Five Musts for First-Time Skiers
What you need to know before you go
Is this the year you’re going to learn to ski? To be sure it’s fun from your first run, you’ll want to brush up on some basics before hitting the bunny slope. For tips on how to avoid common newbie mistakes, we turned to Shannon Bahrke, a three-time U.S. Olympian and two-time Olympic freestyle medalist, who—as the Ski Ambassador to The St. Regis Deer Valley located in Deer Valley, Utah—hits the slopes with guests on the very mountain where she won her Silver medal. Take her advice, and it’ll be downhill from here—in the best sense possible.
“Beginners always under-dress,” says Bahrke. “They think ‘I’ll be out in the sun, so I’ll be fine’—and then they’re freezing and miserable.” The cold hard truth: Novices use much more energy than experienced skiers (all that tumbling down and getting up is work!), so they get sweaty and then catch a chill waiting in lift lines and sitting on the chairlift.
Do: Pile on the layers
Start with a tight base layer top and bottom in merino wool or polyester, which will hold in warmth and wick away moisture. A regular cotton T-shirt is a no-no. “Cotton doesn’t wick, isn’t warm, and will stay wet forever,” says Bahrke. Over your base top, wear a looser layer—a sweater, a turtleneck, shirt, or vest—that allows air to flow in and out. Consider a zippered garment, which will keep you from sweating too much. If you don’t have an insulated jacket, wear another thin layer under it—if you’re too warm you can always take it off. Heed the cotton caution for pants, as well. That means saving your jeans for après-ski and wearing shells (nylon waterproof pants) or—even better—investing in ski pants, which offer padding and insulation to keep you dry, warm, and bruise-free.