Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tips for First Time Skiers

For both parents and children, going skiing for the first time can seem daunting. A family trip to the beach requires minimal preparation, but taking a family ski trip involves a lot of planning, even if you’ve been skiing. But the potential rewards are so great that most families who ski together can’t wait till their next trip tot the mountain.

The importance of dressing in layers cannot be emphasized enough. Weather can change quickly in the mountains, so you will be glad if you can peel off or add on a layer. However, you need one pair of socks, not four. Thick clunky socks, make it hard to fit boots; one pair of light to medium weight Smartwool socks is perfect. Bring an extra pair of socks for every member of the family, in case one gets wet.

Helmets are not just for kids or beginning skiers. You can rent a helmet at most ski resorts, but if you bring your own, you can ensure a custom fit – with a hat or headband underneath. Test out the fit before you leave to make sure everyone is comfortable.

When you ski, there is a lot of wind; sunscreen offer sun and wind protection. Special ski goggles are not necessary for children or adults, but sunglasses that block UV light are.

A good pair of warm mittens or gloves is vital, along with a second pair in case the first ones get wet. Once kids (or adults) are cold or wet, it is difficult to make them happy again and enjoy being outside.

Advance preparation should also include leaving enough time to get to your destination. Don’t show up right before a program begins; there is paper work to fill out, and fitting for rental equipment can be time consuming. If you are getting to a ski resort the night before, big places like Killington, in Vermont, let you pick up your skis then, to save time in the morning. If you rent from a place close to home, you can spend more time focusing on fit, but then you have to lug the equipment from the parking lot.

Do some stretches to get limber before getting into a car and driving to a ski resort. You will do a lot of bending, getting ski boots on and off. Back and leg stretching will help reduce post-ski aches.

Finally, smile! You are having fun!

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