So you’re going on your first ever ski trip and find yourself asking, “do I need ski lessons the first time?”. Most people have probably faced this dilemma before. Why pay for expensive classes when your family or friends can teach you for free, right?
Understandably, you’d want to save money wherever possible. And, perhaps you’re confident that you’ll figure it out yourself. But pros and amateurs alike generally advise against hitting the slopes without any lessons.
Below is a list of reasons you need ski lessons your first time around. If you’ve already decided to take on the slopes without professional guidance, these tips and videos will give you a decent foundation of knowledge before your ski holiday.
Can You Ski Without Lessons?
You probably won’t need as many lessons on how to navigate the hills if you’ve snowboarded before. Similarly, if you’re a pro ice skater with brilliant balance, you might pick up on skiing much faster. But it’s always worth taking a few lessons (even if you only take one) to learn the nuances specific to skiing.
The general consensus is that you shouldn’t ski without having had a few lessons. And there are plenty of reasons why:
You’re Risking Your Safety – and the Safety of Those Around You
When you’re stopping and stumbling down the slopes, you’re becoming an unpredictable and unexpected obstacle for other skiers. This can lead to collisions and painful injuries for both parties. You wouldn’t want your ski trip to end before it’s even started, would you?
It Won’t be any Fun
When you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know the proper techniques, everything you do is trial and error. You’re going to progress slower than if you took lessons, meaning it’s going to take you longer to get to the more challenging slopes.
Not Everybody Can Teach
Your family and friends may be happy to help you – but unless they’re professional ski instructors, you’re not going to get the full experience.
They might leave out basic essentials that they consider common knowledge or not notice any bad habits. It’s also a hefty responsibility to teach you the correct way – and not everybody is good at teaching.
You’ll likely get a quick 15 minute run-down of the “basics” and be left to your own devices. A ski instructor is professionally trained to teach, guide, and correct you along every step of the ski learning process.
You’re Going to Develop or Pick up bad Habits
If your friends and family teach you – or you’re daring enough to figure it out yourself – you’re going to pick up some bad habits.
A professional instructor will identify these habits and teach you the correct technique. They’ll teach you how to stop and turn properly, how to safely navigate the courses, and check that all your gear is in good order. You will also learn some crucial skier etiquette on how to behave on the slopes.
How to Start Skiing
Venturing into the world of skis, slopes, and color-coded terminology can be pretty intimidating. You’ll find the top beginner tips below to help you ease your mind.
Ski Tips for Beginners
Your first ski trip can put you off skiing forever or be a great experience that will set you up for all future ski holidays. There are some basics you’ll need to know before hitting the snow so you can (safely) enjoy yourself to the fullest.
- Improve your fitness: Skiing will work a bunch of muscles you probably didn’t know you had. Try to achieve a comfortable level of fitness before your ski trip. Being fit will allow you to spend more time skiing and less time panting at the foot of the slopes.
- Get your boots properly fitted: Your skis won’t get you far if they don’t fit properly. You’re either risking an accident or terrible bruising, twisting, and chafing. Get a shop assistant to help you – or a ski instructor (yes, they help with this too).
- Don’t jump the gun: It’s tempting to go all-in and hope for the best. While your self-confidence may be admirable, you’re going to regret taking on more challenging slopes before you’re ready.
- Good gear is vital: Do your research and make sure you’re hiring or buying the best equipment It’s worth renting beginner equipment before making any purchases. This equipment is specifically designed to aid and protect you while you learn.
When you do finally buy your first serious pair of skis, don’t sacrifice quality to save a few bucks. You’ll have more fun with gear that’s tailored to your needs.
- Book group lessons: One-on-one lessons are great if you need more personal attention, but they’re much more expensive. Booking group lessons with a bunch of friends or other beginner family members will be cheaper and more fun.
Will Skiing Instruction Videos Help?
Yes, ski instructor videos can help – but not much. Learning how to ski from YouTube can lay the groundwork, but ultimately you need to learn by doing. Videos won’t give you live feedback (and encouragement) the way a ski instructor will.
If you’re still set on learning to ski from a few YouTube videos (because lessons can be expensive), have a look at these:
Best Ski Lessons for Kids
It’s tempting to teach your children to ski rather than paying a ton of money – especially when you have more than one child. Have a look at this helpful series of videos before attempting to teach them.
Top Adult Ski Lessons
Many people only go skiing once they’re adults, and it can feel embarrassing to need to be “schooled” on something new. But even grown-ups don’t know everything – and that’s okay. YouTube videos can give you some valuable pointers before one day taking on the snowy hills off-piste.
Final Tips for First Time Skiing Lessons
Ultimately, it’s all up to you. Your overall sports experience and balancing ability will determine how quickly you pick up the necessary skills. Some people take a day to figure things out on their own, and others need a week’s worth of lessons.
Do what works for you, and try not to compare yourself with anyone around you. Speeding down mountains on two “planks” is not exactly something that comes naturally to humans. So be patient with yourself.