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.
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Don’t: Be ray wrong
The sun is still strong enough all winter to cause burning and skin aging, especially at high altitudes. In fact, the reflection of UV rays off snow can nearly double their strength. “My skin looks much older than I am, which is so frustrating,” says Bahkre. “I lived my whole life in the sun and I’m paying the price for it now.”
Do: Slather on the SPF
Opt for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it at least 20 minutes before hitting the slopes to all exposed areas and reapply every two hours. Bahkre’s faves are Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 ($9.50; neutrogena.com) and California Baby Everyday/Year-Round SPF 30+ Sunscreen Lotion ($20; californiababy.com). Another defensive measure: When skiing in particularly skin-hazardous conditions (for instance, when it’s very windy), Bahkre wears a buff—à la snowboarder Shaun White—under her goggles (from $14-20 at rei.com).