Beginner Ski FAQ
This FAQ is geared toward skiing novices.
We hope it helps those of you who may be hesitant to get safely onto the slopes this winter!
When does ski season start and end?
The start and end of ski season depends on where a ski resort is located.
Resorts in colder regions (the northern half of the U.S., for instance) or at higher elevations typically have longer seasons than resorts in warmer regions (the southern half of the U.S., for instance) or at lower elevations.
Generally speaking, though, ski season lasts between 4 and 6 months, starting between October and December and lasting through mid-spring.
How hard is it to learn to ski?
How hard it is to learn to ski is a fairly tricky question.
That’s because there are two components to learning to ski – the basic movements and the application of those movements.
The basic movements of skiing are actually pretty simple. There are only a few of them, and they are not physically difficult to perform.
However, using those basic movements while gravity and the slick surface of the ski slope tries to pull you downhill can be tricky.
So, while learning to ski is easy, feeling secure on your skis takes some time and effort.
What should I wear to ski?
Skiing is an outdoor, winter activity, which means you should dress in layers.
The first time you go skiing, we recommend wearing the following things:
- Sweat-wicking base layer (top and bottom)
- Warm mid-layer (top and bottom)
- Waterproof outer layer (top and bottom)
- Warm (non-cotton) socks
- Ski gloves
- Neck gaiter
- Thin, beanie-style hat
This combination of clothing should keep you warm, dry, and safe.
By layering up, if you do get too warm while skiing, you can always shed your mid-layer, while remaining dry.
As for things to avoid, avoid anything that dangles (including scarves) and thicker hats/headbands (stick to a thin beanie that will fit easily under your ski helmet).
What should I bring with me skiing?
As with any outdoor activity, we recommend bringing water with you when you ski.
You can either clip a water bottle onto your jacket, or, for easier, hands-free access, use a hydration pack.
Is skiing expensive?
It’s certainly not cheap, we’re sorry to say.
Skiing requires multiple pieces of equipment – skis, poles, boots, helmet, waterproof clothing – and that equipment can be pricey to buy.
As for the essential components, your skis, poles, boots, and even helmet, you can typically rent those at the slopes.
Skis/poles/boot rentals cost between $25/day and $75/day at most resorts. (Helmets are extra.)
But you’ll also need a lift/trail pass, and that’s where prices go up significantly.
At the most famous resorts, you can expect to pay upwards of $200/day to ski their slopes (with surge-pricing on weekends).
At less famous, but still large resorts, lift passes often come in at over $100/day (with surge-pricing on weekends).
Only at the smallest, least populated ski areas can you get out for under $100/day for your equipment rental and lift pass.
We don’t know about you, but for us that puts skiing firmly in the “expensive pastime” category.
Is skiing dangerous?
Skiing is not without risk.
It is on the high side for injuries when compared with other common sports, like football, soccer, and basketball.
It is on the low side for injuries, however, when compared with other common adventure sports, like hiking and surfing.
So, it really depends on how you look at it.
You can reduce your risk of injury when you ski by only skiing runs that fit your personal ability and always wearing a helmet.
When can kids ski?
Beginner classes at ski resorts typically accept children starting at age three, and snow is a fairly soft surface to fall on.
So, we’ll trust their judgment and say kids can start skiing at age three.