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The most important part of skiing is simply setting yourself up for success. It’s what makes the difference between a day feeling cold, unhappy and unmotivated, and a day spent taking dream turns on fresh snow, all smiles. The fact of the matter is, skiing is a winter sport, and things are just a whole lot harder to do when it’s cold outside. But with the right preparation, a solid day on the mountain is what leaves you praying to the snow gods each winter.
Getting yourself to the mountain is, of course, the first step. Choosing the right day and time to go up is paramount, to avoid weather closures, whiteouts on the mountain or simply crowded runs and hours’ worth of traffic. If your schedule allows, traveling to the mountains is smoothest on weekdays—or at least not during holiday weeks such as Christmas and New Year’s week and President’s Week.
Be prepared to have the right driving equipment, including snow tires (or at least chains when needed), ice and snow scrapers and windshield wiper fluid to avoid any dangerous driving conditions. Get up early for a full day of skiing without hitting too much traffic or wait until lunchtime for a solid half day. Avoid going skiing during winter storms—although we love the snow they bring, wait until it’s over to head up. There’s no greater pleasure than soft, fresh snow and blue skies to match. As a novice skier, however, try to avoid ungroomed powder that expert skiers rave about; this is unmanageable territory for the less experienced.
Skiing is equipment-intensive, much like how you’d prepare for a camping or fishing trip. Although it’s unnecessary to have top of the line gear, it’s important to have the right stuff for the right conditions. Most ski equipment will last you years—this is why gearheads in the industry are always hunting for new advancements in ski tech. Professionals at the ski shop will take care of your boots and ski rentals or purchases, and we’ll go into that later.
Dressing appropriately is the most important preparation to make. Always layer up: It’s much easier to shed layers as needed than to spend the day shivering. A water and windproof outer layer is necessary to keep you warm and dry from the cold conditions. Underneath, fleece liners, wool baselayer, and warm socks are welcome additions to keep you warm as you need.
AIM Adventure U’s Intro to Skiing course is designed to take you through the basics of skiing, without actually having to step foot on the hill. The six-week online course can be completed from wherever you are, on your own time. Through interactive lessons, which include photo and video instruction, you’ll be prepared to navigate everything from the rental shop to your first turns on the slopes.