What to Expect on your First Ski Lesson

So you’ve booked your first ski lesson? Congrats – it’s nerve racking and exciting both at the same time! I was so scared to try skiing and didn’t even put on a skis until my 40s! But trust me – it’s not as scary as you might think. When you put on ski boots for the first time it will feel so strange! But they actual feel really secure and sturdy.

Booking your First Ski Lesson

When you book your very first ski lesson it’s often a good idea to book somewhere for just an hour or two to see how you get on. I took my first ski lesson at the Chill Factore in Manchester and it was a great place to start learning because they have a beginners slope and you can choose one to one or group lessons for beginners. It was a good option because I felt that if I didn’t take to it very well then I was not obliged to spend money on a week in the Alps which might not be for me! As it happened, I really enjoyed my first lesson and booked my second pretty quickly!

Some people prefer to book a short ski holiday – most ski resorts have beginner slopes and beginners ski lessons available including the big resorts such as Whistler and Val d’Isere.

What will I need to wear for my First Ski Lesson?

  • Ski boots, skis and helmet
  • Ski Jacket
  • Ski socks
  • Waterproof trousers/ski trousers

First Ski Lesson – Should I be scared?

No, you absolutely should not be scared of your first ski lesson! The great news is that it is a lot safer than you might think. The ski boots protect your ankles and feel very secure. The skis are slippy, but you can dig in the side of your ski to move securely. I was that person who NEVER thought anyone would get a pair of skis on me, but I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try it and I’m so glad that I did!

You will probably fall on your first ski lesson and that is the thing that I was most scared of to be honest. The thing is that you are only falling on snow which is soft! It’s not like falling on a concrete pavement. The snow will break your fall and the skis boots will protect your ankles. The skis are also very safely designed to stay on, but also to come off in an emergency situation only to avoid injury. So you really have nothing to worry about.

putting on skis first ski lesson
Learning to put your skis on and take them off is an important part of your first ski lesson

What to expect on your first ski lesson

On your first ski lesson expect to:

  1. Get your ski boots fitted and learn how to put them on (clips)
  2. Learn how to carry and unsnap your pair of skis (they split up easily and don’t worry – they are metal and you can’t break them!
  3. Learn how to ‘shuffle’ your skis so they get used to the snow temperature and don’t get one on them. Ice will mean your skis are less slippy, but we want them to be slippy!
  4. Learn how to side step in your skis – this is how you go uphill on the small slopes that don’t have a ski lift!
  5. Learn how to do a ‘snow plough’ or ‘pizza slice’ which will mean that you can control the speed of your skis and bring them to a stop.

Learning the ‘Snowplough’ to slow down and stop

One of the most challenging parts of your first lesson is learning the snowplough or pizza slice. It’s an important thing to learn initially because it means that you can slow down to a stop. It can be frustrating to learn and the weird thing is that you don’t really use it much when you actually start skiing. But you won’t be able to move onto the larger slopes until you have mastered and practiced this.

Snow plough ski lesson

It’s a good idea to start slowly at first and lean forward (not back!) with your boots supporting your ankles. To do the snow plough you need to move your heels outward and toes pointing inwards. The front of your skis will make a pizza slice shape pointing towards each other (but not crossing!).

Sometimes you have one dominant foot which means that your snowplough will turn slightly to the left or the right! It takes practice to get the balance right and snowplough in a straight line.

Some Tips for your First Ski Lesson

Here are some top tips for your first skiing lesson:

  • Get your boots fitted properly
  • Don’t be scared to fall – everybody does!
  • Remember not to cross your skis
  • Lean forward rather than back
  • Control with the way you lean from your ankles (not from your knees)

Should I rent or buy my own Equipment?

If you are having your first lesson the easiest thing to do is rent everything – you don’t want to buy the wrong equipment or spend money on a sport that you don’t take to. All indoor ski slopes and resorts have places where you can rent skis, boots and helmets. As a beginner you don’t really know how to fit boots and things like that – book your first lesson that includes rental and fitting of equipment.

Further Reading

I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it helpful as a beginner skier. You might also enjoy the following articles.

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