Jersey Kids

Other than Skiing....
22. Plan other available activities. "I learned that the hard way--when my son broke his wrist 40 minutes into a ski boarding lesson on our first day in Aspen. It was a long 3 days trying to entertain an unhappy 11-year-old who was in pain."- Cindy Richards of

Paul Johnson of A Luxury Travel Blog has a great post titled "7 things to do on a ski holiday, other than skiing"with fun ideas.

23. Look into free activities (or search for local coupons/groupons)."Look for free activities around the resorts like scenic gondola rides or get an inexpensive sled (donate afterwards if flying or bring home if on a road trip) and find a hill for hours of fun." Mary Solio from The World is a Book
24. Don't overdo your trip.  Love this advice from Tracy Burns (Our Travel Lifestyle): "Try to have the occasional morning or afternoon off. Getting out the door with all your gear is stressful. Skiing holidays are expensive so you want to get the most out of your time there,  but skiing is also really tiring for young children.  Take turns looking after the kids while Mum and Dad hit the slopes with any children that aren't too tired to ski."

25. To save money & time, pack lunches, put non-mushy snacks in your coat pockets and put hot chocolate powder in travel mugs (fill with hot water later).
26. Make a plan for dinner.  Everyone is exhausted and ready to eat, so know the phone number for pizza delivery.

Altitude Sickness Preparedness:
Something I didn't even think about until a friend pointed it out to me.....
27. Drink a lot of water in the days (week) leading up to your trip, to avoid altitude sickness.
28. Acclimate yourself to the higher altitude and don't over do it the first day.

Kara Williams of The Vacation Gals has an excellent post on avoiding altitude sickness.

29. Take a small pocket camera to capture the moment - you won't regret it.
30. Have fun.  Seriously, have fun, don't over do it and enjoy the snow! <--- My personal favorite tip!

I'm prepared, started gathering all the essentials and we are excited to go!  Thanks to everyone for all their advice. It's going to be an awesome trip!


Kara Williams said...

Great post! Thanks for including my tips. :-)

Also, FYI, the "hot packets" are actually called "hand warmers" or "toe/foot warmers." :-)

Enjoy Breck!

Mary {The World Is A Book} said...

All great tips here! You're so ready for your ski trip! I'm sure all of you are going to have a lot of fun. It's an awesome ski resort. Thanks for including my tip. Safe travels and enjoy!

Michele | Malaysian Meanders said...

Tip: Those posts with mattresses wrapped around them are not there to stop runaway skiers. Do not crash into them. I learned that one the hard way.

Tracy said...

Great tips! Thanks for including mine.

I hope you and the family have a great time skiing ... and you mostly avoid looking like the guy in the photo! I'm uncoordinated (my school nickname was 'stacca') and not sporty at all but after learning to ski last winter I now love it more than the kids! Well apart from tree and jumps ... I'll leave those to my kids and stick to racing down nice groomed runs!

Average Traveller said...

I couldn't agree more with #18. I've seen too many people try to save some money and have a friend show them the ropes. More times than not that ends up being the last time those people ever ski or board!

Mary-Colleen said...

I can't agree enough with the tip about taking lessons. In fact, I'd put that at Number 1.

Trying to learn without professional instruction can be so frustrating that it can ruin the trip.

I'd also add that, if possible, kids should take lessons separately from parents. Sometimes kids, especially uncertain or nervous kids, do better with their parents out of sight.

Danielle (Bubs on the Move) said...

Good tips. We are going to Club Med China for a skiing holiday in 6 weeks and I am a bit apprehensive myself. Also, really glad to see you mentioned altitude sickness as most families don't figure it into their plans at all.