You made it through your first few sessions, and you’re starting to feel confident on the snow. You might not be ready for a Black Diamond run just yet, but you spent a few days getting used to the equipment, the slopes, and you’ve learned a few things in the process: how to turn, stop, and do some basic maneuvering.
This is a great start to your skiing journey. But there’s always more to learn, so let’s cover some more tips and start looking at a few things you can do now that you know how to move.
Work your way up—but don’t go overboard!
One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is trying to take on too much too soon. We get it that you want to get off the bunny slope ASAP, but make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
In 1964, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) adopted a system of ski slope ratings to rank the difficulty of slopes based on how steep they are, how long the run is, and how many obstacles run along the course. There are a few different rankings you might have seen:
- Green circle: The easiest slopes, with steepness gradients of 25 percent or less. These are perfect for beginners.
- Blue square: Moderately-difficult slopes with gradients of 25 to 40 percent. These slopes are popular, as they offer an exciting amount of challenge without being too hardcore.
- Black diamond: Here’s where things get tricky. Black diamond routes are tough, featuring gradients of 40 percent or more and a fair number of moguls. Unless you’re an expert, steer clear.
- Double black diamond: Just in case black diamond isn’t hard enough, there’s the double black diamond—highly difficult routes that may feature dangerous hazards such as trees, crevasses, long stretches of large moguls, or cliffs. If you’re new, just consider the double black diamond the skull and crossbones of the skiing world: Avoid at all costs.
Riding the Lift
Hopefully, you’re more confident on the lift than you were a few days ago. But if the ride up still makes you anxious, don’t worry—it’ll pass with a bit more experience. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
As a quick refresher, there are four steps to riding the lift:
- When the lift arrives, sit back while keeping a firm grip on your ski poles
- Put down the restraining bar
- Enjoy the ride up the mountain
- Upon arrival, raise the bar, stand up, and off you go
Exploring the Mountain
One of our favorite parts of learning to ski is when you realize just how mobile you are. It’s super easy to move around on skis, and once you get comfortable, you’ll be able to go beyond the bunny slope and start exploring the gorgeous mountain scenery.
Remember what you learned about balancing on your skis and shifting your weight to move yourself forward. You don’t need to be a pro to master the movements that will carry you across the terrain. If you’re more interested in getting in touch with nature than sharpening your skiing skills proper, we recommend picking up a trail map before you set out.
Most slopes, including ours, have multiple peaks and dozens of different tracks that cut through the mountains so even novice skiers will have plenty to pick from. Just remember to use common sense, stick to the established terrain, and above all, be safe!