Has learning to ski been a bucket list item you’ve wanted to cross off for years? Have you never seen snow and have no idea what to expect on your first ski trip?
No matter why you’re researching skiing and snowboarding, you’ve come to the right place. The pros here at ASO Mammoth have learned a thing or two about skiing and snowboarding by living at the base of one of the best ski mountains in America, but we’ve also seen thousands of new skiers and snowboarders come through our shop and know the biggest questions they have. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions from beginners below. Check it out!
Skiing or Snowboarding?
There’s no wrong answer here as both skiing and snowboarding are challenging to start but immensely rewarding to learn. There are key differences though.
For example, skiing typically has a quicker learning curve due to the fact that most people feel more comfortable with their feet separated instead of strapped to one board. Skiing may also be a quicker fit for beginners since you face forward while skiing as opposed to snowboarding where you’re going down the mountain sideways. Don’t count out snowboarding yet though, because once snowboarders are comfortable with their basic stance they tend to progress faster than skiers. Having both feet strapped to one board is a challenge at first, but it also means you only have one board to focus on while skiers have to learn to coordinate both their skis in order to turn.
No matter what other board sports you’re great at or if you have a friend who offered to teach you, you need to get lessons from a certified teacher. Here’s why.
Skiing and snowboarding are not sports that you’ll pick up by watching others and figure out as you go, so you will certainly need someone to teach you. Family members and friends may be excellent skiers and snowboarders, but that doesn’t make them great teachers. Their habits may work for them, but they may not work for you and can even set you back. Plus, it’s difficult for experienced riders to remember what it’s like to be a beginner, so turn to the people whose job it is to do just that by booking lessons with a certified ski school instructor.
What should you rent and what should you buy?
Unless someone gives you a board or a set of skis for free, you should rent your board, skis, and boots for your first day on the mountain. Gear like boots, bindings, and boards are expensive, and if you’re going to invest money into skiing or snowboarding gear then you should at least have enough experience to know what you like.
In terms of apparel like jackets, pants, gloves, and helmets, how much you invest depends on how much snow you see where you live. You’ll probably have to buy most of your apparel, but if you know that you won’t see much snow at home and don’t expect frigid temperatures on the mountain then don’t be afraid to buy a snow bib at Costco instead of buying pants from a brand name. You should always ride with a helmet and most retailers will rent them, but you must always check for major dents! Helmets can only take so many serious accidents before they lose their protection value, so always examine your helmet for signs of major damage if you rent it or borrow it from a friend.