Learn How to Ski

How to Ski

How to Ski: An Introduction

Are you bored with your usual winter vacation? Do you want to do something more fun and adventurous than snow ball fights? Why don’t you try something new and learn how to ski? Skiing is a fun thing to do during winter with friends or family. This simple guide teaches you what skiing is and how to go about it as a beginner.

Types of Skiing

Skiing is a sport where participants glide over the snow on skis attached to their boots. There are two types of skiing: alpine and nordic. Alpine skiing, also called downhill, includes freestyle and heliskiing. It is characterized with the skiers’ heels and toes attached to their skis.

On the other hand, nordic skiing or cross-country skiing includes ski-flying and ski-jumping. Skiers in cross-country skiing do not have their heels attached to their skis. Jules Older, author of Cross-Country Skiing for Everyone, wrote that cross-country skiing lets you comfortably walk, stride, skate, or descend hills and that unlike downhill skiing, it allows you to climb hills without digging in your edges.

The Must-Haves

Skis, poles, and boots are three of the most important skiing equipment. The skis are the narrow platforms you will be stepping on while you glide over the snow. In choosing a ski, you should consider your height, weight, ski type and level. Since you’re a beginner, it’s good to keep the length of the ski at nose level.

Poles are necessary for stability. The upper portion of a pole is called grip which the skier holds. The bottom part is the basket which keeps the pole from sinking too deep into the snow. Poles are made of fiberglass, graphite, uranium, aluminum, or titanium.

Boots are perhaps the most essential of the three. Without a good pair of boots, you wouldn’t be able to ski well even if you have nice skis. Ski boots have tough outer covering that’s made of plastic. Inside is the inner boots which is thickly padded to keep the feet warm and the skier comfortable. Bindings are used to attach boots on the skis.

Don’t forget to protect yourself from the extreme cold weather by putting on a ski jacket, a pair of gloves, scarf, hat, and goggles. You can buy your own equipment or rent from the ski resorts. However, as a beginner, you don’t need to spend so much on the equipment yet. Borrowing or renting will do.

On the Skis

Learning how to ski is like learning how to ride a bike. It needs focus, balance, and proper stance. Moreover, it will be quite uneasy and difficult to move around while on skis. So, here are some basics you need to learn when you’re already on your skis.

First is the gravity. In skiing, you will not glide on level grounds or flat surfaces. There will always be slopes and downward gliding. So, you need to learn to deal with the gravity—learning how to turn, steer, or stop while the gravity pulls you down. This is never easy at the first time and that’s why you need to focus to get the technique.

Next is balance. Balance is necessary in moving around on skis. Keep in mind that the center of gravity is somewhere near your belly button. When skiing forward, your upper body and hips must be centered over your skis, Steve Hindman, author of Cross-Country Skiing: Building Skills for Fun and Fitness, says. If you want to change direction, move your belly button first to the desired direction before you move your feet.

Finally, stance in skiing is never the gut-in-chest-out. It won’t simply work. When you’re on your skis, your stance should be like that of a slouching teenager who doesn’t want to hear his or her mom’s keep-a-straight-body reminder. It is important that you are relaxed and comfortable on your skis. Also, keep your feet apart.

Taking it Outside

If you want the real adventure, plan a ski vacation now and get yourself, and probably your family and friends too, some lift tickets. Ski resorts are great places for you to learn how to ski. They have ski lodges where you can warm yourself, dry your boots, and eat after skiing. Cable cars or ski chairs are also awesome rides to the slopes. This is when you will need lift tickets so make sure you bought already before going to the resort.

Choose a resort that has beginner slopes. Most ski resorts offer ski lessons to first-timers. Even if someone can teach you how, you can learn more about how to ski in ski clinics or classes. You can choose to attend classes with a group or opt for a private tutorial. If you fall in love with skiing and you want to join competitions someday, you would need a more advanced training. This may require more exercises and skills to learn.

As a final note, expect a lot of tripping and falling down when you practice. Getting up may be difficult with your skis on but don’t feel bad. Practice makes perfect. By mastering the basics of skiing and staying committed, you will definitely know how to ski.

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