There’s excitement mixed with apprehension. You’ve been invited to go along on a trip to ski country for your very first time. You imagine yourself shussing on a snowy slope, flashing by beautiful wintry scenery as you complete a world-class downhill ride in a shower of white powder.
Then your imagination creates a much different picture. Your downhill descent ends when you lose your balance and plunge into the trees. You then spend the rest of the ski weekend sitting by the lodge fire with your splinted leg wrapped in bandages.
Your first-time skier dream could become a real pleasure or nightmare, and it depends on how you prepare for your first ski adventure. Some simple suggestions could help you make the right choices.
1. Enroll in basic ski classes. There are many internet websites that offer step-by-step instructions for the first-time skier. Of course, it’s much more effective if you attend sessions with a live ski instructor. You’ll get individual attention and answers to the many questions you’ll have.
2. Your ski instructor will offer strength exercises that will aid in starting and improving your ski skills. In your research and instructions, you’ll be told skiing requires muscle flexibility and strength in your knees, ankles, back, wrists and elbows. Apply frequent exercise daily before your first ski trip to bring those areas up to the level of strength you’ll need on the slopes.
3. Talk with your family physician about your first-time ski plans, and discuss any physical limitations you may have. Ask for suggestions concerning medications you should take with you.
4. Check with experienced people about clothing you should bring to the ski area, including hat and mask to protect against the cold.
5. When you arrive at the ski area and rent your ski equipment, sign up for beginners’ instructions. There will probably be a practice area where you can flex and work out with the instructor before you venture out to the ski area.
6. When you’re told you are ready, go to the easiest slopes and try several short runs. It’s best if you always take an experienced skier with you on those first downhill attempts.
7. Don’t get overconfident and try to show off. Know your limits and keep within them as your skills increase.
8.If the weather in your home town has been warm before you go on your first ski trip, your skin won’t be prepared for the sudden mountain top cold and wind you’ll encounter on the slopes. To prevent frost bite, wear a ski mask and wool cap over your ears. Before you venture out, rub your face, lips, ears and nose with lotion.
9. On your first ski adventure, limit your outside time to just an hour. Then go into the lodge for an hour’s rest, warmth, healthy snack and hot drink. Try the routine two or three times on the first day. If there’s a spa and massage service available, make that the perfect finish to your introduction to the joys of skiing.
10. If you’re a first-time skier, you’ll need useful and expert advice, from your family doctor to the instructor at the ski resort beginners’ school. Listen to the suggestions and what your own body tells you about limitations, and you’ll schuss through to happy and healthy results.