Getting there At
the mountain Lift Ticket Trail
Map Falling Tips
to avoid injury Terminology Binding
Release Chair lifts
Preparing for your first ski trip is easy and will give you extra hours on
the slopes. A few bits of inside information will also make your first trip (and
all those that follow) more enjoyable.
Start your preparations well before you leave, by getting y clothing,
equipment and other necessities ready before you reach the mountain. Call the
resort to find out whether they offer a discount "learn to ski"
package that combines equipment rental, lift ticket, and lessons.
Avoid the morning rush at the on-mountain rental shop by getting there half an
hour before the lifts open. Rental shops can get jammed by midmorning and by
avoiding the rush you're guaranteed an hour or so of extra snow time. Besides,
the snow is usually best, and the lift lines shortest, early in the morning.
At the mountain
Head straight for the ski school desk to ask about a discount "learn to
ski" package, that combines rental equipment, lift ticket, and lessons.
Make sure to ask about weekend and multiple-day discount packages and check
whether your lift ticket can be purchased with the rental package.
A lift ticket allows you onto lifts and the snow for a day's worth of skiing.
Also sold in "learn to ski" packages and multiple day passes.
Shows a layout of the mountain, but unfortunately doesn't include a
"You are here" flag--not yet anyway! Read the map carefully to ensure
you don't wander onto terrain for intermediate or advanced skiers.
At U.S. resorts, beginner trails are marked with a green circle ,
intermediate with a blue square and
advanced with a black "diamond" .
At some bigger mountains you'll also find double black diamond slopes for
experts. If you're not sure how to find a green trail, ask a ski patroller, ski
instructor, lift attendant, or other area employee
Falling - even good skiers fall
Falling is an inevitable part of skiing. There is no dishonor involved, and
even good skiers fall over. It is one area in which beginners excel, because
they have more practice than advanced skiers. Hurling yourself to the ground
because you couldn't stop even used to be a recognized technique, known as the 'arrêt
There are times when you really don't want to fall, such as when the slope is
extremely icy or dangerous. In normal conditions, however, a fall is nothing to
worry about, it can even loosen you up and show you that skiing needn't hurt!
Learning when to take risks and when to play safe is an important part of
Tips To Avoid Injury
|If falling sideways, try to keep your knees from hitting the snow first as
this will tend to twist them. Land instead on your seat.
|Don't fight the fall too hard. If you take a real high-speed crash, try to
roll with it: swallow-diving into the snow can be harder than expected.
|Stop sliding as quickly as possible. Bring your legs below you so you can
use your feet, with or without skis, to brake to a halt. Don't wear slippery
|Never jam in your poles to stop. One of our most convincing childhood
cautionary tales was about our mother who used her pole as a brake and broke
her jaw on the handle. They reset it nicely though.|
Falling is such an integral part of skiing that it has developed its own lore.
It has also developed its own vocabulary of euphemisms and nicknames.
|Face plant (also head plant, shoulder plant, etc.): Driving of relevant
piece of anatomy deep into the snow.
|Three point yard sale (or in extreme cases, five point, seven point,
etc.): Generous distribution around the mountain of equipment - skis, poles,
goggles, hat, scarf, gloves... with an end result resembling a back-yard
|Snow snakes. Malicious but rarely-seen reptiles living just below the
surface of the snow. Responsible for many otherwise inexplicable falls.
|Wipe out. Adopted from surfing. What happens when you get thrown off the
|Pre-release. A binding set too loosely or obstructed with snow will
occasionally eject you unexpectedly, particularly in bumps or powder. This
is the best excuse for any fall in which you lose a ski - almost impossible
to refute without video evidence.
|Catching an edge. Letting a downhill or outside edge catch in the snow
usually results in instant catastrophe.|
When you rent or buy skis, the shop is responsible for adjusting the bindings
correctly. If, however, they persistently release unnecessarily or, even worse,
do not release when they should, they probably need readjustment. Unless you
know exactly what you are doing, take your skis back to the shop.
Making your own adjustments is risky, and instructors are often reluctant to
help, in case you get injured and sue them (especially in the United States). If
you do decide to try, many lift operators will be able to lend you a
screwdriver. Failing that, a Swiss army pen-knife or a coin can be used. Only
tighten or loosen the release setting by half a turn at a time, as the
adjustment is sensitive. If the problem persists, get the binding checked
Chair lifts provide a civilized way of getting up the mountain, offering a few
minutes rest and time to admire the scenery. Chairs, usually two, three or four-seaters,
mounted on a cable, move continuously up the slopes. The limousine version,
high-speed quads, cruise up the mountain, but slow down considerately to pick up
Chair Lifts - Getting On
|Remove straps from your wrist and hold your poles in your hand which
is toward the center of the chair. Hold them forward and away from
your companions. |
|Spot the chair over your shoulder (looking toward the outside rail of the
chair) as it approaches. The unprincipled slide a few inches forward to let
their companions' calves take the full impact of the chair.|
|Sit down as the chair reaches you. |
|Avoid hitting your companions in the face with your poles.|
|Once the chair has left the platform, lower the protective bar. Take care
not to drop gloves, poles or litter. Should you lose something, note the
number of the next pylon for orientation.|
Chair Lifts - Getting Off
|When you see the sign warning of arrival, open the protective bar.
Raise the tips of your skis so they don't catch as you approach the
|As your skis touch the snow, stand up and push yourself off the chair with
your free hand (or allow the front edge of the chair to push you on the back
of your legs) until clear .|
|Slide quickly out of the way to avoid being hit on the back of the head by
the chair. |
|It is highly recommended NOT to use your poles, since using them usually
puts you in the way of your companions. |
|Brake once you are well clear of your companions and the chair. |
|Do NOT stop will still in front of the chair exit, since you may be in the
way of the skiers on the next chair.|