It’s not easy to give a straight answer to this question because it depends on who you ask. For example, if you ask an adult about walking, they’ll tell you it’s a breeze. But ask a toddler, and you’ll find that the story changes.
So, is skiing hard? At the end of the day, skiing is just another skill to pick up. Like anything else, the more you work at it, the more you’ll master it.
But we guess that’s not the answer you’re looking for. You want details about what to expect while skiing, how many times you can expect to fall, and even tips and tricks to get better. If you’re like most beginners, you want to use this information to prepare for what’s to come.
Well, you’ve come to the right place, because we have the answers. First, we’ll talk about what you can expect in the first few days on a ski trip. Then we’ll move on to tips every beginner should know to improve.
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Your First Days on a Ski Slope
If you’ve done some research on skiing, you may have heard the phrase, “skiing is easy to learn but difficult to master.”
This saying is exactly right, and it means that you can descend your first slope and even make slow turns on the first day! But the difficulty is all uphill from there.
If you’re looking to do tricks like front flips or mute grabs, you’ll need to put a lot more time into it. Generally, here’s what you can expect in your first week of skiing or snowboarding:
On day 1, you’re learning about your equipment and getting used to the weight and feel. You’re probably going to spend a while adjusting to your goggles (it’s expected). On day 1, you may also learn to make slow turns down a mild slope, depending on how quickly you pick things up.
On day 2, you’re a little more used to your equipment and very excited to learn something new. Here, you’ll get better at joining left and right turns down easy slopes. You may even feel bold enough to take a chair lift and begin your descent from a higher altitude.
Here you can take on more challenging slopes as you link left and right turns (this may even give you a pro feeling)! At this stage, your professional ski instructor is also helping you reinforce your skills to make sure you have the proper form and technique.
By day 5, you may even feel competent enough to start more difficult turns as you make your way higher on the slope.
Skiing Milestones to Look Out For
The above milestones may not apply to you for several reasons. For example, you may not spend every day taking ski lessons, especially if you’re not on ski holiday.
If this describes you, don’t worry. We have some other key signs that will help you figure out where you are on your learning journey.
If you’re a newbie skier, you’ll probably be on the nursery/beginner slopes in ski school. You may also move on to the mild green and blue runs as your confidence grows and you get better. Beginners who are ready to move up to intermediate level can manage their speed, link turns, and stop.
Intermediate skiers can take on easy red runs even though it may take a few weeks to truly master it. At this level, you’re also going to be confident about trying out difficult slopes that require great maneuverability and speed control.
You know you’re an advanced skier when you can successfully complete a black run. We say “successfully complete” because you’re not just trying to snowplow your way to the finish line. At this level, your technique is more important than anything else. You can expect to move from beginner to advanced in an average of 5 to 10 weeks.
So, Is Skiing Hard? It Depends On Your Skills
Are some people naturals at skiing? Maybe. But for most of us, we need to dedicate time and practice to improve at it. That being said, some traits can make you a better skier than the next person. Here are five of them.
Balance and coordination
Some people have better balance and coordination than others, and that’s okay. Every sport from tennis to basketball requires coordination, and if you’re naturally good at these, you have nothing to worry about. If you also have great balance, you may just be born to ski!
A great instructor can bring out the best skier in you and help you unlearn bad habits. They can identify what lessons or support you need, and provide those accordingly. Great teachers also know how to offer just the right motivation during your skiing lessons to keep you going and help you achieve your goals.
Every pro athlete will tell you that gear can make all the difference. We’ll get into the kind of gear you need for skiing a little later, but make sure to get the best products you can. This is especially true if you’re hoping to get good at the sport.
Excitement can make anything fun, and you’re bound to learn things faster if you’re excited about them. Naturally, it’s not something you can fake, but not to worry, because most people love skiing when they first try it. The excitement will come naturally.
Being in great shape is always a great idea whether you’re learning to ski. Spending an entire day on a mountain can be physically taxing. There are also the constant falls, the beating heart, and even the core and leg strength. People who are in better shape usually tolerate the first days better and are more likely to be great at the sport.
What Can You Do to Increase Your Skills?
When you find something you enjoy, it’s only natural to desire progress. You want to get better and feel the sense of excelling at a sport.
If you’re reading this as research, knowing how you can get better can make your journey quicker when you finally take on the sport. Below are four things to try.
Get the proper gear
It’s very easy to pay attention to your skis, and they’re very important. But equally important are your ski boots. Well-fitted boots will not only give you comfort but control over your skis, which is important when you’re navigating your way down a slope.
You also want to make sure you wax your skis if you own a pair. If they’re rented, the shop will usually take care of this. Waxing skis can improve your speed and maneuverability, and as a beginner, you need all the help you can get!
Improve your fitness level
We already talked about how important physical fitness is to skiing. Try to improve your cardio, strength (in your legs) and overall flexibility. These will help you maneuver better and practice for longer, so skiing won’t be as tasking.
Keep your shoulders level
After your first few bouts, you’ll begin to realize that skiing is a lot of work. Many pro athletes compensate by conserving their energy and only performing motions that are necessary.
One aspect where beginners fail is moving their shoulders. How do you know if your shoulders are straight? Well if you end a turn facing the ski run or piste, your shoulders aren’t straight. Instead, you’re using them to turn, which can burn way more energy than it needs to.
You can practice leveling your shoulders by keeping your poles at chest height as you race down the hill and make turns. It’s a slightly unnatural position, but it can really help teach you this skill.
Have realistic expectations
Kjetil André Aamodt is one of the most decorated Olympic ski racers in the world, and the only Alpine skier to win 8 Olympic medals. Guess what? He started skiing when he was a child and didn’t win a trophy until a full 3 years after his professional debut.
The point is that even the pros take time to come into their own. One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to have grounded expectations. Use the milestones we outlined earlier to monitor your progress as you slowly improve. This also means that you shouldn’t expect to tame the intermediate terrains on the first day.
Is skiing hard? Don’t worry about it! Our final tip is to just enjoy the journey. Hard or not hard, who cares? What’s important is that skiing is fun. You spend your time overlooking some of the most beautiful heights on the planet, whether as you’re skiing down a slope or riding a chair lift.
It would be a shame to be in the midst of all that beauty and not enjoy it. Skiing prowess comes with practice and patience, just like any other sport. If you’re going to spend time anyway, you might as well enjoy yourself.