Key advice every novice skier should know

November 26, 2014

First-time skiers tend to go overboard buying fancy equipment they don’t need, while skimping on more essential items vital for a safe and enjoyable ski trip. As a beginner, borrowing equipment is the best way to start, but what else might you be missing? Here's some key advice every novice skier should know before hitting the slopes.

Key advice every novice skier should know

Rent before you buy

It’s only natural for beginners to be tempted to purchase skis, a helmet, boots, poles and a ski jacket. Before you splurge on some very pricey equipment – with no guarantee you'll love the sport – call the resort or ski facility you are visiting or check their website.

  • Most locations will offer a basic line of ski equipment for rent. Others may even rent protective ski clothing, such as helmets. In addition, they'll advise you about the type of ski equipment that best suits your physical abilities.

Renting might seem expensive, but not compared to the cost of equipment you've used only once and which now sits in your basement because you discovered you're not thrilled with the sport.

Consider lightly used gear

If you're still set on owning your own equipment, versus renting, the next place to look are consignment shops for lightly used equipment and even discount retailers. After all, why pay full price for skis when you don't have to?

  • When you’re just learning to ski, renting or buying inexpensive equipment is your best option because skiing is not the cheapest winter sport around.

Rather than investing loads of money up front, buying cheap skis is the most inexpensive way to become comfortable with skiing and know if you'd like to continue with it. Otherwise, you may end up with an expensive pile of equipment gathering dust in the corner!

In the weeks leading up to the holidays, many sports stores deeply discount their merchandise for pre-Boxing Day sales.

Keep an eye online for retailers offering significant savings on skis and related equipment. You may be able to snag a bargain this way.

  • Just be warned that if it's an "end-of-the-line" sale for a retailer, you may not find the sizes that you require. However, if you do, you might find some pretty snazzy ski equipment at a fraction of the regular price.

Essential cold weather purchases

Whether you’re hitting the slopes for a run, or want to just ride the lift and watch your friends and family, certain equipment is essential for the cold conditions of ski locales.

Shield your eyes and skin

  • Though it may be cold, the sun still shines on most slopes. Because snow reflects sunlight, invest in good sunglasses and goggles. Otherwise, you risk suffering from snow blindess.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen either – the cold, bright conditions can leave your skin chapped and burned if you don’t take preventative measures.

Layer your clothes for warmth

When it comes to clothing, several thin layers are better than one or two bulky layers. The goal is to have your inner-most layers remain dry and keep you warm.

  • Start with a thin base layer – often known as thermals.
  • Supplement with additional mid-layers of thin fleece or woolen sweaters.
  • Add or subtract layers as you heat up or cool down.
  • Avoid cotton clothing as a base layer, if possible. Cotton soaks up sweat and chills you down quickly if you perspire heavily when exercising.

Protect your fingers, toes and neck

  • To prevent frostbite or severe cold damage to your hands, buy some quality waterproof mittens or gloves.
  • Keep your feet protected, too, with thin socks. Most ski boots are made with enough insulation to prevent moisture from getting in and heat from getting out. For that reason, thick socks are usually not necessary,
  • Last but not least, a neck warmer is one of those ski essentials you don't want to forget. Make sure to bring a neck warmer of some sort—whether a thin fleece or a scarf you can tuck beneath your jacket. If it's chilly enough, chances are you'll use it to protect your face, too.
  • It goes without saying you'll need a warm hat!
  • Most ski hills now require that people wear helmets when they ski.

Keeping your body warm and dry is essential to a fun day of skiing. Warm muscles and limber joints not only help as you learn this exciting sport, but they reduce the chance of injury when you tumble into the snow.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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