Just like in any other Outdoor Activity, you need to prepare before hitting the slopes. There is a very long list of the things you must take into consideration as well as the fundamental Skiing skills so that you will have a safe and fun time Skiing.
One of the first things you will want to do is select the right equipment. You will probably want to rent Skis the first time you head out. There is no use in Buying Skis until you have enough knowledge and experience to select the right Skis that fit your preferences and ambitions in Skiing.
Selecting the correct Ski Length is important to maximize your learning. If you have your Skis standing up in front of you with the Tail on the floor, the Tip should reach between your shoulders and eyes.
While still in the comfort of your Home
Many people will rent their gear at the location where they will start their first lesson or experimentations. If you have the chance however, it is always a good idea to have your equipment at home the evening before you head out. In this way, you can comfortably check out the equipment. Place your Skis on the floor and while standing up, click in your Ski Bindings. Try to get a feel of balance while you have both feet in Ski Boots and Ski Bindings on your Skis. Move around, shifting your center of mass.
For a first try out on Skis, it might seem over reacting to do some warming up. You are however very likely to slip, fall, or make other extreme movements. Warming up will get your circulation going, warm up your muscles, and lubricate your joints which decrease the chances of Skiing injuries. It is a good idea to do a full body warmup but you will certainly need to concentrate on the muscles that you will be using most: your lower and upper legs, your buttocks, back, and neck. Good exercises are running in small circles, walking up and down the slope, sidestepping, and jumping. It does not have to take long, just enough to get you energized.
First steps on Skis
For your first experience with Skis attached on your feet, you will not want to head to a red slope and simply dive into it. You will want to start on a totally level surface. Many bunny hills have a totally flat area that is at least 15 by 15 meters in size. Go there carrying your equipment.
Now put on your Skis while standing straight similar to how you did it at home. The different thing is that you are on a slippery surface now. Take care to keep your movements subtle and balanced. At this moment, you are already likely to start slipping and swining your arms around looking for balance. Relax! Once you are comfortable standing on your Skis, you can try walking. The walking motion with Skis is pretty similar to regular walking except that you do not need to lift your feet – you slide them forward taking turns. You can use your Ski Poles for movement and regaining balance. Make sure to move the opposite arm and leg forward in walking (just as in regular walking).
In making turns while walking, it is important to keep your Skis from crossing over one another. You will want to step out with one leg and plant the Ski in the Snow creating either an A or V with the other Ski. Practice turning by making 360s on the same spot. As you go on, you can combine your walking and turning skills in walking patterns of 8.
Developing the Feeling
While still on the flat surface, you will now want to work on your general feeling of having Skis on Snow Ski Surface. Move around, lift your Skis in turn, side step keeping your Skis parallel. Jump with your Skis on. Jump lifting your Tips first, jump lifting your Tail first. Move around and be creative. This will build up your feeling, balance, and confidence.
Making your way up the Slope
Once you feel confident enough, you can try making your way up the bunny slope. You could try walking up the slope in the way you did on the flat surface but you will probably notice how you simply slide down. There are basically two ways of moving up a slope with your Skis still connected:
This is the easiest but slowest way to move up a hill. Simply position yourself across the fall-line of the slope and move upwards with small side steps like a crab. If you feel that you are loosing grip, try to bend more towards the slope. This will cause the outside Ski Edges to grip deeper into the Snow. The phenomenon ‘keeping Edge’ is something that you will get a feeling for even now. It is one of the most important things in both Skiing and Snowboarding.
Herringbone is named after the marks your Skis leave in the Snow when you use this technique to move upwards. The technique is similar to walking on a flat surface keeping your Skis in a V shape. However, because you are moving uphill, your Skis will have the tendency to slide downwards crossing each other behind you. To avoid this, you have got to keep an edge and keep pushing your Edges outwards. Try taking big steps and pushing your Edges outwards. With practice, you should be able to make your way up gentle slopes pretty comfortably. You can use your Ski Poles for extra upward kicks and balance.
Falling and Getting Up
You are going to slide and fall over, and most likely, you are going to experience these a lot. Falling can be painful and it is important that you learn how to minimize the risk of injuries. The most important fact is that the more tense you are when you fall, the less flexible your muscles are going to be and the more likely it is that you hurt yourself. If you feel yourself losing balance, relax and try to crouch to one side of your Skis and fall with your hips on the surface.
Upon touching down extend your legs and place your skis against the fall-line. Be aware at all times of where your Skis and Ski Poles are located. They have the potential of hurting you. In getting up, it is important to keep your Skis across the fall-line. Otherwise, they will just keep you sliding or make you fall over again. Getting up is easiest if you move your hips over your feet. You can use your Ski Poles to push of as well.
First Moves down the Slope – A
Once you have climbed up slope for a bit using Side-stepping or Herringbone, you can turn around and try your first descend. In Turning, keep your Skis in an A shape with enough outward pressure to keep the Edge on digging into the Snow, keeping you from slipping away. Once you are facing down the fall-line, you can let go of the outward pressure. You should now be sliding down the fall-line.
Take your posture in mind: in the beginning you are best of using a stance often called the ‘goalkeeper’ posture. Keep your knees bent, your arms slightly outwards, and your body leaning forward a bit. This will keep your body in the ideal posture to flex and compensate sudden movements.
Try keeping a good A shape without your Skis crossing each other. If you feel you need to slow down or that you are losing control then push your heels outwards and crouch down some more. You feel that the Skis bite harder into the Snow slowing you down. Make a lot of these practice runs moving your way up and down the slope. You can use the toe lift on the bunny hill to practice longer descends without having to make your way up the whole time. In the beginning, your movements will probably be jerky. As your skills progress, try to make your movements as smooth as possible. Just like on the surface exercises, try to get as comfortable as possible with moving down slope in the A shape.
Braking – The Plough
Continue your mini runs on the bunny hill. Now try getting your Skis parallel. You will notice that without the Edges and the outward power of the A shape, you will gain speed sliding straight down. Once you have gained some speed, slow down again by pushing outwards back into the A shape. Keep your legs pretty wide and avoid your knees from locking together. This way of braking is called the Plough. Practice the Plough a lot. Change the angles of your Skis while moving into a wide and shallow Plough. You will develop the feeling for the braking power you are able to get using the Plough. In general, the wider the Plough, the bigger the braking power.