Ski Bum Advice: 3 Rules for New Skiers

During my first few days of sliding around this season, I couldn’t help but notice how many rookies there were on the ski mountain. Seemed like every other person I saw was a brand-new skier, and age did not matter. But I get it. With pretty much everything else shut down thanks to the pandemic, recreation activities have been limited, unless you count eating frozen pizza and watching multiple episodes of “Westworld” (which I do). 

Anyway, it’s great to see so many new folks getting out there and giving it a go. Without them, the industry would be looking at an apocalyptic future that consists of inner tube parks and ice rinks. That said, there are some guidelines that new skiers should abide by in order to keep the peace on the hill.

Rule #1: Let a teacher teach you.

Unless your parent, friend, spouse, or significant other has a coaching/instruction background, you should never ever let someone else teach you how to ski. I have personally witnessed far too many on-hill divorces, break ups, near fist-to-cuffs, and screaming episodes due to this major transgression. Exempt from this rule are very small kids who are on the hill for the first time and have parents with them so they don’t soil their britches while on the rope tow. 

Think I’m kidding about this? When I first started skiing with my better half, we made a deal that I would offer absolutely no instruction whatsoever unless asked, and we have kept that happy pact for nearly a decade. As a side note, she does still drop her hands and fails to keep even edge pressure on both skis after initiating a turn, much to my chagrin.

Rule #2:  Follow parking instructions.

With so many more people hitting the resorts this year, parking efficiently on the weekends is essential, and so is following the directions of the parking lot attendants. Do not do your own thing and go wherever the hell you want, which includes facing the wrong direction, nudging your bumper with the car in front of you, and getting so close to the rig next to you that when little Jimmy flings his door open the resulting door ding takes two layers of paint off of the Mercedes SUV parked next to you.

This is no way to make new friends and will likely result in getting a nasty-gram on your windshield.  If you are one of those people who just don’t get this, please park next to me. My 20-year-old POS Subaru can take all of the abuse that Jimmy can throw at it.

Rule #3: Think twice before going to the summit.

If you are new to the sport, it would behoove you to spend some time on the lower mountain on easier terrain. Letting your friends drag you to the summit on day one and throwing you to the wolves will likely result in you taking all day to get down to the lodge, and your legs will be reduced to quivering stumps of Jello.

Far too many new skiers have thrown in the towel and dumped their gear on Craigslist because of this. It may also explain why inner tube parks and ice rinks have seen an uptick in guests.

Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski industry professional. We have no idea where he comes up with this stuff. Read more of his Ski Bum Advice.

Share this Post

Scroll to Top